England reached its new Golden age during the reign of Queen Victoria, who ruled over her kingdom the longest of all monarchs - from 1837 to 1901. England became the most powerful industrially advanced empire in the world, with the most colonies all across the planet. Queen Victoria, in turn, was the most beloved monarch in history: the highest number of monuments are erected in her honour; the state in Australia, the lake and the waterfall in Africa, some capital cities and provinces are named after her.
In 1840 Victoria married a German prince Albert, who died young at the age of 42. Albert was quite beloved among the English people. He was the one to build a new home for the London Stock Exchange and to spend all proceeds from the Great Exhibition of 1851 on construction of new museums and galleries. Albert Hall was named after him, and the Albert Memorial also stands across the street.
Queen Victoria distanced herself from active political engagement after her husband's death in 1861, and Britain came to be dominated by prime ministers, the most famous of which, Benjamin Disraeli, played an important role in England's worldwide influence. Victoria, in the meantime, liked to spend time at Buckingham Palace, rebuilt especially for Her Majesty. Consequently, the most majestic monument devoted to Queen Victoria stands in front of the palace.
During Victoria's reign London turned into the largest city in the world, with many areas being heavily industrialized, like the East End, described in the novels of Charles Dickens. Streets and neighbourhoods of the East End, including Piccadilly and Mayfair, acquired their modern look around those times. In 1863 London metro, the first in the world, opened. In 1870 the line running underneath the river Thames was built, and 20 years later it got the electric power supply. In 1878 Egypt presented the city of London with Cleopatra's Needle. In 1884 the grandson of Marie Grosholtz, the most famed wax figure sculptor, opened the museum of Madame Tussauds to house all her important works. In 1894 the Tower Bridge was constructed, a grey-stone Gothic masterpiece of street architecture. The opening ceremonies of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899 became the last public ceremony attended by Queen Victoria.
The article by Irina Sukharnikova, translation by Ekaterina Ryabova; specially for Sweet Home Abroad