London in 1911
Although physically much smaller than at present, London was still the largest city in the world and had a population of 7,160,441 in Greater London and of 4,521,685 in Inner London. This was an increase of almost 9% since the turn of the century and three times that of fifty years previously.
London's transport system was rapidly evolving to meet the growth in population, and the embryonic layout of the London Underground had evolved by 1911. The last original 'tube' to be built was the Bakerloo line in 1906, and until the 1960s any major works were extensions to the existing lines. Similar expansions were taking place to the bus and tram networks, but these were all individual private companies until 1933 when they were incorporated into the London Transport Passenger Board.
Most people lived in rented accommodation which ranged from palatial houses of the west end across town to the grim poverty of the back streets of the east end. Servants were still plentiful for even the reasonably well off, although the coming war would change society forever. Domestic appliances were few and gas was the fuel for cooking, heating and lighting.
The most notable news event of the year was the Siege of Sidney Street took place on 3 January, where 1,500 members of the Metropolitan Police and the Scots Guards fought a gun battle with a trio of anarchists who had killed three police officers earlier. When the building caught fire, two of the men burned to death as Winston Churchill refused to allow the fire brigade to intervene. Their leader Peter Piaktow, alias Peter the Painter, escaped and was never caught.