12 Predictions For London In 2023

By M@ Last edited 15 months ago

Last Updated 06 January 2023

12 Predictions For London In 2023

Time once again to gaze into our crystal ball and glimpse London's near future. After more than a decade of publishing these predictions, Londonist is now regarded as the capital's very own Nostradamus*.


It's been a turbulent time for the Department for Education, with five Education Secretaries since July. The government turns to a noted educationalist from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His experience as "Defence Against the Dark Arts" master (only the sixth in six years) should bring much-needed stability to the role.

A list of education secretaries, with Severus Snape at the bottom


To mark 300 years since the death of Sir Christopher Wren, a major renovation of St Paul's Cathedral is announced. The dome of Wren's masterpiece will be elevated by up to 100 metres, to better compete with nearby skyscrapers.

A crane appears to lift the dome of St Pauls off
St Paul's Cathedral, with a much extended tower


Owing to a severe budget squeeze, Transport for London's escalator replacement programme is hit with serious cut-backs.

The bottom of a wooden escalator


As Croydon becomes London Borough of Culture 2023, its famous Ikea store (with historic chimneys) is converted into an immersive production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Chew on the never-ending meatballs, assemble the great flatpack elevator, and spend hours exploring the labyrinthine corridors wondering how you'll ever get out.

A big yellow Ikea sign on a blue building, with two chimneys sticking up


King Charles III is crowned. Last time we got a new monarch, two Londoners invented "Coronation chicken" — cold chicken in a yellow mayo sauce. This time round, the cost-of-living crisis means we have to make do with less extravagant fare. "Coronation turf" combines reconstituted mowings with compacted horse matter from the procession route.

A pea soup with chunk of brown meat


In the Square Mile, the world's first artificial mountain nears completion.

A huge edifice of glass and steel under construction


Greggs wins sponsorship rights to the London tube map. The multi-million pound deal will see every branch of the bakery chain appear on the diagram.

A tube map with the greggs logo plastered all over


Long-running industrial action on the rail and tube networks continues. Unfortunately, the shutdown coincides with a strike by camera crews and photographers. Desperate journalists raid their children's toy boxes to provide images for their coverage.

A lego model of Kentish Town tube station with striking workers outside


London's ever-shifting advertising culture latches onto a bold new trend. Dubbed "prognostic PR" or "crystal ball marketing", the technique celebrates future accolades, awards or accomplishments that haven't yet happened. Creatives start writing 5* reviews for shows that haven't even auditioned, while unbuilt tower blocks in Wandsworth are deemed to be icons of the London skyline. In truth, the trend began years ago, as these photos show.

Two signs predicting future awards for housing and a pub


4 October would have been Charlton Heston's 100th birthday. Londoners celebrate by organising a location-appropriate chariot ride.

A google map showing the route from Charlton to Heston with a chariot symbol


It's 400 years since the publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays. A celebratory "trail of vibrant installations, to help Bankside visitors interact with the Bard" does not live up to the hype.

Cigarettes deposited in a pink bin with a view of the thames


As calls grow to place a statue of Queen Elizabeth II on the Fourth Plinth, the Mayor's office announces the final artistic commission for the space. The structure will be dug up from Trafalgar Square and turned upside-down, to suggest that the entire planet Earth now rests upon the plinth.

An upside down Fourth Plinth with rebar sticking out the top

See how we predicted the year ahead for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and leave your own predictions in the comments below.

*Sorry, that's a fib. Hardly anyone ever reads this annual article and we put it together for our own amusement.

All words, images and bad photoshopping by Matt Brown