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City of London
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City of London

City of London

Shown within Greater London
Status: sui generis, City
- Total
Ranked 354th
2.90 km²
ONS code: 00AA
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
Ranked 353rd
2,692 / km²
Ethnicity: 84.6% White
6.8% S.Asian
2.6% Afro-Carib.
2.0% Chinese

Corporation of the City of London
Leadership: See text
Control: Non-political
MP: Mark Field
London Assembly:
- Member
City and East London
- John Biggs

The City of London, often referred to as just the City or as the Square Mile (from its area) forms the historic and financial centre of Greater London. Although the City was for centuries synonymous with London, the latter term is now reserved for the large conurbation surrounding it. The City has a population of about 7,000.

The City of London holds a unique political status, a legacy of the historic privileges granted by the Crown over hundreds of years. It is administered by the Corporation of London, headed by the Lord Mayor of London (confusingly, this post is distinct from but subordinate to the Mayor of London). It has a unique electoral system, which does not follow the usual rules of democracy, allowing businessmen a vote and arranging voters in wards with very unequal number of voters. The City is a ceremonial county and has its own Lord-Lieutenant.

It has its own independent police force, the City of London Police. The rest of Greater London is policed by the London Metropolitan Police, based at Scotland Yard.

The City also has three independent schools run by the Corporation - City of London School (all male), City of London School for Girls (all female) and City of London Freemen's School (co-educational).

The City itself has two independent enclaves within it - Inner Temple and Middle Temple. It also has a number of exclaves well outside its own boundaries: these comprise eight open spaces (parks, forests and commons) in and around London.

Its Latin motto is "Domine dirige nos" which means "Lord, direct us".

Table of contents
1 Extent
2 History
3 Elections
4 Security
5 Sights
6 Roads, streets and squares
7 Transportation
8 See also
9 External links


The size of the City was originally constrained by a defensive perimeter wall, known as 'London Wall', that was built by the Romans to protect their strategic port city. However, the boundaries of the City of London are no longer the old City Wall as the city expanded its jurisdiction to the so-called City Bars - such as Temple Bar. However, the boundary froze in the medieval period and so the City did not and does not control the whole of London.

The walls have long since disappeared although several sections remain visible above ground. A section near the Museum of London was revealed after the devastation of an air-raid on December 29th 1940 at the height of the Blitz. Other visible sections are at St Alphage, London Wall, and there are two sections near the Tower of London.

The City of London borders the City of Westminster to the west - the border cutting through Victoria Embankment, passing to the west of Middle Temple, going east along Strand/Fleet Street, north up Chancery Lane, where it becomes instead the border with the London Borough of Camden. It continues north to Holborn, turns east, continues, then goes northeast to Charterhouse Lane. As it crosses Farringdon Road it becomes the border with the London Borough of Islington. It continues to Aldersgate, goes north, and turns into some back streets soon after it becomes Goswell Road. It ends up on Ropemakers Lane, which as it continues east past Moorgate becomes South Place. It goes north, becomes the border with the London Borough of Hackney, then east, north, east on backstreets, meeting Norton Folgate at the border with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It continues south into Bishopsgate, and takes some backstreets to Middlesex Street where it continues south-east then south. It makes a divergence to the west at the end of Middlesex Street to allow the Tower of London to be in Tower Hamlets, and then reaches the river.

At its maximum extent the City included areas now not part of it, including Southwark (as the 'ward of bridge without'). The City today controls the full span of London Bridge, but only half of the river underneath it.

The City of London also controls a number of open spaces well outside its own boundaries. These are: Ashtead Common, Burnham Beeches, Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath (including Parliament Hill), Highgate Wood, Queen's Park, West Ham Park, and West Wickham and Coulsdon Common.


See History of London for details of the origins of the City of London.

It has been administered separately since 886 when Alfred the Great appointed his son-in-law Earl Aethelred of Mercia Governor of London. Alfred made sure there was suitable accommodation for merchants from north west Europe, which were then extended to traders from the Baltic and Italy.

The City developed its own code of law for the mercantile classes, developing such an autonomy that Sir Laurence Gomme regarded the City as a separate Kingdom making its own laws. In the tenth century Athelstan permitted eight mints to be established as against six in his capital, Winchester, indicating the wealth of the city. The City was composed of wards governed by Aldermen, who chaired the Wardmotes. There was a folkmoot for the whole of the city held in the shadows of St Paul's Cathedral.

Following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror marched on London, to Southwark and failed to get across London Bridge or to defeat the Londoners. He eventually crossed the River Thames at Wallingford, pillaging the land as he went. Rather than continuing the war Edgar Atheling, Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria surrendered at Berkhamstead. London was rewarded by 1075 William granted the citizens a charter. The City of London was one of the few Institutions where the English retained some authority.

However, William insured against attack by building 3 Castles to keep the Londoners subdued:

In 1132 Henry I recognised full County status for the city and by 1141 the whole body of the citizenry was considered to constitute a single community. This was the origin of the Corporation of London.

The city was burned nearly to the ground first in 1212 and then again (and more famously) in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Both of these fires were referred to as the Great Fire.


The City of London (Ward Elections) Bill, which will reform the current voting system for electing Members to the Corporation of London, passed its final hurdle by getting approval from the House of Lords at the end of October 2002.

Under the new system, the business vote will be increased by 16,000 to 32,000. Previously disenfranchised firms will be entitled to nominate voters, in addition to those already included in the business vote, and will be required to choose these voters in a representative fashion. The Bill will also remove other anomalies that have developed over time within the current system, which has been unchanged since the 1850s.

This system is usually seen as undemocratic, but adopting a more conventional system would place the 7,000 residents of the City in charge of local planning for a major financial capital. Proposals to annex the City to one of the neighbouring London boroughs, possibly the Westminster, have not been taken seriously.


The City is surrounded on its borders by statues of the gryffonss and shield from its Coat of Arms. Its position as the United Kingdom's financial centre and a critical part of the country's economy, contributing about one sixth of the UK's gross national product, has resulted in it becoming a terrorist target. The provisional IRA exploded bombs in the City in the early 1990s.

The area is also spoken of as a possible target of al-Qaida. For instance, when in May 2004 the BBC's Panorama programme examined the preparedness of Britain's emergency services for a terrorist attack on the scale of the September 11th or March 11th, they simulated a chemical explosion on Bishopsgate in the east of the City, figuring that this was a realistic target.

See also City of London's ring of steel for measures that have been taken in the City against these threats.


Roads, streets and squares


The City of London transport is integrated with that of the rest of Geater London under
Transport for London.


Mainline stations

Tube lines and stations

DLR stations

Other underground transportation

See also

External links

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