The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City
(differentiated from the phrase "the city of London" by capitalising City
) and is also colloquially known as the Square Mile
, as it is 1.12 sq mi (716.80 acres; 2.90 km2
in area. Both of these terms are also often used as metonyms
for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services
industries, which continue a notable history of being largely based in the City.
The name London
is now ordinarily used for a far wider area than just the City. London
most often denotes the sprawling London metropolis, or the 32 London boroughs, in addition to the City of London itself. This wider usage of London
is documented as far back as 1888, when the County of London
The local authority
for the City, namely the City of London Corporation
, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It is also unusual in having responsibilities and ownerships beyond its boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London
(an office separate from, and much older than, the Mayor of London
). The Lord Mayor, as of November 2019, is William Russell
The City is made up of 25 wards
, with administration at the historic Guildhall
. Other historic sites include St Paul's Cathedral
, Royal Exchange
, Mansion House
, Old Bailey
, and Smithfield Market
. Although not within the City, the adjacent Tower of London
is part of its old defensive perimeter. Bridges under the jurisdiction of the City include London Bridge
and Blackfriars Bridge
The City is a major business and financial centre
and the Bank of England
is headquartered in the City. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and it continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.
London came top in the Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index
, published in 2008. The insurance industry is focused around the eastern side of the City, around Lloyd's building
. A secondary financial district exists outside the City, at Canary Wharf
, 2.5 miles (4 km) to the east.
The City has a resident population of 9,401 (ONS
estimate, mid-2016) but over 500,000 are employed there,
and some estimates put the number of workers in the city to be over 1 million. About three-quarters of the jobs in the City of London are in the financial, professional, and associated business services sectors.
The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City, especially in the Temple
and Chancery Lane
areas where the Inns of Court
are located, of which two—Inner Temple
and Middle Temple
—fall within the City of London boundary.
The Roman legions established a settlement known as "Londinium" on the current site of the City of London around AD 43. Its bridge over the River Thames
turned the city into a road nexus
and major port
, serving as a major commercial centre in Roman Britain
until its abandonment during the 5th century
. Archaeologist Leslie Wallace notes that, because extensive archaeological excavation has not revealed any signs of a significant pre-Roman
presence, "arguments for a purely Roman foundation of London are now common and uncontroversial."
At its height, the Roman city had a population of approximately 45,000–60,000 inhabitants. Londinium was an ethnically diverse city, with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including natives of Britannia, continental Europe
, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The Romans built the London Wall
some time between AD 190 and 225. The boundaries of the Roman city were similar to those of the City of London today, though the City extends further west than Londonium's Ludgate
, and the Thames was undredged and thus wider than it is today, with Londonium's shoreline slightly north of the City's present shoreline. The Romans built a bridge across the river, as early as AD 50, near to today's London Bridge
By the time the London Wall
was constructed, the City's fortunes were in decline, and it faced problems of plague and fire. The Roman Empire entered a long period of instability and decline
, including the Carausian Revolt
in Britain. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the city was under attack from Picts
, Scots, and Saxon
raiders. The decline continued, both for Londinium and the Empire, and in AD 410 the Romans withdrew entirely from Britain. Many of the Roman public buildings in Londinium by this time had fallen into decay and disuse, and gradually after the formal withdrawal the city became almost (if not, at times, entirely) uninhabited. The centre of trade and population moved away from the walled Londinium to Lundenwic
("London market"), a settlement to the west, roughly in the modern-day Strand
During the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy
, the London area came in turn under the Kingdoms of Essex
, and later Wessex
, though from the mid 8th century it was frequently under the control of or threat from the Vikings
records that in AD 604 St Augustine
as the first bishop to the Anglo-Saxon
kingdom of the East Saxons
and their king, Sæberht
. Sæberht's uncle and overlord, Æthelberht
, king of Kent
, built a church dedicated to St Paul in London, as the seat of the new bishop.
It is assumed, although unproven, that this first Anglo-Saxon cathedral stood on the same site as the later medieval and the present cathedrals.
Alfred the Great
, King of Wessex
occupied and began the resettlement of the old Roman
walled area, in 886, and appointed his son-in-law Earl Æthelred of Mercia
over it as part of their reconquest of the Viking occupied parts of England. The refortified Anglo-Saxon settlement was known as Lundenburh
("London Fort", a borough
). The historian Asser said that "Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, restored the city of London splendidly ... and made it habitable once more."
Alfred's "restoration" entailed reoccupying and refurbishing the nearly deserted Roman walled city, building quays along the Thames, and laying a new city street plan.
Alfred's taking of London and the rebuilding of the old Roman city was a turning point in history, not only as the permanent establishment of the City of London, but also as part of a unifying moment in early England, with Wessex becoming the dominant English kingdom and the repelling (to some degree) of the Viking occupation and raids. While London, and indeed England, were afterwards subjected to further periods of Viking and Danish raids and occupation, the establishment of the City of London and the Kingdom of England
In the 10th century, Athelstan
permitted eight mints
to be established, compared with six in his capital, Winchester
, indicating the wealth of the city. London Bridge
, which had fallen into ruin following the Roman evacuation and abandonment of Londinium, was rebuilt by the Saxons, but was periodically destroyed by Viking raids and storms.
As the focus of trade and population was moved back to within the old Roman walls, the older Saxon settlement of Lundenwic was largely abandoned and gained the name of Ealdwic
(the "old settlement"). The name survives today as Aldwych
(the "old market-place"), a name of a street and an area of the City of Westminster
and the City of London.
Map of London in about 1300
William built three castles around the City, to keep Londoners subdued:
About 1130, Henry I
granted a sheriff
to the people of London, along with control of the county of Middlesex
: this meant that the two entities were regarded as one administratively (not that the county was a dependency of the City) until the Local Government Act 1888
By 1141 the whole body of the citizenry was considered to constitute a single community. This 'commune' was the origin of the City of London Corporation
and the citizens gained the right to appoint, with the king's consent, a mayor in 1189—and to directly elect the mayor from 1215.
From medieval times, the City has been composed of 25 ancient wards
, each headed by an alderman
, who chairs Wardmotes
, which still take place at least annually. A Folkmoot
, for the whole of the City held at the outdoor cross of St Paul's Cathedral
, was formerly also held. Many of the medieval offices and traditions continue to the present day, demonstrating the unique nature of the City and its Corporation
In 1381, the Peasants' Revolt
affected London. The rebels took the City and the Tower of London, but the rebellion ended after its leader, Wat Tyler, was killed during a confrontation that included Lord Mayor William Walworth
The 1666 Great Fire as depicted in a 17th-century painting: it depicts Old London Bridge, churches, houses, and the Tower of London as seen from a boat near Tower Wharf
The City was burnt severely on a number of occasions, the worst being in 1123 and in the Great Fire of London
in 1666. Both of these fires were referred to as the
Great Fire. After the fire of 1666, a number of plans were drawn up to remodel the City and its street pattern into a renaissance
-style city with planned urban blocks, squares and boulevards. These plans were almost entirely not taken up, and the medieval street pattern re-emerged almost intact.
Early modern period
In the 1630s the Crown sought to have the Corporation of the City of London extend its jurisdiction to surrounding areas. In what is sometimes called the "great refusal", the Corporation said no to the King, which in part accounts for its unique government structure to the present.
By the late 16th century, London increasingly became a major centre for banking, international trade and commerce. The Royal Exchange
was founded in 1565 by Sir Thomas Gresham
as a centre of commerce for London's merchants, and gained Royal patronage in 1571. Although no longer used for its original purpose, its location at the corner of Cornhill
and Threadneedle Street
continues to be the geographical centre of the City's core of banking and financial services, with the Bank of England
moving to its present site in 1734, opposite the Royal Exchange on Threadneedle Street. Immediately to the south of Cornhill, Lombard Street
was the location from 1691 of Lloyd's Coffee House
, which became the world-leading insurance market. London's insurance sector continues to be based in the area, particularly in Lime Street
In 1708, Christopher Wren
's masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral
, was completed on his birthday. The first service had been held on 2 December 1697, more than 10 years earlier. It replaced the original St Paul's, which had been completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and is considered to be one of the finest cathedrals in Britain and a fine example of Baroque architecture
Growth of London
The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London
, reflecting an increasing national population, the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution
, and London's role at the centre of the evolving British Empire
. The urban area expanded beyond the borders of the City of London, most notably during this period towards the West End
Expansion continued and became more rapid by the beginning of the 19th century, with London growing in all directions. To the East
the Port of London
grew rapidly during the century, with the construction of many docks, needed as the Thames at the City could not cope with the volume of trade. The arrival of the railways and the Tube
meant that London could expand over a much greater area. By the mid-19th century, with London still rapidly expanding in population and area, the City had already become only a small part of the wider metropolis.
19th and 20th centuries
The City's population fell rapidly in the 19th century and through most of the 20th century, as people moved outwards in all directions to London's vast suburbs
, and many residential buildings were demolished to make way for office blocks. Like many areas of London and other British cities, the City fell victim to large scale and highly destructive aerial bombing during World War II
, especially in the Blitz
. Whilst St Paul's Cathedral survived the onslaught, large swathes of the area did not and the particularly heavy raids of late December 1940 led to a firestorm
called the Second Great Fire of London
There was a major rebuilding programme in the decades following the war, in some parts (such as at the Barbican) dramatically altering the urban landscape. But the destruction of the older historic fabric allowed the construction of modern and larger-scale developments, whereas in those parts not so badly affected by bomb damage the City retains its older character of smaller buildings. The street pattern, which is still largely medieval, was altered slightly in places, although there is a more recent trend of reversing some of the post-war modernist changes made, such as at Paternoster Square
The 1970s saw the construction of tall office buildings including the 600-foot (183 m), 47-storey NatWest Tower
, the first skyscraper in the UK. Office space development has intensified especially in the central, northern and eastern parts, with skyscrapers including 30 St. Mary Axe
("the Gherkin"'), Leadenhall Building
("the Cheesegrater"), 20 Fenchurch Street
("the Walkie-Talkie"), the Broadgate Tower
and the Heron Tower
, the tallest in the City. Another skyscraper, 22 Bishopsgate
, is under construction.
The main residential section of the City today is the Barbican Estate
, constructed between 1965 and 1976. The Museum of London
is based there, as are a number of other services provided by the Corporation.
is the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City.
, Lord Mayor of the City of London 2006–2007, during the Lord Mayor's Show of 2006.
The City has a unique political status, a legacy of its uninterrupted integrity as a corporate city since the Anglo-Saxon period
and its singular relationship with the Crown
. Historically its system of government was not unusual, but it was not reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835
and little changed by later reforms, so that it is the only local government in the UK where elections are not run on the basis of one vote for every adult citizen.
The City is made up of 25 wards
. They are survivors of the medieval government system that allowed a very local area to exist as a self-governing unit within the wider city.
They can be described as electoral/political divisions; ceremonial, geographic and administrative entities; sub-divisions of the City. Each ward has an Alderman
, who until the mid-1960s
held office for life but since put themselves up for re-election at least every 6 years. Wards continue to have a Beadle
, an ancient position which is now largely ceremonial whose main remaining function is the running of an annual Wardmote
of electors, representatives and officials.
At the Wardmote the ward's Alderman appoints at least one Deputy for the year ahead. Each ward also has a Ward Club, which is similar to a residents' association
The wards are ancient and their number has changed three times since time immemorial
- in 1394 Farringdon was divided into Farringdon Within and Farringdon Without
- in 1550 the ward of Bridge Without, south of the river, was created, the ward of Bridge becoming Bridge Within;
- in 1978 these Bridge wards were merged as Bridge ward.
A map of the wards as they were in the late 19th century.
A map of the wards since 2003
Following boundary changes in 1994, and later reform of the business vote in the City, there was a major boundary and electoral representation revision of the wards in 2003, and they were reviewed again in 2010 for change in 2013, though not to such a dramatic extent. The review was conducted by senior officers of the Corporation and senior judges of the Old Bailey
the wards are reviewed by this process to avoid malapportionment
. The procedure of review is unique in the United Kingdom as it is not conducted by the Electoral Commission
or a local government boundary commission every 8 to 12 years, which is the case for all other wards in Great Britain
. Particular churches, livery company
halls and other historic buildings and structures are associated with a ward, such as St Paul's Cathedral with Castle Baynard
, and London Bridge with Bridge; boundary changes in 2003 removed some of these historic connections.
Each ward elects an alderman
to the Court of Aldermen
, and commoners
(the City equivalent of a councillor
) to the Court of Common Council
of the Corporation. Only electors who are Freemen of the City of London
are eligible to stand. The number of commoners a ward sends to the Common Council varies from two to ten, depending on the number of electors in each ward. Since the 2003 review it has been agreed that the four more residential wards: Portsoken
together elect 20 of the 100 commoners, whereas the business-dominated remainder elect the remaining 80 commoners. 2003 and 2013 boundary changes have increased the residential emphasis of the mentioned four wards.
Census data provides eight nominal rather than 25 real wards, all of varying size and population. Being subject to renaming and definition at any time, these census 'wards' are notable in that four of the eight wards accounted for 67% of the 'square mile' and held 86% of the population, and these were in fact similar to and named after four City of London wards:
Extract of census 'wards' where approximate to underlying legal wards
The City has a unique electoral system. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City. Its ancient wards have very unequal numbers of voters. In elections, both the businesses based in the City and the residents of the City vote.
The City of London Corporation was not reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835
, because it had a more extensive electoral franchise than any other borough or city; in fact, it widened this further with its own equivalent legislation allowing one to become a freeman
without being a liveryman
. In 1801, the City had a population of about 130,000, but increasing development of the City as a central business district led to this falling to below 5,000 after the Second World War.
It has risen slightly to around 9,000 since, largely due to the development of the Barbican Estate
. In 2009, the business vote was about 24,000, greatly exceeding residential voters. As the City of London Corporation has not been affected by other municipal legislation over the period of time since then, its electoral practice has become increasingly anomalous. Uniquely for city or borough elections, its elections remain independent-dominated.
The business or "non-residential vote
" was abolished in other UK local council elections by the Representation of the People Act 1969
, but was preserved in the City of London. The principal reason given by successive UK governments for retaining this mechanism for giving businesses representation, is that the City is "primarily a place for doing business".
About 330,000 non-residents constitute the day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering residents, who number around 7,000 (2011). By contrast, opponents of the retention of the business vote argue that it is a cause of institutional inertia.
The City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002
, a private Act of Parliament,
reformed the voting system and greatly increased the business franchise, allowing many more businesses to be represented. Under the new system, the number of non-resident voters has doubled from 16,000 to 32,000. Previously disenfranchised firms (and other organisations) are entitled to nominate voters, in addition to those already represented, and all such bodies are now required to choose their voters in a representative fashion. Bodies employing fewer than ten people may appoint one voter; those employing ten to 50 people one voter for every five employees; those employing more than 50 people ten voters and one additional voter for each 50 employees beyond the first 50. The Act also removed other anomalies which had been unchanged since the 1850s.
Within the City, the Corporation owns and runs both Smithfield Market
and Leadenhall Market
. It owns land beyond its boundaries, including open spaces
(parks, forests and commons) in and around Greater London, including most of Epping Forest
and Hampstead Heath
. The Corporation owns Old Spitalfields Market
and Billingsgate Fish Market
, in the neighbouring London Borough of Tower Hamlets
. It owns and helps fund the Old Bailey
, the Central Criminal Court for England and Wales
, as a gift to the nation, having begun as the City and Middlesex Sessions. The Honourable The Irish Society
, a body closely linked with the Corporation, also owns many public spaces in Northern Ireland
The City has one hospital, St Bartholomew's Hospital
, also known as 'Barts'. Founded in 1123, it is located at Smithfield
, and is undergoing a long-awaited regeneration after doubts as to its continuing use during the 1990s.
The City is the third largest UK patron of the arts. It oversees the Barbican Centre
and subsidises several important performing arts companies.
The boundary of the City
The size of the City was constrained by a defensive perimeter wall, known as London Wall
, which was built by the Romans
in the late 2nd century to protect their strategic port city. However the boundaries of the City of London no longer coincide with the old city wall, as the City expanded its jurisdiction slightly over time. During the medieval
era, the City's jurisdiction expanded westwards, crossing the historic western border of the original settlement—the River Fleet
—along Fleet Street
to Temple Bar
. The City also took in the other "City bars" which were situated just beyond the old walled area, such as at Holborn, Aldersgate, West Smithfield
, Bishopsgate and Aldgate. These were the important entrances to the City and their control was vital in maintaining the City's special privileges over certain trades.
Most of the wall has disappeared, but several sections remain visible. A section near the Museum of London
was revealed after the devastation of an air raid on 29 December 1940 at the height of the Blitz
. Other visible sections are at St Alphage
, and there are two sections near the Tower of London
. The River Fleet was canalised
after the Great Fire of 1666 and then in stages was bricked up and has been since the 18th century one of London's "lost rivers or streams
", today underground as a storm drain
The boundary of the City was unchanged until minor boundary changes on 1 April 1994, when it expanded slightly to the west, north and east, taking small parcels of land from the London Boroughs of Westminster
and Tower Hamlets
. The main purpose of these changes was to tidy up the boundary where it had been rendered obsolete by changes in the urban landscape. In this process the City also lost small parcels of land, though there was an overall net gain (the City grew from 1.05 to 1.12 square miles). Most notably, the changes placed the (then recently developed) Broadgate
estate entirely in the City.
The Corporation of the City of London has a full achievement
of armorial bearings consisting of a shield on which the arms are displayed, a crest
displayed on a helm above the shield, supporters
on either side and a motto displayed on a scroll beneath the arms.
motto of the City is "Domine dirige nos
", which translates as "Lord, direct us". It is thought to have been adopted in the 17th century, as the earliest record of it is in 1633.
Modern borders of the City of London, showing surrounding London boroughs
and the pre-1994 boundary (where changed) in red. The area covered by the Inner
and Middle Temple
is marked in green.
Beginning in the west, where the City borders Westminster, the boundary crosses the Victoria Embankment
from the Thames, passes to the west of Middle Temple
, then turns for a short distance along Strand
and then north up Chancery Lane
, where it borders Camden. It turns east along Holborn
to Holborn Circus, and then goes north east to Charterhouse Street
. As it crosses Farringdon Road
it becomes the boundary with Islington. It continues to Aldersgate
, goes north, and turns east into some back streets soon after Aldersgate becomes Goswell Road
, since 1994 embracing all of the Corporation's Golden Lane Estate. Here, at Baltic Street West, is the most northerly extent. The boundary includes all of the Barbican Estate
and continues east along Ropemaker Street and its continuation on the other side of Moorgate
, becomes South Place. It goes north, reaching the border with Hackney, then east, north, east on back streets, with Worship Street forming a northern boundary, so as to include the Broadgate
estate. The boundary then turns south at Norton Folgate
and becomes the border with Tower Hamlets
. It continues south into Bishopsgate
, and takes some backstreets to Middlesex Street (Petticoat Lane
) where it continues south-east then south. It then turns south-west, crossing the Minories
so as to exclude the Tower of London
, and then reaches the river. It then runs up the centre of the Thames, with the exception that Blackfriars Bridge
falls within the City; the City controls London Bridge
(as part of Bridge
ward) but only half of the river underneath it,
a feature which is unique in British local administration.[dubious – discuss]
The boundaries are marked by black bollards bearing the City's emblem, and by dragon boundary marks
at major entrances, such as Holborn. A more substantial monument marks the boundary at Temple Bar
on Fleet Street.
In some places the financial district extends slightly beyond the boundaries, notably to the north and east, into the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington, and informally these locations are seen as part of the "Square Mile". Since the 1990s the eastern fringe, extending into Hackney and Tower Hamlets, has increasingly been a focus for large office developments due to the availability of large sites compared to within the City.
Gardens and public art
The City has no sizeable parks within its boundary, but does have a network of a large number of gardens and small open spaces, many of them maintained by the Corporation. These range from formal gardens such as the one in Finsbury Circus
, containing a bowling green
, to churchyards such as St Olave Hart Street
, to water features and artwork in courtyards and pedestrianised lanes.
- Barber-Surgeon's Hall Garden, London Wall
- Cleary Garden, Queen Victoria Street
- Finsbury Circus, Blomfield Street/London Wall/Moorgate
- Jubilee Garden, Houndsditch
- Portsoken Street Garden, Portsoken Street/Goodman's Yard
- Postman's Park, Little Britain
- Seething Lane Garden, Seething Lane
- St Dunstan-in-the-East, St Dunstan's Hill
- St Mary Aldermanbury, Aldermanbury
- St Olave Hart Street churchyard, Seething Lane
- St Paul's churchyard, St Paul's Cathedral
- West Smithfield Garden, West Smithfield
- Whittington Gardens, College Street
There are a number of private gardens and open spaces, often within courtyards of the larger commercial developments. Two of the largest are those of the Inner Temple
and Middle Temple
Inns of Court, in the far southwest.
The Thames and its riverside walks are increasingly being valued as open space and in recent years efforts have been made to increase the ability for pedestrians to access and walk along the river.
The nearest weather station has historically been the London Weather Centre at Kingsway
, although observations ceased in 2010. Now St. James Park provides the nearest official readings.
The City has an oceanic climate
"Cfb") modified by the Urban Heat Island
in the centre of London. This generally causes higher night-time minima than outlying areas. For example, the August mean minimum
of 14.7 °C (58.5 °F) compares to a figure of 13.3 °C (55.9 °F) for Greenwich
whereas is 11.6 °C (52.9 °F) at Wisley
in the middle of several square miles of Metropolitan Green Belt
. All figures refer to the observation period 1971–2000.
Accordingly, the weather station holds the record for the UK's warmest overnight minimum temperature, 24.0 °C (75.2 °F), recorded on 4 August 1990.
The maximum is 37.6 °C (99.7 °F), set on 10 August 2003.
The absolute minimum
for the weather station is a mere −8.2 °C (17.2 °F), compared to readings around −15.0 °C (5.0 °F) towards the edges of London. Unusually, this temperature was during a windy and snowy cold spell (mid-January 1987), rather than a cold clear night—cold air drainage is arrested due to the vast urban area surrounding the city.
The station holds the record for the highest British mean monthly temperature,
24.5 °C (76.1 °F) (mean maximum 29.2 °C (84.6 °F), mean minimum 19.7 °C (67.5 °F) during July 2006). However, in terms of daytime maximum temperatures, Cambridge NIAB
and Botanical Gardens
with a mean maximum of 29.1 °C (84.4 °F), and Heathrow
with 29.0 °C (84.2 °F) all exceeded this.
City of London coat of arms on the street
Police and security
Where the majority of British police forces have silver-coloured badges
, those of the City of London Police are black and gold featuring the City crest. The force has rare red and white
chequered cap bands and unique red and white striped duty arm bands on the sleeves of the tunics of constables and sergeants (red and white being the colours of the City), which in most other British police forces are black and white. City police sergeants and constables wear crested custodian helmets
whilst on foot patrol. These helmets do not feature either St Edward's Crown
or the Brunswick Star
, which are used on most other police helmets in England and Wales
The area is also spoken of as a possible target for al-Qaeda
. 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 11 September 2001 attacks
, they simulated a chemical explosion on Bishopsgate
in the east of the City. The "Ring of Steel"
was established in the wake of the IRA bombings to guard against terrorist threats.
The City has fire risks in many historic buildings, including St Paul's Cathedral
, Old Bailey
, Mansion House
, Smithfield Market
, the Guildhall
, and also in numerous high-rise buildings. There is one London Fire Brigade station in the City, at Dowgate
, with one pumping appliance
The City relies upon stations in the surrounding London boroughs to support it at some incidents. The first fire engine is in attendance in roughly five minutes on average, the second when required in a little over five and a half minutes.
There were 1,814 incidents attended in the City in 2006/2007—the lowest in Greater London. No-one died in an event arising from a fire in the four years prior to 2007.
The Office for National Statistics
recorded the population in 2011 as 7,375;
slightly higher than in the last census
and estimates the population as at mid-2016 to be 9,401. At the 2001 census the ethnic composition was 84.6% White
, 6.8% South Asian
, 2.6% Black
, 2.3% Mixed
, 2.0% Chinese
and 1.7% were listed as "other
To the right is a table showing the change in population since 1801, based on decadal censuses
. The first half of the 19th century shows a population of between 120,000–140,000, decreasing dramatically from 1851 to 1991, with a small increase between 1991 and 2001. The only notable boundary change since the first census in 1801 occurred in 1994.
The City's full-time working residents have much higher gross weekly pay than in London and Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland): £773.30 compared to £598.60 and £491.00 respectively.
There is a large inequality of income between genders (£1,085.90 in men compared to £653.50 in women), though this can be explained by job type and length of employment respectively.
The 2001 Census showed the City as a unique district amongst 376 districts surveyed in England
The City had the highest proportional population increase, one-person households, people with qualifications at degree level or higher and the highest indications of overcrowding.
It recorded the lowest proportion of households with cars or vans, people who travel to work by car, married couple households and the lowest average household size: just 1.58 people.
It also ranked highest within the Greater London area for the percentage of people with no religion and people who are employed.
London is the world's greatest foreign exchange market
, with much of the trade conducted in the City of London. London's foreign exchange market has been described by Reuters as 'the crown jewel of London’s financial sector'.
Of the $3.98 trillion daily global turnover, as measured in 2009, trading in London accounted for around $1.85 trillion, or 46.7% of the total.
The pound sterling
, the currency of the United Kingdom, is globally the fourth most traded currency and the third most held reserve currency
Since 1991 Canary Wharf
, a few miles east of the City in Tower Hamlets, has become another centre for London's financial services industry which houses many banks and other institutions formerly located in the Square Mile. Although growth has continued in both locations,[ambiguous]
and there have been relocations in both directions, the Corporation has come to realise that its planning policies may have been causing financial firms to choose Canary Wharf as a location.
Whilst the financial sector, and related businesses and institutions, continue to dominate, the economy is not limited to that sector. The legal profession has a strong presence, especially in the west and north (i.e., towards the Inns of Court
). Retail businesses were once important, but have gradually moved to the West End of London
, though it is now Corporation policy to encourage retailing in some locations, for example at Cheapside
near St Paul's. The City has a number of visitor attractions, mainly based on its historic heritage as well as the Barbican Centre
and adjacent Museum of London
, though tourism is not at present a major contributor to the City's economy or character. The City has many pubs, bars and restaurants, and the "night-time" economy does feature in the Bishopsgate
area, towards Shoreditch
. The meat market at Smithfield
, wholly within the City, continues to be one of London's main markets (the only one remaining in central London) and the country's largest meat market
. In the east is Leadenhall Market
, a fresh food market that is also a visitor attraction.
Retail and residential
The trend for purely office development is beginning to reverse as the Corporation encourages residential use, albeit with development occurring when it arises on windfall sites. The City has a target of 90 additional dwellings per year.
Some of the extra accommodation is in small pre-World War II listed buildings
, which are not suitable for occupation by the large companies which now provide much of the City's employment. Recent residential developments include "the Heron", a high-rise residential building on the Milton Court site adjacent to the Barbican, and the Heron Plaza
development on Bishopsgate is also expected to include residential parts.
Since the 1990s, the City has diversified away from near exclusive office use in other ways. For example, several hotels and the first department store
opened in the 2000s. A shopping centre was more recently opened at One New Change
(near St Paul's Cathedral) in October 2010, which is open seven days a week. However, large sections remain quiet at weekends, especially in the eastern section, and it is quite common to find shops, pubs
and cafes closed on these days.
Fire bombing and post-World War II
redevelopment have meant that the City, despite its history, has fewer intact historic structures than one might expect. Nonetheless, there remain many dozens of (mostly Victorian and Edwardian) fine buildings, typically in historicist and neoclassical style
. They include the Monument to the Great Fire of London
("the Monument"), St Paul's Cathedral
, the Guildhall
, the Royal Exchange
, Dr. Johnson's House
, Mansion House
and a great many churches
, many designed by Sir Christopher Wren
, who also designed St Paul's. 2 King's Bench Walk
and Prince Henry's Room
are notable historic survivors of heavy bombing of the Temple
area, which has largely been rebuilt to its historic form. Another example of a bomb-damaged place having been restored is Staple Inn
on Holborn. A few small sections of the Roman London Wall
exist, for example near the Tower of London and in the Barbican area. Among the twentieth-century listed buildings
are Bracken House
, the first post World War II buildings in the country to be given statutory protection, and the whole of the Barbican
and Golden Lane Estate
The Bank of England (left) and the Royal Exchange (centre) are two of the many significant buildings in the City of London.
Skyscrapers and tall buildings
A growing number of tall buildings and skyscrapers are principally used by the financial sector. Almost all are situated in the eastern side around Bishopsgate
, Leadenhall Street
and Fenchurch Street
, in the financial core of the City. In the north there is a smaller cluster comprising the Barbican Estate
's three tall residential towers and the commercial CityPoint
tower. In 2007, the 100 m (328 ft) tall Drapers' Gardens
building was demolished and replaced by a shorter tower.
The City's buildings of at least 100 m (328 ft) in height are:
CityPoint was originally completed in 1967 and named Britannic House standing at 122 m tall, but was refurbished in 2000 and increased to 127 m in height.
The timeline of the tallest building in the City is as follows:
Rail and Tube
Seven London Underground lines serve the City:
The Elizabeth line
(Crossrail) will run east-west underneath the City of London once it opens. The line will serve two stations in the City - Farringdon
and Liverpool Street - which will additionally serve the Barbican and Moorgate areas. Elizabeth line services will link the City directly to destinations such as Canary Wharf, Heathrow Airport
(), and the M4 Corridor
high-technology hub (serving Slough
The City is served by a frequent Thameslink
rail service which runs north-south through London. Thameslink services call at Farringdon, City Thameslink
, and London Blackfriars. This provides the City with a direct link to key destinations across London, including Elephant & Castle
, London Bridge
, and St Pancras International
(for the Eurostar
to mainland Europe
). There are also regular, direct trains from these stations to major destinations across East Anglia
and the South East
, including Bedford
, Gatwick Airport
(), Luton Airport
(), and Peterborough
- London Blackfriars - Thameslink services and some Southeastern services to South East London and Kent.
- London Cannon Street - Southeastern services to South East London and Kent.
- London Fenchurch Street - C2c services along the Thames Estuary towards East London, south Essex, and Southend.
- London Liverpool Street - Greater Anglia and some C2c services towards destinations in East London and East Anglia, including Stratford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, Norwich, Southend, and Southend Airport (). Stansted Express to Stansted Airport (). London Overground () to destinations in north-east London including Hackney Downs, Seven Sisters, Walthamstow, Chingford, Enfield, and Cheshunt.
- Moorgate - Great Northern towards Finsbury Park, Enfield, and other destinations in North London and Hertfordshire, including Hertford and Welwyn Garden City.
Space taken vs numbers in City of London (transport).
The national A1
, A10 A3
, and A40 road
routes begin in the City. The City is in the London congestion charge
zone, with the small exception on the eastern boundary of the sections of the A1210/A1211 that are part of the Inner Ring Road
. The following bridges, listed west to east (downstream), cross the River Thames
: Blackfriars Bridge
, Blackfriars Railway Bridge
, Millennium Bridge
(footbridge), Southwark Bridge
, Cannon Street Railway Bridge
and London Bridge
; Tower Bridge
is not in the City. The City, like most of central London, is well served by buses
, including night buses. Two bus stations are in the City, at Aldgate
on the eastern boundary with Tower Hamlets, and at Liverpool Street
by the railway station.
- Cycle Superhighway 1 runs from Tottenham to the City. It is a signposted cycle route, passing through Stoke Newington and Hackney before entering the City south of Old Street.
- Cycle Superhighway 2 runs from Stratford to the City, via Bow, Mile End, and Whitechapel. The route enters the city near Aldgate. The route runs primarily on segregated cycle track.
- Cycleway 3 is an east-west bike freeway through the City. The route runs along the southern rim of the City, following the route of the Thames. Eastbound, Cycleway 3 provides cyclists with a direct, signposted cycle link to Shadwell, Poplar and Canary Wharf, and Barking. The route runs Westbound on traffic-free track to Lancaster Gate via Parliament Square, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park.
- Cycleway 6 runs north-south through the City on traffic-free cycle track. The track passes Farringdon Station, the Holborn Viaduct, Ludgate Circus, Blackfriars station, and Blackfriars Bridge. Northbound, the route passes through Clerkenwell, Bloomsbury, King's Cross, and Kentish Town. The route southbound carries cyclists to Elephant and Castle.
- Cycle Superhighway 7 begins in the City at an interchange with Cycleway 3. It leaves the City over Southwark Bridge and provides cyclists with an unbroken, signposted route to Colliers Wood via Elephant and Castle, Clapham, and Tooting, amongst other destinations.
- Quietway 11 is a northbound continuation of Cycleway 7. It is a signposted cycle route which runs from Southwark Bridge to Hoxton, via the Barbican and Moorgate.
There is a public riverside walk along the river bank, opened in stages over recent years. The only section not running along the river is a short stretch at Queenhithe
. The walk along Walbrook Wharf is closed to pedestrians when waste is being transferred onto barges.
Travel to work (by residents)
According to a survey conducted in March 2011, the methods by which employed residents 16–74 get to work varied widely: 48.4% go on foot; 19.5% via light rail, (i.e. the Underground
, etc.); 9.2% work mainly from home; 5.8% take the train; 5.6% travel by bus, minibus, or coach; and 5.3% go by bicycle; with just 3.4% commuting by car or van, as driver or passenger.
The City has only one directly maintained primary school, Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School at Aldgate
(ages 4 to 11). It is a Voluntary-Aided (VA) Church of England
school, maintained by the Education Service of the City of London.
Libraries operated by the Corporation include three lending libraries; Barbican Library, Shoe Lane Library and Artizan Street Library and Community Centre. Membership is open to all – with one official proof of address required to join.
Guildhall Library, and City Business Library are also public reference libraries, specialising in the history of London and business reference resources.
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The City of London is a sui generis
unit of local government, referred by the Ordnance Survey
as the City and County of the City of London
to distinguish it as such on their mapping and in their datasets.
Last edited on 15 June 2021, at 21:37
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