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City of London

City of London
City and ceremonial county
The City of London skyline
The City of London skyline
Flag of City of London
Coat of arms of City of London
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): the Square Mile, the City
Motto: Domine Dirige Nos
("O Lord Direct us", motto of City of London Corporation)
Shown within the London region
Shown within the London region
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Administrative area Greater London
Status Sui generis; city and ceremonial county
Administrative headquarters Guildhall
Roman settlement c. 47 AD
Wessex resettlement 886 AD
 • Local authority City of London Corporation
 • Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow[1]
 • Member of Parliament Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
 • London Assembly John Biggs (City and East)
 • Town Clerk John Barradell
 • Total 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2)
Highest elevation 69 ft (21 m)
Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 7,375
 • Density 6,600/sq mi (2,500/km2)
 • Ethnicity[3]

57.5% White British
2.4% White Irish
0% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
18.6% Other White
0.5% White & Black Caribbean
0.5% White & Black African
1.5% White & Asian
1.4% Other Mixed
2.9% Indian
0.2% Pakistani
3.1% Bangladeshi
3.6% Chinese
2.9% Other Asian
1.3% Black African
0.6% Black Caribbean
0.7% Other Black
0.9% Arab

1.2% Other
 • ONS code 00AA
  Population Ranked 325/326
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcodes EC, WC, E
Area code(s) 020
Patron saint St. Paul
Police force City of London Police
Transport for London zones Fare zone 1; congestion charge zone

The City of London is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders.[4] The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status; the other is the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City of London is widely referred to simply as the City (often written as just "City" and 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 (2.90 km2)[5] 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.[6]

The name "London" is now ordinarily used for a far wider area than just the City. "London" often denotes the Greater London administrative area (which covers the whole of the London region of England), comprising 32 boroughs (including the City of Westminster), in addition to the City of London itself. This wider usage of "London" is documented as far back as the 16th century.[7]

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 current Lord Mayor is Alan Yarrow.

The City is a major business and financial centre.[8] Throughout the 19th century, the City was perhaps the world's primary business centre, and it continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.[9] 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. A secondary financial district exists outside of the City, at Canary Wharf, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to the east.

The City has a resident population of about 7,000 (2011) but over 300,000 people commute to and work there, mainly in the financial services sector.[10] 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.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Decline 1.2
    • Anglo-Saxon restoration 1.3
    • Medieval era 1.4
    • Early modern period 1.5
    • Growth of London 1.6
    • 19th and 20th centuries 1.7
    • Arms, motto and flag 1.8
  • Governance 2
    • Wards 2.1
    • Elections 2.2
    • The Temple 2.3
    • Other functions 2.4
    • The boundary of the City 2.5
  • Geography 3
    • Boundary 3.1
    • Gardens and public art 3.2
    • Climate 3.3
  • Public services 4
    • Police and security 4.1
    • Fire brigade 4.2
  • Demography 5
  • Economy 6
    • Headquarters 6.1
    • Non-financial diversification 6.2
    • Other sectors 6.3
  • Landmarks 7
    • Historic buildings 7.1
    • Skyscrapers and tall buildings 7.2
  • Transport 8
    • Rail 8.1
    • Road 8.2
    • River 8.3
    • Travel to work (by residents) 8.4
  • Education 9
    • Public libraries 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12



The Waterloo Helmet, ca. 150–50 BC, found in the Thames (British Museum)
A surviving fragment of the London Wall, built around 200 AD, close to Tower Hill.

It used to be widely held that Londinium was first established by merchants as a trading port on the tidal Thames in around 47 AD, during the early years of the Roman occupation of Britain. However, this date is only supposition. The Romans have left no record of when or how the city was founded and the very first time they mention the city is in the annals of Tacitus (in 61 AD) when he relates how Londinium was among a group of important cities sacked by the Iceni, led by their queen, Boudica.

Many historians now believe London was founded some time before the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD. They base this notion on evidence provided by both archaeology and Welsh literary legend. Archaeologists have claimed that as much as half of the best British Iron Age art and metalwork discovered in Britain has been found in the London area.[11] One of the most prominent examples is the famously horned "Waterloo Helmet" dredged from the Thames in the early 1860s and now exhibited at the British Museum.[12]

Also, according to an ancient Welsh legend, a king named Lud son of Heli substantially enlarged and improved a pre-existing settlement at London which afterwards came to be renamed after him. The same tradition relates how this Lud son of Heli was later buried at Ludgate (Welsh: Porthlud).[13]

"Llydd was the eldest son. And after his father (Beli Mawr) was dead he took the government of the island. And he strengthened the walls of Llvndain, surrounded the city with many farmsteads, and lived in it the greater part of the year. And he had built within the city walls splendid buildings the like of which were not seen in all countries. And he called it Kaer Lvdd; and in the end it was called Kaer Lvndain. And, after the coming of the alien nation into it, it was called Kaer Lwndwn."[14] Ystorya Brenhined y Brytanyeit, Jesus MS. LXI.

Nevertheless, after the conquest the Romans certainly developed the settlement and port, with its centre located where the shallow valley of the Walbrook met the Thames. After the city had been destroyed by Boudica in 60 AD it was entirely rebuilt as a planned settlement (a civitas), and the new walled town was prosperous and grew to become the largest settlement in Roman Britain by the end of the 1st century. By the beginning of the 2nd century, Londinium had replaced Camulodunum (Colchester) as the capital of Roman Britain ("Britannia").

At its height, the Roman city had a population of approximately 45,000–60,000 inhabitants. The Romans built the London Wall some time between 190 and 225 AD. The boundaries of the Roman city were similar to those of the City of London today, though Londinium did not extend further west than Ludgate or the River Fleet, and the Thames was considerably wider than it is today; thus, the City's shoreline was north of its present position. The Romans built a bridge across the river, as early as 50 AD, near to where London Bridge stands.

A number of Roman sites and artefacts can be seen in the City, including the Temple of Mithras, sections of the London Wall (at the Barbican and near Tower Hill), the London Stone and remains of the amphitheatre beneath the Guildhall. The Museum of London holds many of the Roman finds and has permanent Roman exhibitions. It is also a source of information on Roman London, generally.


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 410 AD 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/Aldwych/Covent Garden area.

Anglo-Saxon restoration

Plaque near Southwark Bridge noting the activities around the time of King Alfred.

During the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, the London area came in turn under the Kingdoms of Essex, Mercia, and later Wessex, though from the mid 8th century it was frequently under the control or threat of the Vikings.

Bede records that in AD 604 St Augustine consecrated Mellitus 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.[15] 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 and arguably the first king of the "English", 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."[16] 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.[17]

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 prevailed.[18]

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 between Westminster and the City of London.

Medieval era

Map of London in about 1300.
The end of the Peasants' Revolt 1381: their leader Wat Tyler is killed by William Walworth, Lord Mayor

Following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror marched on London (reaching as far as Southwark), but 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 the Ætheling, Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria surrendered at Berkhamsted. William granted the citizens of London a charter in 1075; the City was one of a few examples of the English retaining some authority. The City was not covered by the Domesday Book.

William built three castles nearby, 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.[19] 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.

The City is 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.

Civitas Londinium; Agas' Map of London, (1570–1605?)
Map showing the extent of the Great Fire of London.
The 1666 Great Fire destroyed nearly 80% of the City.

The City was burned severely on a number of occasions, the worst being in 1123 and (more famously) 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

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 and Westminster.

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

An attempt was made in 1894 with the Royal Commission on the Amalgamation of the City and County of London to end the distinction between the City and the surrounding County of London, but a change of government at Westminster meant the option was not taken up. The City as a distinct polity survived despite its position within the London conurbation and numerous local government reforms. Supporting this status, the City was a special parliamentary borough that elected four members to the unreformed House of Commons, who were retained after the Reform Act 1832; reduced to two under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885; and ceased to be a separate constituency under the Representation of the People Act 1948. Since then the City is a minority (in terms of population and area) of the Cities of London and Westminster.

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"'), the Broadgate Tower and the Heron Tower, the tallest in the City. Another, the Pinnacle, is set to begin rising once a redesign has been completed, and 20 Fenchurch Street and the Leadenhall Building are other skyscrapers currently under construction in the area and expected to be completed in 2014.

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.

Arms, motto and flag

City of London arms on a saddle blanket, as seen outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the Lord Mayor's Show November 2011.

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.[20][21][22]

The blazon of the arms is as follows:[20][21][22]

Arms: Argent a cross gules, in the first quarter a sword in pale point upwards of the last.
Crest: On a wreath argent and gules a dragon's sinister wing argent charged on the underside with a cross throughout gules.
Supporters: On either side a dragon argent charged on the undersides of the wings with a cross throughout gules.

The Saint Paul. The 1381 arms replaced an earlier shield, found on a charter of 1319, that depicted St Paul holding a sword.[21][22] The sword is often erroneously supposed to commemorate the killing of Peasants' Revolt leader Wat Tyler by Lord Mayor of London William Walworth. However the arms were in use some months before Tyler's death, and the tradition that Walworth's dagger is depicted may date from the late 17th century.[21][23][24][25]

The crest and supporters came into use in the 17th century, but were used without authority until 30 April 1957, when they were confirmed and granted by letters patent from the College of Arms.[20][21][22]

The crest is a dragon's wing bearing the cross of St George, borne upon a Guildhall.

On the seal of 1381 two lions were shown supporting the arms. However, by 1609 the present supporters, two silver dragons bearing red crosses upon their wings, had been adopted.[22][24] The dragons were probably suggested by the legend of

  • City of London Corporation—the City's local government website

External links

  1. ^ Jamie, Dunkley (8 November 2013). "New Lord Mayor of London takes on role for City".  
  2. ^ a b "Table 8a Mid-2011 Population Estimates: Selected age groups for local authorities in England and Wales; estimated resident population;". Population Estimates for England and Wales, Mid 2011 (Census Based).  
  3. ^ 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  4. ^ Beckett, J V (2005). City status in the British Isles, 1830–2002. Historical urban studies. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 12.  
  5. ^ "City of London Resident Population Census 2001" (PDF). Corporation of London. July 2005. Retrieved 10 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "City of London still tops finance league". This is Money. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Mills, AD (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford. 
  8. ^ "Global Financial Centres 7".  
  9. ^ Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p. 24. 
  10. ^ a b c "Research and statistics FAQ". The City of London. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  11. ^ City of London Archaeology Society (COLAS), "London Before London: The Iron Age of London" by Jane Roberts
  12. ^ Horned Helmet at the British Museum, London
  13. ^ The Mabinogion, trans. by Lady Charlotte Guest (1877), "Lludd and Llevelys", p. 466
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^  
  16. ^ Asser's Life of King Alfred, ch. 83, trans. Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge, Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred & Other Contemporary Sources (Penguin Classics) (1984), pp. 97–8.
  17. ^ Vince, Alan, Saxon London: An Archaeological Investigation, The Archaeology of London series (1990).
  18. ^ London: The Biography, 2000, Peter Ackroyd, p. 33–35
  19. ^ Victoria County History: A history of the County of Middlesex: Vol 2 pp 15–60 paragraph 12, [2], Retrieved 2 April 2012
  20. ^ a b c d Briggs, Geoffrey (1971). Civic and Corporate Heraldry: A Dictionary of Impersonal Arms of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. London: Heraldry Today. p. 240.  
  21. ^ a b c d e f Beningfield, Thomas James (1964). London, 1900–1964: Armorial bearings and regalia of the London County Council, the Corporation of London and the Metropolitan Boroughs. Cheltenham and London: J Burrow & Co Ltd. pp. 21–23. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f "The City Arms". Corporation of London Records Office. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  23. ^ a b  
  24. ^ a b c d  
  25. ^ Crosley, Richard (1928). London's Coats of Arms and the Stories They Tell. London: Robert Scott. pp. 14–21. 
  26. ^ The City of London: A History. Borer, Mary Irene Cathcart: New York, D. McKay Co., 1978 ISBN 0-09-461880-1 p. 112.
  27. ^ City of London Corporation Ward Motes
  28. ^ City of London Corporation Ward Boundaries, Beadles and Clubs
  29. ^ Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section City of London wards
  30. ^ Bridge Ward Club History of the Bridge wards
  31. ^ Corporation of London Ward Boundary Review (2010)
  32. ^ "HMSO ''City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002 (2002 Chapter vi)''". 21 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  33. ^ Shaxson, N. (2011). Treasure islands: Tax havens and the men who stole the world. London: The Bodley Head.
  34. ^ Association for Geographic Information What place is that then? (PDF)
  35. ^ City of London (Approved Premises for Marriage) Act 1996 "By ancient custom the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple exercise powers within the areas of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple respectively ("the Temples") concerning (inter alia) the regulation and governance of the Temples"
  36. ^ Middle Temple as a local authority
  37. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  38. ^ London Port Health Authority
  39. ^ "City of London". Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  40. ^ "The City and London Borough Boundaries Order 1993". 4 July 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  41. ^ Ordnance Survey data
  42. ^ "Gardens of the City of London". Gardens of the City of London. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  43. ^ "The History of the Bay Trust, Fred Cleary – Founder". 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  44. ^ "Aug Min".  
  45. ^ "Aug Min".  
  46. ^ "Aug Min".  
  47. ^ "Aug Min".  
  48. ^ "Aug 1990 Min".  
  49. ^ "Aug 2003 Max".  
  50. ^ "Jan 1987 Min".  
  51. ^ "Jul 2006 Mean".  
  52. ^ "Jul 2006 Mean".  
  53. ^ "Jul 2006 Mean".  
  54. ^ "Jul 2006 Mean".  
  55. ^ "LWC 1971–00 averages".  
  56. ^ "Key facts". Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  57. ^ a b c "London Fire Brigade – City of London Profile". Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  58. ^ "City of London Resident Population 2001 – Historical trends" (PDF).  
  59. ^ a b c d e f "City of London Census 2001 profile".  
  60. ^ a b "Labour Market Profile: City of London". nomis. The  
  61. ^ "Contact us". Aviva. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  62. ^ "Contact BT". BT Group. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  63. ^ "Company Contacts". Lloyds Banking Group. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  64. ^ "Investor Relations Contacts". Old Mutual. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  65. ^ "Contact". Prudential. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  66. ^ "Contact Us". Standard Chartered. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  67. ^ Unilever registered offices
  68. ^ City of London Corporation Core Strategy
  69. ^ Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme map of docking station locations
  70. ^ London Cycle Network City of London cycle map
  71. ^ "River Thames Pier Plan". Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  72. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Percentages are of all residents aged 16-74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  73. ^ Sir John Cass primary
  74. ^ City Schools
  75. ^ City of London libraries


See also

Guildhall Library, and City Business Library are also public reference libraries, specialising in the history of London and business reference resources.[75]

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.

Public libraries

The City is home to the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry is on the Barts hospital site at West Smithfield.

The City controls three independent schools, City of London School (a boys' school) and City of London School for Girls in the City, and the City of London Freemen's School (co-educational day and boarding) in Ashtead, Surrey. The City of London School for Girls has its own preparatory department for entrance at age seven. It is the principal sponsor of The City Academy, Hackney, City of London Academy, Islington, and City of London Academy, Southwark.[74]

City residents send their children to schools in neighbouring Local Education Authorities, such as Islington, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Southwark.

The City has only one directly maintained primary school, Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School at Aldgate[73] (ages 4 to 11). It is a Voluntary-Aided (VA) Church of England school, maintained by the Education Service of the City of London.


In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: on foot, 36.4% of all residents aged 16–74; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 6.9%; work mainly at or from home, 6.9%; train, 4.3%; bus, minibus or coach, 4.2%; bicycle, 4.0%; driving a car or van, 2.3%.[72]

Travel to work (by residents)

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.

One London River Services pier is on the Thames in the City, Blackfriars Millennium Pier, though the Tower Millennium Pier lies adjacent to the boundary near the Tower of London. One of the Port of London's 25 safeguarded wharves, Walbrook Wharf, is adjacent to Cannon Street station, and is used by the Corporation to transfer waste via the river. Swan Lane Pier, just upstream of London Bridge, is proposed to be replaced and upgraded for regular passenger services, planned to take place in 2012–2015. Before then, Tower Pier is to be extended.[71]


The national A1, A10 A3, A4, 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. There are approximately 28 Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations in the City.[69] A number of existing and proposed cycle routes criss-cross the City, as part of the London Cycle Network.[70]


The high capacity west-east Crossrail railway line, scheduled to be completed by 2018, will run underground across the north of the City, with stations at Farringdon (linked also to Barbican) and Liverpool Street (linked also to Moorgate).

The City is well served by the Northern City Line. The whole of the City is in Travelcard Zone 1.


The Millennium Bridge, looking north towards St Paul's Cathedral and the City.
London Underground roundel (flanked by City dragons) at Bank station.


Years as tallest
Height to roof (m)
Height to roof (ft)
Leadenhall Building 2014-present 225 737 48
Heron Tower 2010–2014 202 663 46
Tower 42 1980–2010 183 600 47
CityPoint 1967–1980 122 400 35
St Paul's Cathedral 1710–1962 111 365 n/a
St Mary-le-Bow 1683–1710 72 236 n/a
Monument to the Great Fire of London 1677–1683 62 202 n/a
Old St Paul's Cathedral 1310–1677 150 493 n/a

The timeline of the tallest building in the City is as follows:

Rank Name Completed Use Height to roof Floors Location
metres feet
1 Leadenhall Building 2014 Office 225 737 48 122 Leadenhall Street
2 Heron Tower 2010 Office 202 663 46 110 Bishopsgate
3 Tower 42 1980 Office 183 600 47 25 Old Broad Street
4 30 St Mary Axe 2003 Office 180 590 40 30 St Mary Axe
5 Broadgate Tower 2008 Office 164 538 35 201 Bishopsgate
6 20 Fenchurch Street 2014 Office 160 525 37 20 Fenchurch Street
7 CityPoint 1967 Office 127 417 36 1 Ropemaker Street
8 Willis Building 2007 Office 125 410 26 51 Lime Street
=9 Cromwell Tower 1973 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
=9 Lauderdale Tower 1974 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
=9 Shakespeare Tower 1976 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
12 St. Helen's 1969 Office 118 387 28 1 Undershaft
13 The Heron 2013 Residential 112 367 35 Milton Court
14 St Paul's Cathedral 1710 Cathedral 111 365 n/a Ludgate Hill
15 99 Bishopsgate 1976 Office 104 340 26 99 Bishopsgate
16 Stock Exchange Tower 1970 Office 100 328 27 125 Old Broad Street

The City's buildings of more than 100 m in height are:

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.

Tower 42 was the City's tallest building from 1980 until 2010.
The Leadenhall Building became the City's tallest structure upon its completion in 2014.
The City skyline in August 2014, including Tower 42 (left), the Leadenhall Building (centre) and 20 Fenchurch Street (right)

Skyscrapers and tall buildings

Facing east, looking towards the City from Waterloo Bridge. To the right is the illuminated National Theatre.

The Tower of London is not in the City, but is a notable visitor attraction which brings tourists to the southeast of the City. Other landmark buildings include a number of the modern high-rise buildings (see section below) and the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Smithfield Market and the Lloyd's building.

Fire, bombing and post-World War II redevelopment has meant that the City, despite its history, has relatively few intact notable historic structures. 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.

Historic buildings


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.

Barbican Centre

Other sectors

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, Cheapside (near St Paul's Cathedral) in October 2010. 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. The new centre at One New Change however is open seven days a week.

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.[68] 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. Planned residential developments include the Milton Court site ("Heron Tower") adjacent to the Barbican and the Heron Plaza on Bishopsgate. The Olympics in London also helped with mixed use development.

Non-financial diversification

A number of the world's largest law firms are headquartered in the City, including Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Eversheds and Slaughter and May.

Many major global companies have their headquarters in the City, including Aviva,[61] BT Group,[62] Lloyds Banking Group,[63] Old Mutual,[64] Prudential,[65] Standard Chartered,[66] Unilever,[67] and Ernst and Young.


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, 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.

London is the world's greatest foreign exchange market, with much of the trade conducted in the City of London. 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.[10] The pound sterling, the currency of the United Kingdom, is globally the fourth most traded currency and the third most held reserve currency.

The City vies with New York City as the financial capital of the world; many banking and insurance institutions have their headquarters there. The London Stock Exchange (shares and bonds), Lloyd's of London (insurance) and the Bank of England are all based in the City. Over 500 banks have offices in the City, and the City is an established leader in trading in Eurobonds, foreign exchange, energy futures and global insurance. The Alternative Investment Market, a market for trades in equities of smaller firms, is a recent development. In 2009, the City of London accounted for 2.4% of UK GDP.[10]

The Bank of England, on Threadneedle Street, is the central bank of the United Kingdom.


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.[60] It is worth noting, however, that there is a large inequality between genders (£1,085.90 in men compared to £653.50 in women).[60] The 2001 Census showed the City as a unique district amongst 376 districts surveyed in England and Wales.[59] 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.[59] 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.[59] It also ranked highest within the Greater London area for the percentage of people with no religion and people who are employed.[59]

The Office for National Statistics recorded the population in 2011 as 7,000;[2] approximately the same as that in the last census, 2001.[59] 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".[59] To the right is a graph 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 has fire risks in many places, including St Paul's Cathedral, The Old Bailey, Mansion House, Smithfield Market, the Guildhall, and the numerous high-rise buildings. There is one London Fire Brigade station in the City, at Dowgate, with one pumping appliance.[57] 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.[57] 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.[57]

Fire brigade

The "Ring of Steel" is a particularly notable measure, established in the wake of the IRA bombings, that has been taken against terrorist threats.

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 September 11, 2001 attacks, they simulated a chemical explosion on Bishopsgate in the east of the City.

The City's position as the United Kingdom's financial centre and a critical part of the country's economy, contributing about 2.5% of the UK's gross national product,[56] has resulted in it becoming a target for political violence. The Provisional IRA exploded several bombs in the early 1990s, including the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing.

Where the majority of British police forces have silver-coloured badges, those of the City Police are black and gold featuring the City crest. The force has unique red and white chequered cap bands and red and white striped duty arm bands on the sleeve 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 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 City is a police area and has its own police force, the City of London Police, separate from the Metropolitan Police Service covering the remainder of Greater London. The City Police have three police stations, at Snow Hill, Wood Street and Bishopsgate, and has 813 police officers, 85 Special Constables and 48 PCSOs. It is the smallest territorial police force in England and Wales, in both geographic area and the number of police officers.

Police and security

Public services

Climate data for London Weather Centre 1971–2000, 43m asl
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 3.7
Source: YR.NO[55]

date=September 2011

The station holds the record for the highest British mean monthly temperature,[51] 22.9 °C (73.2 °F) (mean maximum 27.9 °C (82.2 °F), mean minimum 17.8 °C (64.0 °F) during July 2006). However, in terms of daytime maximum temperatures, Cambridge NIAB[52] and Botanical Gardens[53] with a mean maximum of 28.3 °C (82.9 °F), and Heathrow[54] with 28.2 °C (82.8 °F) all exceeded this.

Not surprisingly, 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.[48] The maximum is 37.6 °C (99.7 °F), set on 10 August 2003.[49] The absolute minimum[50] 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 City has an oceanic climate (Köppen "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[44] of 14.7 °C (58.5 °F) compares to a figure of 13.3 °C (55.9 °F) for both Greenwich[45] and Heathrow[46] and just 11.6 °C (52.9 °F) at Wisley[47] on the edge of the urban area beside the M25. All figures refer to the observation period 1971–2000.

The nearest weather station has historically been the London Weather Centre at Kingsway/Holborn, although observations ceased in 2010. Now St James Park provides the nearest official readings.


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.

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.

Gardens include:

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 and bandstand, to churchyards such as St Olave Hart Street, to water features and artwork in courtyards and pedestrianised lanes.[42]

Finsbury Circus, the largest public open space, from Tower 42

Gardens and public art

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.

Official boundary map, with wards.

The boundaries are marked by black bollards bearing the City's emblem, and by dragon boundary marks at major entrances, such as Holborn. A similar monument marks the boundary at Temple Bar on Fleet Street.

Beginning in the west, where the City borders Westminster, the boundary crosses 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.

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.


The elevation of the City ranges from sea level at the Thames to 21.6 metres (71 ft) at the junction of High Holborn and Chancery Lane.[41] Two small but notable hills are within the historic core, Ludgate Hill to the west and Cornhill to the east. Between them ran the Walbrook, one of the many "lost" rivers of London (another is the Fleet).

The City is England's smallest ceremonial county by area and population, and the fourth most densely populated. Of the 326 English districts, it is the second smallest by population, after the Isles of Scilly, and the smallest by area. It can be regarded as the second smallest British city in population, after St David's in Wales.


Southwark, to the south of the City on the other side of the Thames, was within the City between 1550 and 1899 as the Ward of Bridge Without, a situation connected with the Guildable Manor. The City's administrative responsibility there had in practice disappeared by the mid-Victorian period as various aspects of metropolitan government were extended into the neighbouring areas. Today it is part of the London Borough of Southwark. The Tower of London has always been outside the City and comes under the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

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, Camden, Islington, Hackney 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.[40]

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", today underground as a storm drain.

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, 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.

Dragon statue atop the Temple Bar monument, which marks the boundary between the City and Westminster.

The boundary of the City

The London Port Health Authority, which is the responsibility of the Corporation, is responsible for all port health functions on the tidal part of the Thames, including various seaports and London City Airport.[38] The Corporation oversees the running of the Bridge House Trust, which maintains London Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. The City's flag flies over Tower Bridge, although neither footing is in the City.[39]

The City is the third largest UK patron of the arts. It oversees the Barbican Centre and subsidises several important performing arts companies.

The City has one hospital, St Bartholomew's Hospital. Founded in 1123 and commonly known as 'Barts', it is at Smithfield, and is undergoing a long-awaited regeneration after many doubts as to it continuing in use during the 1990s.

The City has its own independent police force, the City of London Police—the Common Council (the main body of the Corporation) is the police authority.[37] The rest of Greater London is policed by the Metropolitan Police Service, based at New Scotland Yard.

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, Hampstead Heath and many public spaces in Northern Ireland through The Honourable The Irish Society. It 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.

Leadenhall Market is a historic market on Gracechurch Street.

Other functions

Inner Temple and Middle Temple (which neighbour each other) are two of the few remaining liberties, an old name for a geographic division. They are independent extra-parochial areas,[34] historically not governed by the City of London Corporation[35] (and are today regarded as local authorities for most purposes[36]) and equally outside the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. They are within the boundaries and liberties of the City, but can be thought of as independent enclaves. They are both part of the Farringdon Without ward of the City.

The Temple

The Act also removed other anomalies which had been unchanged since the 1850s.

This form of voting has long been abolished in other parts of the UK. Opponents argue that it is a cause of institutional inertia[33] and, uniquely for city or borough elections, its elections remain independent-dominated.

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.

A private Act of Parliament in 2002[32] reformed the voting system for electing Members to the Corporation of London and received the Royal Assent on 7 November 2002. 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.

The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 330,000 non-residents constitute the day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering residents, who number around 7,000. Nevertheless, the system has long been controversial. The business vote was abolished in all other UK local council elections in 1969.

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.


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 residential wards together elect 20 of the 100 Commoners, with the business-dominated wards electing the remaining 80 Commoners. Four of the wards are regarded as primarily residential, and recent boundary changes have reinforced this: Portsoken, Queenhithe, Aldersgate and Cripplegate.

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;[31] the wards are not reviewed by the Electoral Commission under the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 and the number and names of the wards do not change, as they may do in other local government areas. Particular churches, livery company halls and other historic buildings and structures are associated with specific wards, such as St Paul's Cathedral with Castle Baynard, and London Bridge with Bridge. Boundary changes in 2003 removed some of these connected places from their wards, but each boundary review takes into account these historic/traditional connections.

A map of the wards as they were in the late 19th century.

The wards are ancient and their number has changed only 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;[29] and the Bridge wards Within and Without were merged in 1978 as Bridge ward.[30]

The City is made up of 25 wards, whose boundaries changed in 2003, though the number of wards and their names did not change. They are survivors of the mediaeval government system that allowed a very local area to exist as a self-governing unit within the wider city.[26] They can be described as electoral/political divisions; ceremonial, geographic and administrative entities; sub-divisions of the City. Each ward has an Alderman, who traditionally held office for life but in the modern era put themselves up for re-election at least every 6 years. Wards continue to have Beadles, an ancient office which is now largely ceremonial: the main remaining function is the running of the Wardmote, an annual meeting in each ward of electors, representatives and officials.[27] 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 found elsewhere in the country.[28]


The City is a ceremonial county, although it has a Commission of Lieutenancy, headed by the Lord Mayor, instead of a Lord-Lieutenant, and it has two Sheriffs instead of a High Sheriff (see list of Sheriffs of London), quasi-judicial offices appointed by the Livery Companies, an ancient political system based on the representation and protection of trades. Senior members of the Livery Companies are known as Liverymen and form a special electorate called the Common Hall, which chooses the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and certain other officers.

It is administered by the City of London Corporation, headed by the Lord Mayor of London (not the same as the more recent Mayor of London), which is responsible for a number of functions and owns a number of locations beyond the City's boundaries. Unlike other English local authorities, the Corporation has two council bodies: the (now largely ceremonial) Court of Aldermen and the Court of Common Council. The Court of Aldermen represents the wards, with each ward (irrespective of size) returning one Alderman. The chief executive of the administrative side of the Corporation holds the ancient office of Town Clerk of London.

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.

Former Lord Mayor of the City of London John Stuttard during the Lord Mayor's parade of 2006.
Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor.
The Guildhall is the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City.


A banner of the arms (the design on the shield) is flown as a flag.

The Latin motto of the City is "Domine dirige nos", which translates as "Lord, direct (guide) us". It appears to have been adopted in the 17th century, as the earliest record of it is was first recorded in 1633.[22][24]


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