Metropolitan Borough of Westminster

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This article is about the entity that existed from 1900 to 1965. For the current borough, see City of Westminster.
Metropolitan Borough of Westminster shown within the County of London
Westminster within the County of London
 - 1911 2,503 acres (10.13 km2)[1]
 - 1961 2,505 acres (10.14 km2)[1]
 - 1911 160,261[1]
 - 1961 85,735[1]
 - 1911 64/acre
 - 1961 34/acre
 - Origin Liberty of Westminster
 - Created 1900
 - Abolished 1965
 - Succeeded by London Borough of Westminster
Status Metropolitan borough
City (1900–1965)
Civil parish (1922–1965)
Government Westminster City Council
 - HQ Westminster City Hall, St Martin's Place WC2
 - Motto Custodi Civitatem Domine (O Lord, watch over the City)
The Arms of The Metropolitan Borough of Westminster
Coat of arms of Westminster City Council

The Metropolitan Borough of Westminster was a metropolitan borough in the County of London, England, from 1900 to 1965.

City status[edit]

By royal charter dated 29 October 1900 the borough was granted the title City of Westminster. Westminster had originally been created a city and seat of the short-lived Diocese of Westminster in 1541. The diocese was suppressed in 1550, but the area was still known as a "city", although without official sanction.

Arms and motto[edit]

The arms of Westminster represent two monarchs, closely associated with the City. Edward the Confessor, who rebuilt the church of St Peter (Westminster Abbey), and Henry VII, who added a chapel, within the Abbey. The portcullis and rose emblems are derived from the Tudor dynasty – from whom Westminster first achieved its status; and they appear throughout many public and religious buildings in Westminster, and the portcullis was adopted by the House of Commons. The supporting lions are adopted from the Cecil family, who have had a long association with the borough. The arms were first granted in 1601.

The motto Custodi Civitatem Domine, is translated as O Lord, watch over the City.[2]

The arms can still be seen on the Portland stone parapet of the former Westminster City Hall in St Martin's Place (built in 1890–91 by Robert Walker, replacing an earlier vestry hall).


It consisted of the area that is now part of the City of Westminster and south of Oxford Street and Bayswater Road. It included Soho, Mayfair, St. James's, The Strand, Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia, and Hyde Park.

It was formed from various parishes:

Previous to the borough's formation it had been administered by five separate local bodies: the Vestry of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of St Martin in the Fields, Strand District Board of Works, Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of Westminster St James. The Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter had not been under the control of any local authority prior to 1900.[3]

Area and population[edit]

The borough covered 2,503 acres (10.1 km2). The population recorded in the Census was:

Civil parishes 1801–1899

Year[4] 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
Population 160,759 168,657 189,543 209,229 229,473 244,531 257,232 248,714 229,784 198,871 183,011

Poor law[edit]

The parishes which made up the borough were within the St George's, Strand and Westminster unions. The unions were amalgamated in 1913 to form the City of Westminster Union. The parishes and unions were then abolished in 1922 and replaced with a single City of Westminster parish for poor law purposes. The parish continued to exist until 1965, but ceased to have any role in the administration of the poor law in 1930 when responsibility transferred to the London County Council.


It was abolished in 1965 and its area became part of the City of Westminster along with the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington and the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone.


  1. ^ a b c d Vision of Britain – Westminster population (area and density)
  2. ^ Civic Heraldry accessed 20 Jun 2007
  3. ^ Frederic A Youngs Jr., Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Volume I:Southern England, London, 1979
  4. ^ Statistical Abstract for London, 1901 (Vol. IV); Census tables for Metropolitan Borough of Westminster

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′56″N 0°08′17″W / 51.499°N 0.138°W / 51.499; -0.138