City of London

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City of London
The City • Square Mile
An aerial photo of the City's financial core
An aerial photo of the City's financial core
Flag of City of London
Coat of arms of City of London
Coat of arms
Motto(s): Domine dirige nos
(Latin: Lord, guide us)
Shown within Greater London
Shown within Greater London
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Status Sui generis; City and ceremonial county
Admin HQ Guildhall
Roman settlement c. 50 AD
Wessex resettlement 886 AD
 • Local authority City of London Corporation
 • Lord Mayor Nick Anstee
 • Member of Parliament Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster)
 • London Assembly John Biggs (City and East)
 • Total 1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2)
Elevation 20-59 ft (6-18 m)
Population (mid-2008 est)
 • Total 7,900
 • Density 7,054/sq mi (2,724/km2)
 • Ethnicity 84.4% White
(68.3% British
12.8% non-British
3.3% Irish)
6.8% South Asian
2.6% African-Caribbean
2.0% Chinese
 • ONS code 00AA
  Population Ranked 353rd
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
(Royal Mail)
EC, WC & E1
Area code (phone) 020
Patron saint St Paul

The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though remains a notable part of Central London. It is often referred to as the City or the Square Mile, as it is just over one square mile (1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2)*)[1] in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which has historically been based here.

In the medieval period, the City was the full extent of London. The term London now refers to a much larger conurbation roughly corresponding to Greater London, a local government area which includes 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London, which is not one of the 32 London boroughs. The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the United Kingdom, and has some unusual responsibilities for a local authority in Britain, such as being the police authority for the City. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, a separate (and much older) office to the Mayor of London.

The City is today a major business and financial centre, ranking on a par with New York City as the leading centre of global finance;[2] in the 19th century, the City served as the world's primary business centre.[3] The City has a resident population of approximately 8,000, but around 320,000 people work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession form a major component of the western side of the City, especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas; these are where the Inns of Court are located, of which two — Inner Temple and Middle Temple — fall within the City of London boundary.


The City of London is England's smallest ceremonial county, both by population and by area, and with the 4th highest population density. Of the 354 English districts, it is the second smallest by population, after the Isles of Scilly, and the smallest by area. It can also be regarded as the second smallest British city in population, after St David's in Wales.

Changes over time

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.

The walls have almost entirely disappeared, although 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 running entirely underground as a storm drain.

The boundary of the City then remained fixed until minor boundary changes in 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 in places where its course had been rendered obsolete by changes in the urban landscape. In the process the City lost small parcels of land, though there was an overall net gain of land. Most notably, the changes placed the (then recently developed) Broadgate estate entirely in the City.[4]

Southwark, to the south of the City on the other side of the Thames, came 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, however, had in practice disappeared by the mid-Victorian period as various aspects of metropolitan government were extended into the neighbouring areas. Today it forms part of the London Borough of Southwark. The Tower of London has always been outside the City and today comes under the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Today's boundary

Borders of the City of London, showing surrounding London boroughs and the pre-1994 boundary (where changed). The area covered by the Inner and Middle Temple is marked.
Dragon statue at Temple Bar monument, which marks the boundary between the City and Westminster.

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. Here, at Baltic Street West, is the most northerly extent of the City. The boundary includes all of the Barbican Estate and continues east along Ropemaker Street and its continuation South Place 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 from the City, and then reaches the river. The City's boundary then runs up the centre of the Thames, though the City controls the full spans of London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge but only half of the river underneath them, a feature which is unique in British local administration.

The boundaries of the City are marked by black bollards bearing the City's emblem, and at major entrances, such as at Temple Bar on Fleet Street, a grander monument, with a dragon facing outwards, marks the boundary.

Official boundary map, with wards.

In some places the financial district extends slightly beyond the political boundaries of the City, 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 of the City, extending into Hackney and Tower Hamlets, has increasingly been a focus for large office developments due to the availability of large sites there compared to within the City.


Roman origins

Plaque near Southwark Bridge noting the activities around the time of King Alfred.
Map of London c. 1300.

It is believed that Roman London was established as a trading port by merchants on the tidal Thames around 50 AD. The new settlement and port was centred where the shallow valley of the Walbrook meets the Thames. However in around AD 60, little more than ten years after Londinium was founded, it was sacked by the Iceni, led by the their queen Boudica. Londinium was rebuilt as a planned settlement soon after and the new town was prosperous and grew to become the largest settlement in Roman Britain by the end of the first century. By the end of the century, Londinium had replaced 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. 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/the River Fleet and the Thames was considerably wider than today, thus the shoreline of the city was north of its present position.

However already by the time of the construction of the London Wall, the city's fortunes were in decline, with problems of plague and fire. The Roman Empire entered a long period of instability and decline, including for example the Carausian Revolt in Britain. In the third and fourth 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.

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

Anglo-Saxon restoration

See main article: Anglo-Saxon London

Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and often regarded as the first King of England, 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 English settlement was known as Lundenburh. The historian Asser stated that "Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, restored the city of London splendidly ... and made it habitable once more."[5] 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.[6]

In the tenth century, Athelstan permitted eight mints to be established, compared with six in his capital, Winchester, indicating the wealth of the city.

Medieval and early modern periods

See also: Norman and Medieval London

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

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

William ensured against attack by building three castles nearby, to keep the Londoners subdued:

In 1132, Henry I recognised full County status for the City, and by 1141 the whole body of the citizenry was considered to constitute a single community. This '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 was composed of wards governed by Aldermen, who chaired the Wardmotes. There was a folkmoot for the whole of the city held at the outdoor cross of St Paul's Cathedral. Many of the medieval positions and traditions continue to the present day, demonstrating the unique institution which the City, and its Corporation, is.

The City was burned severely on a number of occasions, the worst being in 1123 and then again (and more famously) in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Both of these fires were referred to as the Great Fire. 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.

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.

In 1708 Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, was completed on his birthday. However, the first service had been held on 2 December 1697; more than 10 years earlier. This Cathedral 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 in Britain and a fine example of Baroque architecture.

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 & 20th centuries

St Paul's Cathedral surviving the Second Great Fire.
The Tower of London, Tower Millennium Pier and the City's financial core, as seen from City Hall in 2008.

An attempt was made in 1894 to amalgamate the City and the surrounding County of London, but it did not succeed. The City of London therefore survived, and does so to this day, despite its situation within the London conurbation and numerous local government reforms. Regarding representation to Parliament, the City elected four members to the unreformed House of Commons, which it retained after the Reform Act 1832 and into the 20th century. Today it is included wholly in the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, and statute requires that it not be divided between two neighbouring areas.

The City's population fell rapidly in the 19th century and through most of the 20th century as people moved outwards to London's vast suburbs and many houses were demolished to make way for modern office blocks. The largest residential section of the City today is the Barbican Estate, constructed between 1965 and 1976. Here a major proportion of the City's population now live. The Museum of London is located here, as are a number of other services provided by the Corporation.

The City, like many areas of London and other British cities, fell victim to large scale and highly destructive aerial bombing during World War II, in what is known as The Blitz. Whilst St Paul's Cathedral survived the onslaught, large swathes of the City did not. A major rebuilding programme therefore occurred in the decades following the war, in some parts (such as at the Barbican) dramatically altering the City's urban landscape. The destruction of the City's older historic fabric however allowed, and continues to allow, the construction of modern and larger-scale developments in parts of the City, 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 certain 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, 42-storey Natwest Tower, which became the first skyscraper in the UK. Office space development has intensified especially in the central, northern and eastern parts of the City, with a second (30 St Mary Axe) and most recently a third skyscraper (the Broadgate Tower) being built. A fourth skyscraper, the Heron Tower, is currently under construction, and will become Britain's tallest building when completed. A fifth, the Bishopsgate Tower is set to begin rising in late 2010, and will overtake the Heron Tower to become the tallest building in the City of London, and the second tallest in Britain after the under-construction Shard of Glass at London Bridge Station.

The Latin motto of the City of London is "Domine dirige nos", which translates as "Lord, guide us". The City has its own flag and coat of arms. The red sword is commonly supposed to commemorate the killing of Peasants' Revolt leader Wat Tyler by the Lord Mayor of London William Walworth in 1381, but in fact is the symbol of the martyrdom of Saint Paul, London's patron saint.

Present-day developments

Temple Church; once numbering over 100, there are today 47 churches in the City.[7]
30 St Mary Axe. Scenes of contrast between new and old are common in the City.

The trend for purely office development is beginning to reverse as the Corporation encourages residential use, although the resident population is not expected to exceed 10,000 people. 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.

Since the 1990s, the City has diversified away from near exclusive office use in other ways. For example, several hotels and the City's first department store have opened. A shopping mall is being built at New Change, near St Paul's Cathedral. However, large sections of the City remain very quiet at weekends, especially those areas in the eastern section of the City, and it is quite common to find pubs and cafes closed on these days.

A number of skyscrapers have been built in recent years in the City of London and further skyscrapers are either under construction or planned to be built. These include:

  • Bishopsgate Tower - 63 floors, 288 metres/945 feet, foundations and basements under construction.
  • Heron Tower - 47 floors, 246 metres/807 feet, under construction and nearing completion.
  • The Leadenhall Building - 48 floors, 225 metres/738 feet, began construction but temporarily on hold.
  • 20 Fenchurch Street - 36 floors, 160 metres/525 feet,nicknamed the "Walkie Talkie".


Historical population

1. not strictly comparable with the 1971 figure[clarification needed]


See also: Economy of London

Bishopsgate, in the City's financial area

The City houses the London Stock Exchange (shares and bonds), Lloyd's of London (insurance) and the Bank of England. There are over 500 banks with offices in the City, with established leads in areas such as Eurobonds, foreign exchange markets, energy futures and global insurance. The Alternative Investment Market has been a growth market over the past decade, allowing London to also expand as an international equity centre for smaller firms.

Since 1991 Canary Wharf a few miles east of the City in Tower Hamlets, has become a second centre for London's financial services industry and now houses banks and other institutions formerly located in the Square Mile. However, fears that the City would be damaged by this development appear to have been unfounded with growth occurring in both locations. Canary Wharf may have been of great service to the Square Mile by providing large floorplate office buildings at a time when this was difficult within the City boundary, and therefore preventing companies such as HSBC from relocating abroad. In 2008, the City of London accounted for 4 percent of UK GDP.

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

BT Group (British Telecom) had its world head office in the BT Centre in the City of London.[8][9] Unilever PLC has its head office in the Unilever House in the City of London.[10]

Local government

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

The City of London 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.

It is administered by the City of London Corporation, headed by the Lord Mayor of London (not the same as the more recently created position of Mayor of London), which is responsible for a number of functions and owns a number of locations beyond the City's boundaries. The City is a ceremonial county, although it has a Commission, headed by the Lord Mayor, instead of a Lord-Lieutenant.


The City is made up of 25 wards, which had their boundaries changed in 2003, though the number of wards and their names did not change. Four of the wards are today regarded as being primarily residential, and recent boundary changes have reinforced this. They are: Portsoken, Queenhithe, Aldersgate and Cripplegate.

The wards are ancient and their number has only changed twice since time immemorial: in 1394 Farringdon was divided into Farringdon Within and Farringdon Without, and in 1550 with the creation of Bridge Without (Southwark).[11] However, as Southwark gradually was removed from the City's administration during the 19th Century, Bridge Without was eventually merged with Bridge Within, in 1978[12] and the ward is today usually called simply "Bridge" (after London Bridge). Following changes to the City of London's boundary in 1994 and later reform of the business vote in the City, a major boundary and electoral representation revision took place to the wards in 2003. The ward boundaries and electoral representation are currently being reviewed again, though not to such a dramatic extent, and the review is being conducted by senior officers of the Corporation and senior judges of the Old Bailey.[13]

Current arrangements are that 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 Freeman of the City of London are eligible to stand. The number of Commoners a ward sends to the Common Council varies (from 2 to 10) and depends on the size of the ward, in terms of the number of eligible votes. Since the 2003 review it is agreed that the four residential wards send 20 of the 100 Commoners, with the business-dominated wards returning the remaining allocation of 80 Commoners.

The City does not have any civil parishes and since the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (which allowed for the creation of civil parishes in the London boroughs) the City is the only part of England where civil parishes cannot be created.

The Temple

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,[14] historically not governed by the City of London Corporation[15] (and are today regarded as local authorities for most purposes[16]) and equally outside the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. They geographically fall 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 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.

The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 450,000 non-residents constitute the city's day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering the City's residents, who are fewer than 10,000. Nevertheless, the system has long been the cause of controversy. The business vote was abolished in all other UK local authority elections in 1969.

A private act of Parliament in 2002[17] 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 disfranchised firms (and other organizations) 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 may appoint one voter for every five employees; those employing more than 50 people may appoint ten voters and one additional voter for each 50 employees beyond the first 50.

The Act also removed other anomalies that had developed within the City's system, which had been unchanged since the 1850s.

Proposals for further change

Part of the interior of Smithfield Market, in the Farringdon area of the City

The present system is seen by some as undemocratic[citation needed], but adopting a more conventional system would place the 7,800 residents of the City in control of the local planning and other functions of a major financial capital that provides most of its services to hundreds of thousands of non-residents.

Proposals to annex the City to one of the neighbouring London boroughs, possibly the City of Westminster, have not widely been taken seriously. One proposal floated as a possible reform is to allow those who work in the City to each have a direct individual vote, rather than businesses being represented by appointed voters.

In May 2006 the Lord Chancellor stated to Parliament that the government was minded to examine the issue of City elections at a later date, probably after 2009, in order to assess how the new system has bedded down.[18]

Other functions

Within the City, the Corporation owns and runs both the Smithfield Market and Leadenhall Market. The Corporation owns and is responsible for a number of locations beyond the boundaries of the City. These include various 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 also owns Old Spitalfields Market and Billingsgate Fish Market, both of which are within the neighbouring London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The Corporation also owns and helps fund the Old Bailey the Central Criminal Court for England and Wales, as a gift to the nation, it having begun as the City and Middlesex Sessions.

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

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

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

The Port of London's health authority is also the responsibility of the Corporation, which includes the handling of imported cargo at London Heathrow airport.[19] The Corporation oversees the running of the Bridge House Trust, which maintains five key bridges in central London, 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.[20]


See also: Transport for London

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


The City is well served by the London Underground network, as well as the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with 11 tube stations and 2 DLR stations within its boundary. Three National Rail termini stations are located in the City, at Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street and Cannon Street, and London Bridge station is on the other end of London Bridge in Southwark. Thameslink services call at Blackfriars and City Thameslink. As well as being an Underground station, Moorgate is the terminus of the Northern City Line. The whole of the City of London lies in Travelcard Zone 1.

The high capacity west-east Crossrail railway line, which is scheduled to be completed by 2017, will run underground across the north of the City, with two stations at Farringdon/Barbican and Moorgate/Liverpool Street.


The national A1, A3, and A4 road routes begin in the City of London. The entirety of the City lies within the London congestion charge zone, with the small exception on the eastern boundary of the parts of the A1210/A1211 routes which form part of the inner ring road.

The following bridges, listed west to east (heading downstream), cross the River Thames from the City of London to the southern bank: Blackfriars Bridge, Blackfriars Railway Bridge, Millennium Bridge (footbridge), Southwark Bridge, Cannon Street Railway Bridge and London Bridge. The famous landmark, the Tower Bridge, is not in the City of London.

The City, like most of central London, is well served by buses, including night buses. Two bus stations are located in the City, at Aldgate on the eastern border with Tower Hamlets, and at Liverpool Street by the railway station there.


One London River Services pier exists on the Thames along the City of London shore, the Blackfriars Millennium Pier, though the Tower Millennium Pier lies adjacent to the City's boundary, near the Tower of London. One of the Port of London's 25 safeguarded wharfs in central London, Walbrook Wharf, is located on the City of London's shore, adjacent to Cannon Street station, and is used by the Corporation of London to transfer waste via the river. Swan Lane Pier, just upstream of London Bridge on the City shore, is proposed to be replaced and upgraded for regular passenger services. This work is planned to take place in the period 2012-2015. Before then, Tower Pier is to be extended.[21]

Riverside walk

A public riverside walk exists along the entire shoreline of the City, having been instigated in stages in recent years, with the only remaining section not running along the river being a short stretch at Queenhithe. The walk runs along Walbrook Wharf and is only closed to pedestrians at this point when waste is being transferred onto barges.


The City has only one directly maintained primary school,[22] Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School at Aldgate[23] (ages 4 to 11). It is a Voluntary-Aided (VA) Church of England school, maintained by the Education Service of the City of London.

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

The City controls three very well regarded independent schools, City of London School (a boys school) and City of London School for Girls (girls) which are in the City itself, and the City of London Freemen's School (co-educational day and boarding) which is in Ashtead, Surrey. The City of London School for Girls has its own preparatory department for entrance at age seven. It is also the principal sponsor of the City of London Academy which is based in Southwark.

The City is also home to the renowned Cass Business School, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and parts of three of the universities in London: The Maughan Library of King's College London's Strand Campus, and the business school of London Metropolitan University. A third business school in the City is a campus of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business at Ropemaker Place. The College of Law has its London campus in Moorgate.

Public libraries

Libraries operated by the City of London include Barbican Library, Camomile Street Library, City Business Library, Guildhall Library, and Shoe Lane Library.[24]


Finsbury Circus, the largest public open space in the City, as seen from Tower 42.
Aerial view with 30 St Mary Axe and Tower 42 in the background. Also seen are the Willis Building, Aviva Tower, 99 Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street Station and the Stock Exchange Tower. At the bottom is the Broadgate Tower, the latest skyscraper to be built in the City.

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 which are 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 one belonging to the church of St Olave Hart Street, to water features and artwork found in some of the courtyards and pedestrianised lanes.[25]

Gardens include:

Additionally there are a number of private gardens and open spaces, found often within courtyards of the larger commercial developments. Two of the largest private gardens are those of the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court, in the far southwest of the City.

The Thames and its riverside walks are increasingly being valued as open space for the City and in recent years efforts have been made to increase the ability for pedestrians to access and walk along the river.

Policing and security

The City has its own territorial police force, the City of London Police, which is a separate organisation to the Metropolitan Police Service which covers the rest of Greater London. The City Police have three police stations, located at Snow Hill, Wood Street and Bishopsgate, and has 813 police officers, 85 Special Constables and 48 PCSOs. Covering just the City of London, it is the smallest territorial police force in England and Wales, both in terms of geographic area and the number of police officers.

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 also have a 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 of London), 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 the Brunswick Star, which is used on most other police helmets in England and Wales.

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,[26] has resulted in it becoming a target for political violence. The Provisional IRA exploded several bombs in the City in the early 1990s, including the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing.

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

London Fire Brigade

Dowgate fire station

The City has fire risks in many places, including St Paul’s Cathedral, The Old Bailey, Mansion House, Smithfield Market, the Bank of England, the Guildhall, Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest Tower) and 30 St. Mary Axe (The Gherkin). There is one fire station within the City, at Dowgate, with one pumping appliance.[27] The City relies upon stations in the surrounding London boroughs to support it at some incidents. Within the City 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.[27] There were 1,814 incidents attended in the City in 2006/2007 - the lowest in Greater London amongst the 32 London boroughs. No one has died in an event arising from a fire in the City in the last four years prior to 2007.[27]

Tallest buildings

File:The City Of London.jpg
The City of London's core skyline, as seen from the south, in December 2009. The Heron Tower is seen under construction
30 St Mary Axe, nicknamed "the Gherkin"

A growing number of tall buildings and skyscrapers exist in the City, principally for use by the financial sector. Almost all are situated in the eastern side of the Square Mile, in what is the City's financial core. The Barbican Estate, in the north of the City, has three tall residential towers and another ("The Heron"/Milton Court, 112m) is under construction close by. The twelve tallest buildings (those taller than 100m) in the City are:

Rank Name Built Use Height Floors Location
metres feet
1 Heron Tower (under construction) 2011 Office 198 (As of February 2010) 650 47 110 Bishopsgate
2 Tower 42 1980 Office 183 600 42 25 Old Broad Street
3 30 St Mary Axe ("The Gherkin") 2003 Office 180 590 40 30 St Mary Axe
4 Broadgate Tower 2008 Office 164 538 35 201 Bishopsgate
5 CityPoint 1967 Office 127 417 36 Ropemaker Street
6 Cromwell Tower 1973 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
7 Lauderdale Tower 1974 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
8 Shakespeare Tower 1976 Residential 123 404 42 Barbican Estate
9 Willis Building 2007 Office 125 410 26 51 Lime Street
10 Aviva Tower 1969 Office 118 387 28 Undershaft, St Mary Axe
11 99 Bishopsgate 1976 Office 104 340 26 99 Bishopsgate
12 Stock Exchange Tower 1970 Office 103 339 27 125 Old Broad Street

Additionally, St Paul's Cathedral is 111m high.

Buildings over 150 metres either under construction or proposed:

Name Height Floors Location Status
metres feet
The Pinnacle ("Helter Skelter") 288 945 63 22-24 Bishopsgate Under construction
The Leadenhall Building ("Cheesegrater") 225 737 48 122 Leadenhall Street Approved; Site Cleared; On hold
Heron Tower 202 662 47 110 Bishopsgate Near completion
100 Bishopsgate 165 542 39 100 Bishopsgate Approved; On hold
20 Fenchurch Street ("Walkie Talkie") 160 525 39 20 Fenchurch Street Approved; Site Cleared; On hold


  1. ^ "City of London Resident Population Census 2001" (PDF). Corporation of London. 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. ^ Z/Yen Limited (2005). "The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-09-17.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and Its People. Silver, Burdett. p. 24. 
  4. ^ The City and London Borough Boundaries Order 1993
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Vince, Alan, Saxon London: An Archaeological Investigation, The Archaeology of London series (1990).
  7. ^ Churches of the City of London
  8. ^ "Contact BT." BT Group. Retrieved on 8 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Boundary Map." City of London. Retrieved on 8 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Unilever registered offices." Unilever. Retrieved on 5 March 2010.
  11. ^ Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section City of London wards
  12. ^ Barry One Off The Wards, or Aldermanries, in the Square Mile
  13. ^ Corporation of London Ward Boundary Review (2010)
  14. ^ Association for Geographic Information What place is that then? (PDF)
  15. ^ 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"
  16. ^ Middle Temple as a local authority
  17. ^ HMSO City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002 (2002 Chapter vi)
  18. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 25 May 2006. col. 91WS–92WS. 
  19. ^ Port Health Authority
  20. ^ City of London
  21. ^ River Thames Pier Plan
  22. ^ Schools
  23. ^ Primary schools
  24. ^ "City of London libraries." City of London. Retrieved on 13 January 2009.
  25. ^ Gardens of the City of London
  26. ^ Key facts
  27. ^ a b c London Fire Brigade - City of London Profile

External links

Official websites
Geographical information
Local information


Coordinates: 51°30′56″N 0°05′32″W / 51.5155°N 0.0922°W / 51.5155; -0.0922