City of London

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"Square Mile" redirects here. For other meanings, see Square mile (disambiguation).
City of London
Shown within Greater London
Status sui generis, City and Ceremonial County
— Total
Ranked 354th
1.0 sq mi; 2.6 km²
ONS code 00AA
Admin HQ Guildhall
— Total (2005 est.)
Ranked 353rd (of 354)
3,172 / km²
Ethnicity 84.6% White
6.8% South Asian
2.6% Afro-Caribbean
2.0% Chinese
Leadership See text
Mayor John Stuttard
MPs Mark Field
London Assembly
— Member
City and East London
John Biggs
Coat of Arms
Official website

The City of London is a geographically-small City within Greater London, England. The City of London is the historic core of London from which, along with Westminster, the modern conurbation grew. The City's boundaries have remained constant since the Middle Ages, and hence it is now only a tiny part of Greater London.

The City of London is now a major financial centre, and is Europe's second largest "central business district" (CBD) and financial district. It is often referred to as just the City or as the Square Mile, as it is approximately one square mile (2.6 km²) in area; note that these terms are also often used as metonyms for the UK financial services industry, which is principally based there. In the medieval period the City was the full extent of London (as distinct from the nearby but then-separate village of Westminster), but the term London now refers to a much larger conurbation containing both 'cities'. The City of London is still part of London's city centre, but apart from financial services, most of London's metropolitan functions are centred on the West End. The City of London has a resident population of under 10,000 but a daily working population of 311,000.

The City itself has two independent enclaves within it — Inner Temple and Middle Temple. These two areas form part of the City and Ceremonial county, but are not governed by the City of London Corporation. The Corporation governs the rest of the City and also owns various open spaces (parks, forests and commons) in and around London.

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


[edit] Extent

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

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

Image:050114 2495 london city.jpg
The eastern side of the City of London viewed from St Paul's Cathedral. Canary Wharf (in the neighbouring borough of Tower Hamlets) is on the horizon.

The City of London borders the City of Westminster to the west — the border cutting through Victoria Embankment, passing to the west of Middle Temple, going east along Strand and Fleet Street, north up Chancery Lane, where it becomes instead the border with the London Borough of Camden. It continues north to Holborn, turns east, continues, and then goes northeast to Charterhouse Lane. As it crosses Farringdon Road it becomes the border with the London Borough of Islington. It continues to Aldersgate, goes north, and turns into some back streets soon after it becomes Goswell Road. It ends up on Ropemakers Lane, which as it continues east past Moorgate becomes South Place. It goes north, becomes the border with the London Borough of Hackney, then east, north, east on backstreets, meeting Norton Folgate at the border with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It continues south into Bishopsgate, and takes some backstreets to Middlesex Street where it continues south-east then south. It makes a divergence to the west at the end of Middlesex Street to allow the Tower of London to be in Tower Hamlets, and then reaches the river. The boundaries of the City are marked by black bollards bearing the City's emblem. (boundary map). In some places the financial district extends slightly beyond the political boundaries of the City to the north and east, into the 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 relatively easy availability of large sites there compared to within the City itself.

Since 1991 Canary Wharf a few miles east of the City Boundary within Tower Hamlets has become a second centre for London's financial services industry and now houses a number of 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 predicted in both locations. Indeed 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 strategically important companies such as HSBC from relocating abroad.

The City of London is England's smallest ceremonial county by both population and area covered and is the second smallest British city in both population and size, after St David's in Wales.

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

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

[edit] History

Main article: History of London.
Coat of arms of the City of London as shown on Blackfriars station. The Latin motto reads Domine Dirige Nos, "God (Lord), lead us". 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 it is the symbol of the martyrdom of Saint Paul, London's patron saint.
Image:London Dragon.jpg
Dragon, symbol of London (commonly believed to be a griffin)
Three of the tall buildings of the City of London, seen across Waterloo Bridge: St Paul's Cathedral, Tower 42 and The Swiss Re Tower.
Image:51limestreet june2006.jpg
Part of the skyline viewed from the South Bank.
Image:City of London at night.jpg
The City of London by night, viewed from Tower Bridge.

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

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

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

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

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

The City 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 20th century as many houses were demolished to make way for office blocks. This trend has now been reversed as the Corporation is encouraging residential use, although the resident population is not expected to go much above ten thousand people. Some of the extra accommodation is in small pre World War II commercial buildings which are not suitable for occupation by the large companies which now provide much of the City's employment. The largest residential section of the City is the Barbican Estate.

Year Population
1700 208,000 (of which 139,000 within the walls) (estimates)
1750 144,000 (of which 87,000 within the walls) (estimates)
1801 128,129 (census figure)
1841 123,563 (census figure)
1881 50,569 (census figure)
1901 26,846 (census figure)
1911 19,657 (census figure)
1921 13,709 (census figure)
1931 10,999 (census figure)
1951 5,324 (census figure)
1961 4,767 (census figure)
1971 4,234 (census figure)
1981 6,700 (mid-year estimate)1
1991 5,400 (mid-year estimate)
2001 7,400 (mid-year estimate)
2004 8,600 (mid-year estimate)
2005 9,200 (mid-year estimate)
1. figure not strictly comparable with the 1971 figure

Since the 1990s, the City has diversified away from near exclusive office use in some other ways as well. For example, several hotels have opened and also the City's first department store. However, large sections of it remain very quiet at weekends, and it is quite common to find pubs and cafes closed on these days.

[edit] Financial industry

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[edit] Local government

see also City of London Corporation

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.

It is administered by the City of London Corporation, headed by the Lord Mayor of London (not the same post as the more recent London Mayor, who presides over Greater London). The City is a ceremonial county too, although instead of having its own Lord-Lieutenant, the City of London has a Commission, headed by the Lord Mayor, exercising this function.

[edit] Elections

The City has a unique electoral system, which follows very few of the usual forms and standards of democracy. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies which occupy premises in the City. Its ancient wards also have very unequal numbers of voters.

The principal justification put forward for the non-resident vote is that approximately 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 and was retained only in the City of London.

A Private Act in 2003 <ref>HMSO City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002 (2002 Chapter vi)</ref> 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 fifty people may appoint one voter for every five employees; those employing more than fifty people may appoint ten voters and one additional voter for each fifty employees beyond the first fifty.

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

[edit] Proposals for further change

The present system is widely seen as undemocratic[citation needed], but adopting a more conventional system would place the 9,200 actual residents of the City of London in control of the local planning and other functions of a major financial capital which provides most of its services to hundreds of thousands of non-residents.

Image:London skyline 2012 large.jpg
Artist's rendering of London's skyline in 2012

Proposals to annex the City of London to one of the neighbouring London boroughs, possibly the City of Westminster, have not widely been taken seriously. However, one proposal floated as a possible further 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 of London elections at a later date, probably after 2009, in order to assess how the new system has bedded down<ref>Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 25 May 2006, columns 91WS-92WS</ref>.

[edit] Other functions

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

The City of London houses one hospital - St Bartholomew's Hospital. Founded in 1123 and fondly known as 'Barts', the hospital is situated at Smithfield, London, and is about to undergo a much publicised, controversial but long awaited regeneration.

The City is a major patron of the arts. It oversees the Barbican Centre and subsidizes several important performing arts companies. It also takes an interest in open spaces outside its boundaries: see Corporation of London open spaces.

[edit] Education

The City of London has only one directly-maintained primary school [1]. The school is called the Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School [2] (ages 4 to 11). The school is the only voluntary-aided Church of England primary school in the City of London. The school is maintained by the Education Service of the City of London.

City of London residents may send their children to schools in neighbouring Local Education Authorities (LEAs).

For secondary schools children enroll in schools in neighbouring LEAs, such as Islington, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Southwark. Children who have permanent residence in the city of London are eligible for transfer to the City of London Academy, an independent secondary school sponsored by the City of London that is located in Southwark.

The City of London controls three other independent schoolsCity of London School (all male), City of London School for Girls (all female) and City of London Freemen's School (co-educational).

Image:Norton folgate.jpg
The City of London viewed from Norton Folgate.

[edit] Security

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<ref></ref>, has resulted in it becoming a terrorist target. The Provisional IRA exploded several bombs in the City in the early 1990s.

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.

See also City of London's "Ring of Steel" for measures that have been taken against these threats.

[edit] The City in numbers

  • A workforce of 1,043,000 in 2004, of which 311,000 in the City and 732,000 in the City Fringe
  • Office stock of 7,740,000 m² at the beginning of 2005
  • Retail floor space of 505,283 m² in 2005
  • 1,766 retail units in 2005
  • 256 pubs and wine bars in 2005
  • 311 restaurants in 2005
  • Resident population of 7,185 at the 2001 census
  • 290 hectares of land area
  • Open space of 11% of land area
  • £2,966,000,000,000 of funds under management in 2004
  • £1,464,000,000,000 of pension fund assets under management in 2004
  • 264 foreign banks as of the end of 2004
  • 11,935 companies registered in the City at the end of 2004
  • 50% of the world's shipping brokered
  • $753 billion foreign exchange traded every day in 2005
  • 19% of international bank lending
  • 43% global share of the over-the-counter derivatives market in 2004
  • 70% of all Eurobonds traded
  • 23% share of the world aviation insurance market
  • 31% share of the global foreign exchange market
  • 99% of euribor contract market
  • 90% global share of metal trading
  • 22% of world maritime insurance
  • £153 bio of worldwide insurance premium income in 2004
  • 43% of the global foreign equity market in 2005
  • 51 monuments
  • £92 m subsidy to art in the City in 2005
  • 7 mainline railway stations
  • 13 tube stations
  • 53 bus routes
  • 93% of all employees come to work by public transport

[edit] References


[edit] External links

Official websites
General city information
Maps, photos, and other images
  • City of London Corporation: Ward boundary maps
  • Street map — the boundary is shown in mauve-grey, and is easiest to pick up in the river. Click the arrow on the left for the western and northern most parts of the City of London.

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