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The City of London

The City of London

The City of London is both a county and a city within central London. It has existed since the first century AD when Romans settled down there in 50 AD. The city’s design was based on the original Roman city of `Londinium’, hence the name ‘London’. It has always been a small section of the Central London metropolis. It is one among the two districts that hold the status of `city’; the other district is the adjacent City of Westminster.

City Attractions

  • Museums

    • St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum

    • Museum of London

    • Museum of London Docklands

    • Bank of England Museum

    • Dr Johnson’s House

    • City of London Police Museum

    • The Clockmakers’ Museum

  • Barbican Centre

  • St Paul’s Cathedral

  • Tower Bridge

  • Tower of London

  • Billingsgate Roman House & Baths

  • Monument

  • City of London Distillery

  • Guildhall Galleries

  • Guildhall Great Hall – where royalty and state visitors have been entertained down the centuries

  • Bevis Marks Synagogue – the oldest synagogue in Great Britain

  • Bridewell Theatre

  • Bishopsgate Institute

  • Spitalfields Festival

Visitors to the City of London could take the guided tours, while those who prefer to walk will also find self-guided walk tours in this city. Visitors could also opt for bus rides with tour companies operating bus services using open-top double-decker sightseeing tour buses that allow passengers to hop on and hop off anytime and anywhere.

Leisure

The City of London does not have large parks within its boundaries but it does offer a vast number of gardens with plenty of open spaces. They range from formal gardens like the one in Finsbury Circus to churchyards like the one at Olave Hart Street. There are artworks in courtyards and water features in lanes that have been restricted only to pedestrians. Other famous gardens are Cleary Garden at Queen Victoria Street and Jubilee Garden at Houndsditch.

Square Mile

City of London is generally referred to as the `City’ and it is distinct from London Metropolis. Also known as the `Square Mile’, the City of London is only 1.12 square miles in diameter. As small as it is, the majority of United Kingdom’s financial and trading services industries are based in the City of London – this square mile. The name `London’ is commonly used for a far greater area than what is covered by the City of London. It denotes the expanding metropolis and its thirty three boroughs. The wider usage of the term `London’ goes back to 1888 when the London County was created. Throughout the nineteenth century, the City of London was the most important business centre in the world.

The insurance industry is primarily concentrated around the eastern part of the City, exemplified by the famous Lloyd’s Building; another financial district is located outside of this City at Canary Wharf, which is about two and a half miles to the east. Legal firms make up a large component of the western and the northern sides of this City, particularly in the Chancery Lane and the Temple areas where the Inns of Court are situated. The Middle Temple and the Inner Temple fall within the perimeter of the boundary of the City of London.

Landmarks in the Square Mile

  • Stock Exchange – Old Broad Street

  • Lloyd’s of London – Leadenhall Street

  • The Gherkin – 30 St Mary Axe

  • Tower 42 – formerly NatWest Tower – Old Broad Street

  • The London Underwriting Centre – 3 Minster Court

  • Heron Tower – 110 Bishopsgate

Administration

Governed by the City of London Corporation, the city is led by the Lord Mayor of London. This body is responsible for several functions and holds interests in the land, extending beyond the boundaries of the city. The City of London Corporation has two council bodies unlike the other local English authorities. These council bodies are the Court of Common Council and the Court of Aldermen. The latter represents wards, with each ward returning one Alderman. The Town Clerk of London holds the office of the chief executive of this ancient Corporation.

In reality, the City of London is a ceremonial county. It has a Commission of Lieutenancy which is led by the Lord Mayor. It has two Sheriffs and quasi-judicial offices that are appointed by the Livery Companies. This is an old political system that is based on the protection and representation of trades known as Guilds. The senior members of these Livery Companies are referred to as Liverymen. They form the Common Hall which selects the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and all other officers.

The Queen has to take permission to enter the City of London. Though Head of State for the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, the Queen is not allowed to enter the Square Mile without obtaining permission from the Lord Mayor who is the head of the city. The citizens of the City of London through the City’s Corporation have retained the ancient privilege of barring the Sovereign from entering their lanes and streets. The City of London Corporation remains unique in the United Kingdom and has some very unusual responsibilities for local councils; it also has its own police authority.