The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough that also holds city status. It occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End. Historically in Middlesex, it is to the west of the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary is the River Thames. The London borough was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon its creation, it inherited the city status previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster from 1900, which was first awarded to Westminster in 1540.
Aside from a number of large parks and open spaces, the population density of the district is high. Many sites commonly associated with London are in the borough, including St. James's Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and 10 Downing Street. The borough is divided into a number of localities including the ancient political district of Westminster; the shopping areas around Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Bond Street; and the night-time entertainment district of Soho. Much of the borough is residential, and in 2008 it was estimated to have a population of 236,000. The local government body is Westminster City Council.
A study in 2017 by Trust for London and The New Policy Institute found that Westminster has the third-highest pay inequality of the 32 London boroughs. It also has the second-least affordable private rent for low earners in London, behind only Kensington and Chelsea. The borough performs more positively on education, with 82% of adults and 69% of 19-year-olds having Level 3 qualifications.
Seen from the south bank of the Thames in August 2013
Westminster shown within Greater London
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Created||1 April 1965|
|Admin HQ||City Hall, Victoria Street|
|• Type||London borough council|
|• Body||Westminster City Council|
|• Leadership||Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)|
|• Lord Mayor||Lindsey Hall|
|• London Assembly||Tony Devenish (Con) AM for West Central|
|• MPs||Karen Buck (Lab), Mark Field (Con)|
|• EU Parliament||London|
|• Total||21.48 km2 (8.29 sq mi)|
|Area rank||318th (of 326)|
|• Rank||68th (of 326)|
|• Density||11,000/km2 (30,000/sq mi)|
|• Ethnicity||35.2% White British|
2.3% White Irish
|Time zone||UTC (GMT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
The current Westminster coat of arms were given to the city by an official grant on 2 September 1964.
Westminster had other arms before, which had a chief identical to the chief in the present arms. The symbols in the lower two thirds of the shield stand for former municipalities now merged with the city, Paddington and St. Marylebone. The original arms had a portcullis as the main charge, which now forms the crest.
The origins of the City of Westminster pre-date the Norman Conquest of England. In the mid-11th century, King Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, only the foundations of which survive today. Between the abbey and the river he built a palace, thereby guaranteeing that the seat of Government would be fixed at Westminster, and inevitably drawing power and wealth west out of the old City of London.
For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct. It was not until the sixteenth century that houses began to be built over the adjoining fields, eventually absorbing nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that exists today.
Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries abolished the abbey at Westminster, although the former abbey church is still called Westminster Abbey. The church was briefly the cathedral of the Diocese of Westminster created from part of the Diocese of London in 1540, by letters patent which also granted city status to Westminster, a status retained after the diocese was abolished in 1550. The Westminster Court of Burgesses was formed in 1585 to govern the Westminster area, previously under the Abbey's control. The City and Liberties of Westminster were further defined by Letters Patent in 1604, and the court of burgesses and liberty continued in existence until 1900, and the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster.
The present-day City of Westminster as an administrative entity with its present boundaries dates from 1965, when the City of Westminster was created from the former area of three metropolitan boroughs: St Marylebone, Paddington, and the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, which included Soho, Mayfair, St. James's, Strand, Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia, and Hyde Park. This restructuring took place under the London Government Act 1963, which significantly reduced the number of local government districts in London, resulting in local authorities responsible for larger geographical areas and greater populations.
The Westminster Metropolitan Borough was itself the result of an administrative amalgamation which took place in 1900. Sir John Hunt O.B.E was the First Town Clerk of the City of Westminster, 1900–1928.
Prior to 1900, the area occupied by what would become the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster 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 boundaries of the City of Westminster today, as well as those of the other London boroughs, have remained more or less unchanged since the Act of 1963.
|Source: A Vision of Britain through time, citing Census population|
The following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2001 and 2011 census in Westminster.
|White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller||76||0.03%|
|Asian or Asian British: Indian||5,665||3.12%||7,213||3.29%|
|Asian or Asian British: Pakistani||1,828||1.01%||2,328||1.06%|
|Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi||5,000||2.76%||6,299||2.87%|
|Asian or Asian British: Chinese||4,077||2.25%||5,917||2.70%|
|Asian or Asian British: Other Asian||3,614||1.99%||10,105||4.61%|
|Asian or Asian British: Total||20,184||11.13%||31,862||14.52%|
|Black or Black British: Caribbean||5,613||3.10%||4,449||2.03%|
|Black or Black British: African||6,678||3.68%||9,141||4.17%|
|Black or Black British: Other Black||1,190||0.66%||2,882||1.31%|
|Black or Black British: Total||13,481||7.44%||16,472||7.51%|
|Mixed: White and Black Caribbean||1,382||0.76%||1,869||0.85%|
|Mixed: White and Black African||1,204||0.66%||1,927||0.89%|
|Mixed: White and Asian||2,436||1.34%||3,584||1.63%|
|Mixed: Other Mixed||2,458||1.36%||4,015||1.83%|
|Other: Any other ethnic group||8,613||3.93%|
|Black, Asian, and minority ethnic: Total||48,571||26.79%||84,066||38.32%|
|Religion not stated||15,877||8.76%||20,519||9.35%|
A Lord Mayor is elected annually to serve as the official representative of the city for one year. See List of Lord Mayors of Westminster for a list of former Mayors (1900–1965) and Lord Mayors (1965 to date).
|Evolution of Parliamentary representation|
|St Marylebone||Westminster North||Regent's Park and Kensington North||Westminster North|
|Paddington South||Cities of London and Westminster|
|Westminster St George's||Cities of London and Westminster||Cities of London and Westminster|
|City of London|
The City of Westminster covers all or part of the following areas of London:
The City of Westminster is home to a large number of companies. Many leading global corporations have chosen to establish their global or European headquarters in the City of Westminster. Mayfair and St. James's within the City of Westminster also have a large concentration of hedge fund and private equity funds. The West End is known as the Theatre District and is home to many of the leading performing arts businesses. Soho and its adjoining areas house a concentration of media and creative companies. Oxford Street is one of the leading shopping destinations in the world. The list of companies includes
Companies that previously had their head offices in the City of Westminster include Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), British Aircraft Corporation, British Midland (Portland House), British United Airways, British Mediterranean Airways, Cadbury, Diageo, BAA Limited, Lloyd International Airways, and P&O Princess Cruises. In addition, Iran Air previously had its Piccadilly main sales office in the city.
These include Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park and St. James's Park. In addition to parks and open spaces within the borough, the City owns and maintains East Finchley Cemetery and crematorium in the London Borough of Barnet.
Stations include: London Charing Cross serving the South Eastern Main Line via southeast London and Kent; London Marylebone serving the Chiltern Main Line via northwest London, the West Midlands and Birmingham; London Paddington serving the Great Western Main Line via southwest England, Wales and Heathrow Airport; London Victoria serving the Brighton Main Line and the Chatham Main Line.
The City of Westminster is served by 27 London Underground stations and 10 lines.
By 2009 Westminster City Council had electric vehicle charging points in 15 locations through the city (13 car parks and two on-street points). Users pay an annual fee to cover administration costs to register and use the points. By 2018 there were 60 electric vehicle charging locations.
In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: underground, metro, light rail, tram, 21.0% of all residents aged 16–74; on foot, 9.3%; bus, minibus or coach, 9.3%; driving a car or van, 6.0%; work mainly at or from home, 5.5%; bicycle, 3.1%; train, 3.0%.
Westminster Children's Services administers many primary and secondary schools. In addition, there are several state-funded faith schools, primarily Church of England (CE), and Roman Catholic (RC), but Christian non-denominational (ND) schools are also in the borough, and there are several non-profit-making junior and senior independent schools.
The city operates two reference libraries; Westminster Reference Library and Marylebone Information Service. Westminster Reference Library holds several special collections: of which the Sherlock Holmes, Arts and Business collections are the most comprehensive. In addition to the collections in Westminster Reference Library the city has two specialist libraries: the Westminster Music Library, the largest music library in the UK and the Westminster Chinese Library in the Charing Cross Library.
Free City of Westminster operated public lending libraries in Westminster include:
In terms of tenure, the borough ranks highest on one standard criteria in analysing housing supply and demand, the proportion of private rented accommodation relative to other types of housing in England. This is indicative of a high density of development and higher investment demand relative to other districts in England and most of the 15 highest-ranking local authorities are boroughs of Greater London. Tourism also increases the proportion of willing third-party landlords, as the two authorities which are outside London in the list are England's largest south coast holiday resorts.
Abbey Road is a thoroughfare in the borough of Camden and the City of Westminster in London, running roughly northwest to southeast through St. John's Wood, near Lord's Cricket Ground. It is part of the B507 road. This road is best known for the Abbey Road Studios and the 1969 album, Abbey Road, by The Beatles.British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA ) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image (film, television and games) in the United Kingdom. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States.Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace (UK: ) is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House. The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring.Clarence House
Clarence House is a royal residence on The Mall in the City of Westminster, London. It is attached to St James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. From 1953 until 2002 it was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It has since been the official residence of Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Clarence House was also the official residence of Prince William from 2003 until April 2011 and of Prince Harry from 2003 until 2012. It is open to visitors for approximately one month each summer, usually August.
The four-storey house is faced in pale stucco. Over the years, it has undergone extensive remodelling and reconstruction, most notably after the Second World War, and little remains of the original structure as designed by John Nash.
Since 2003, the term 'Clarence House' has been used as a metonym for the Prince of Wales's private office. (The term "St James's Palace" had been used previously.) It is Grade I listed on the National Heritage List for England.Drury Lane
Drury Lane is a street on the eastern boundary of the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn. The northern part is in the borough of Camden and the southern part in the City of Westminster.List of London Underground stations
The London Underground is a metro system in the United Kingdom that serves Greater London and the home counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. Its first section opened in 1863, making it the oldest underground metro system in the world – although in fact approximately 55% of the current network is above ground, as it generally runs on the surface in outlying suburbs.
The system comprises eleven lines – Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City – serving 270 stations. It is operated by Transport for London (TfL).
Most of the system is north of the River Thames, with six London boroughs in the south of the city not served by the Underground. The London Borough of Hackney, to the north, has two stations on its border. Some stations at the north-eastern end of the Central line are in the Epping Forest district of Essex and some stations at the north-western end of the Metropolitan line are in the Three Rivers and Watford districts of Hertfordshire and the Chiltern district of Buckinghamshire.
There are two instances where two separate stations share the same name: there is one Edgware Road station on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines and another Edgware Road on the Bakerloo line, and there is one Hammersmith station on the District and Piccadilly lines and another Hammersmith station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. Although the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines station at Paddington is on the other side of the main line station to the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines station, it is shown as a single station on the current Tube map. It has been shown as two separate stations at different times in the past.
TfL plans to open six new stations by 2020 as a result of extensions to the Metropolitan and Northern lines. One Metropolitan line station, Watford, will close due to its branch being diverted onto a new route. Two of the planned Metropolitan line stations, Watford High Street and Watford Junction, are currently served by London Overground.List of districts in the City of Westminster
This is a list of districts in the City of Westminster. Much of Westminster is part of the West End of London and it is also the location of the Theatreland area of West End theatres. Westminster is an amalgamation of three former boroughs.List of public art in the City of Westminster
There are more than 400 public artworks in the City of Westminster, a borough in central London. The borough has more public sculpture than any other area of London. This reflects its central location containing most of the West End, the political centres of Westminster and Whitehall and three of the Royal Parks (Green Park, Hyde Park and St James's Park, with parts also of Regent's Park and Kensington Gardens). Many of the most notable sites for commemoration in London are to be found in the City of Westminster, including Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and the Victoria Embankment. Other monuments of note in the borough include the Albert Memorial and the Victoria Memorial. After World War I many memorials to that conflict were raised in the area, the most significant being the Grade I-listed Cenotaph in Whitehall. So great is the number of monuments in the borough that Westminster City Council has deemed an area stretching from Whitehall to St James's to be a "monument saturation zone", where the addition of new memorials is generally discouraged. The same restriction applies in Royal Parks within the borough.London Palladium
The London Palladium () is a 2,286-seat Grade II* West End theatre located on Argyll Street in the City of Westminster. From the roster of stars who have played there and many televised performances, it is arguably the most famous theatre in London and the United Kingdom, especially for musical variety shows. The theatre has also hosted the Royal Variety Performance a record 42 times, most recently in 2018.Lord's
Lord's Cricket Ground, commonly known simply as Lord's, is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the European Cricket Council (ECC) and, until August 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC). Lord's is widely referred to as the Home of Cricket and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum.Lord's today is not on its original site, being the third of three grounds that Lord established between 1787 and 1814. His first ground, now referred to as Lord's Old Ground, was where Dorset Square now stands. His second ground, Lord's Middle Ground, was used from 1811 to 1813 before being abandoned to make way for the construction through its outfield of the Regent's Canal. The present Lord's ground is about 250 yards (230 m) north-west of the site of the Middle Ground. The ground can hold 28,000 spectators. Proposals are being developed to increase capacity and amenity. As of December 2013, it was proposed to redevelop the ground at a cost of around £200 million over a 14-year period.The current ground celebrated its two hundredth anniversary in 2014. To mark the occasion, on 5 July an MCC XI captained by Sachin Tendulkar played a Rest of the World XI led by Shane Warne in a 50 overs match.Marble Arch
Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch in London, England. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near the site of what is today the three-bayed, central projection of the palace containing the well known balcony. In 1851 on the initiative of architect and urban planner, Decimus Burton, one time pupil of John Nash, it was relocated and following the widening of Park Lane in the early 1960s to where it is now sited, incongruently isolated, on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road. Admiralty Arch, Holyhead in Wales is a similar arch, even more so cut off from public access, at the other end of the A5.
Historically, only members of the Royal Family and the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery are permitted to pass through the arch; this happens only in ceremonial processions.The arch gives its name to the area surrounding it, particularly the southern portion of Edgware Road and also to the underground station. The arch is not part of the Royal Parks and is local authority maintained.Marlborough House
Marlborough House, a Grade I listed mansion in St James's (City of Westminster, Inner London), is the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Nations and the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It was built for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the favourite and confidante of Queen Anne. For over a century it served as the London residence of the Dukes of Marlborough.St James's Palace
St James's Palace is the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, although no longer the principal residence of the monarch, it is the ceremonial meeting place of the Accession Council and the London residence of several minor members of the royal family.
Built by King Henry VIII on the site of a leper hospital dedicated to Saint James the Less, the palace was secondary in importance to the Palace of Whitehall for most Tudor and Stuart monarchs. The palace increased in importance during the reigns of the early Georgian monarchy, but was displaced by Buckingham Palace in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. After decades of being used increasingly for only formal occasions, the move was formalised by Queen Victoria in 1837. Today the palace houses a number of official offices, societies and collections and all ambassadors and high commissioners to the United Kingdom are still accredited to the Court of St James's.
Mainly built between 1531 and 1536 in red-brick, the palace's architecture is primarily Tudor in style. A fire in 1809 destroyed parts of the structure, including the monarch's private apartments, which were never replaced. Some 17th-century interiors survive, but most were remodelled in the 19th century.Victoria Coach Station
Victoria Coach Station is the largest coach station in London, located in the central district of Victoria in the City of Westminster. It serves as a terminus for many medium- and long-distance coach services in the United Kingdom, and is also the departure point for many countryside coach tours originating from London. It is operated by Victoria Coach Station Limited, a subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL).It should not be confused with the nearby Green Line Coach Station for Green Line Coaches, or with Victoria bus station which serves London Buses operated by TfL.Westminster
Westminster is an area of central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Historically the area lay within St Margaret's parish, City & Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex.
The name Westminster (Old English: Westmynstre) originated from the informal description of the abbey church and royal peculiar of St Peter's (Westminster Abbey), literally West of the City of London (indeed, until the Reformation there was a reference to the 'East Minster' at Minories (Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate) east of the City). The abbey was part of the royal palace that had been created here by Edward the Confessor. It has been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government continuously since about 1200 (High Middle Ages' Plantagenet times), and from 1707 the British Government — formally titled Her Majesty's Government.
In a government context, Westminster often refers to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Palace of Westminster — also known as the Houses of Parliament. The closest tube stations are Westminster and St James's Park, on the Jubilee, Circle, and District lines.
The area is the centre of Her Majesty's Government, with Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and most of the major Government ministries known as Whitehall, itself the site of the royal palace that replaced that at Westminster.
Within the area is Westminster School, a major public school which grew out of the Abbey, and the University of Westminster, attended by over 20,000 students. Bounding Westminster to the north is Green Park, a Royal Park of London.Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.
According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island)) in the seventh century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III.Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been in Westminster Abbey. There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100. As the burial site of more than 3,300 persons, usually of predominant prominence in British history (including at least sixteen monarchs, eight Prime Ministers, poet laureates, actors, scientists, and military leaders, and the Unknown Warrior), Westminster Abbey is sometimes described as 'Britain's Valhalla', after the iconic burial hall of Norse mythology.Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral (Welsh: Eisteddfod Gadeiriol Westminster), or the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in London is the mother church of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
The site on which the cathedral stands in the City of Westminster was purchased by the Diocese of Westminster in 1885, and construction was completed in 1903. Westminster Cathedral is the largest Catholic church building in England and Wales and the seat of the Archbishop of Westminster.
It was designed by John Francis Bentley in a neo-Byzantine style, and is accordingly made almost entirely of brick, without steel reinforcements. John Betjeman has called it "a masterpiece in striped brick and stone" and said that it shows that "the good craftsman has no need of steel or concrete."Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council and is entitled to be known as a city council, which is a rare distinction in the United Kingdom. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The council is currently composed of 41 Conservative Party members and 19 Labour Party members. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced three local authorities: Paddington Metropolitan Borough Council, St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Council and Westminster Borough Council. The present-day city council provides some shared services with Hammersmith and Fulham, and with Kensington and Chelsea.