Greater London is a ceremonial county of England that is located within the London region. This region forms the administrative boundaries of London and is organised into 33 local government districts—the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, which is located within the region but is separate from the county. The Greater London Authority, based in Southwark, is responsible for strategic local government across the region and consists of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The City of London Corporation is the principal local authority for the City of London, with a similar role to that of the 32 London borough councils.
Administratively, Greater London was first established as a sui generis council area under the Greater London Council between 1963 and 1986. The county of Greater London was created on 1 April 1965 through the London Government Act 1963. The area was re-established as a region in 1994. The Greater London Authority was formed in 2000.
The region covers 1,572 km2 (607 sq mi) and had a population of 8,174,000 at the 2011 census. The Greater London Built-up Area is used in some national statistics and is a measure of the continuous urban area and includes areas outside the administrative region.
|County and region|
London region (red and red & white stripes)
Greater London county (red)
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Established||1 April 1965|
|Established by||London Government Act 1963|
|Lord Lieutenant||Ken Olisa|
|High Sheriff||Iqbal Wahhab, OBE (2019–20)|
|Area||1,569 km2 (606 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||25th of 48|
|Population (mid-2017 est.)||8,817,300|
|• Ranked||1st of 48|
|Density||5,618/km2 (14,550/sq mi)|
|Ethnicity||59.8% White (of which 44.9% White British) |
|Government||Greater London Authority|
• Mayor Sadiq Khan
• London Assembly
|Area||1,572 km2 (607 sq mi)|
|Population||8,546,761 (mid-2014 estimate)|
|Density||5,437/km2 (14,080/sq mi)|
Counties of the London region
|Members of Parliament||73 MPs|
|Police||City of London Police and Metropolitan Police|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
The term Greater London has been and still is used to describe different areas in governance, statistics, history and common parlance.
In terms of ceremonial counties, London is divided into the small City of London and the much wider Greater London. This arrangement has come about because as the area of London grew and absorbed neighbouring settlements, a series of administrative reforms did not amalgamate the City of London with the surrounding metropolitan area, and its unique political structure was retained. Outside the limited boundaries of the City, a variety of arrangements has governed the wider area since 1855, culminating in the creation of the Greater London administrative area in 1965.
The term Greater London was used well before 1965, particularly to refer to the Metropolitan Police District (such as in the 1901 census), the area of the Metropolitan Water Board (favoured by the London County Council for statistics), the London Passenger Transport Area and the area defined by the Registrar General as the Greater London Conurbation. The Greater London Arterial Road Programme was devised between 1913 and 1916. One of the larger early forms was the Greater London Planning Region, devised in 1927, which occupied 1,856 square miles (4,810 km2) and included 9 million people.
Although the London County Council (LCC) was created covering the County of London in 1889, the county did not cover all the built-up area, particularly West Ham and East Ham, and many of the LCC housing projects, including the vast Becontree Estates, were outside its boundaries. The LCC pressed for an alteration in its boundaries soon after the end of the First World War, noting that within the Metropolitan and City Police Districts there were 122 housing authorities. A Royal Commission on London Government was set up to consider the issue. The LCC proposed a vast new area for Greater London, with a boundary somewhere between the Metropolitan Police District and the home counties. Protests were made at the possibility of including Windsor, Slough and Eton in the authority. The Commission made its report in 1923, rejecting the LCC's scheme. Two minority reports favoured change beyond the amalgamation of smaller urban districts, including both smaller borough councils and a central authority for strategic functions. The London Traffic Act 1924 was a result of the Commission. Reform of local government in the County of London and its environs was next considered by the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, chaired by Sir Edwin Herbert, which issued the 'Herbert Report' after three years of work in 1960. The commission applied three tests to decide if a community should form part of Greater London: how strong is the area as an independent centre in its own right; how strong are its ties to London; and how strongly is it drawn outwards towards the country rather than inwards towards London.
Greater London was formally created by the London Government Act 1963, which came into force on 1 April 1965, replacing the administrative counties of Middlesex and London, including the City of London, where the London County Council had limited powers, and absorbing parts of Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey. Greater London originally had a two-tier system of local government, with the Greater London Council (GLC) sharing power with the City of London Corporation (governing the small City of London) and the 32 London Borough councils. The GLC was abolished in 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985. Its functions were devolved to the City Corporation and the London Boroughs, with some functions transferred to central government and joint boards. Greater London formed the London region in 1994.
The London referendum, 1998 established a public will to recreate an upper tier of government to cover the region. The Greater London Authority, London Assembly and the directly elected Mayor of London were created in 2000 by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. In 2000, the outer boundary of the Metropolitan Police District was re-aligned to the Greater London boundary. The 2000 and 2004 mayoral elections were won by Ken Livingstone (L), who had been the final leader of the GLC. The 2008 and 2012 elections were won by Boris Johnson (C). The 2016 election was won by Sadiq Khan (L).
Greater London includes the most closely associated parts of the Greater London Urban Area and their historic buffers and includes, in five boroughs, significant parts of the Metropolitan Green Belt which protects designated greenfield land in a similar way to the city's parks. The closest and furthest boundaries are with Essex to the northeast between Sewardstonebury next to Epping Forest and Chingford and with the Mar Dyke between Bulphan and North Ockendon. Greater London is bounded by Hertfordshire to the north, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to the west, Kent to the southeast and Surrey to the south and southwest. The highest point is Westerham Heights, in the North Downs and on the boundary with Kent, at 245 metres (804 ft). Central government has implemented small boundary changes. The greatest were the 1969 transfers of Farleigh to Surrey and Knockholt to Kent. Others have included exchange of two Thames islands with Surrey and adjustments during the 1990s to parts of the boundaries of three boroughs near the M25. The only part of Greater London outside the motorway is North Ockendon, the furthest land unit from its centre. The majority of Greater London forms the London low emission zone.
The Mayor of London is a directly elected politician who, along with the London Assembly, is responsible for the strategic government of Greater London.
London is divided into 73 Parliamentary borough constituencies, formed from the combined area of several wards from one or more boroughs. Typically a borough is covered by two or three constituencies.
London is covered by a single Parliamentary constituency in the European Parliament.
The London region does not have city status granted by the Crown. The Cities of London and Westminster within it have received formal city status.[notes 1] Despite this, Greater London is commonly regarded as a city in the general senses of a conurbation and a municipality. A Lord Lieutenant of Greater London is appointed for its area, excluding the City of London. For the purposes of the Lieutenancies Act 1997, this area is defined as a county.
The term "London" usually refers to region or to the conurbation, but not often to the ancient, tiny City of London. That small area is often referred to as "the City" or "the Square Mile" and it forms the main financial district. Archaically, the urbanised area of London was known as the Metropolis. In common usage, the terms "London" and "Greater London" are usually used interchangeably. Greater London is officially divided for some purposes, with varying definitions, into Inner London and Outer London. For some strategic planning purposes it is divided into five sub-regions.
Greater London is under the strategic local governance of the Greater London Authority (GLA). It consists of an elected assembly, the London Assembly, and an executive head, the Mayor of London.
The current Mayor (not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of London) is Sadiq Khan. He is scrutinised by the elected London Assembly, which may amend his annual budget (by two-thirds majority) but otherwise lacks the power to block his directives. The headquarters of the GLA is at City Hall in Southwark. The Mayor is responsible for Greater London's strategic planning and is required to produce or amend the London Plan each electoral cycle.
Greater London is divided into 32 London Boroughs, each governed by a London Borough council. The City of London has a unique government dating back to the 12th century and is separate from the county of Greater London, although is still part of the region.
All London Borough councils belong to the London Councils association. Three London Boroughs carry the honorific title of Royal Borough: Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, and Greenwich. Within the City of London are the liberties of Middle Temple and Inner Temple.
|2011 United Kingdom Census|
|Country of birth||Population|
With increasing industrialisation, London's population grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was the most populated city in the world until overtaken by New York in 1925. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939. There were an estimated 7,753,600 official residents in mid-2009.
London's continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of Greater London and was home to an estimated 9,332,000 people in 2005, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 12 and 14 million depending on the definition of that area. According to Eurostat, London has been the most populous city and metropolitan area of the European Union.
The region covers an area of 1,579 square kilometres. The population density is 4,761 people per square kilometre, more than ten times that of any other British region. In terms of population, London is the 25th largest city and the 17th largest metropolitan region in the world. It is ranked 4th in the world in the number of US dollar billionaires residing in the city. It ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, alongside Tokyo and Moscow.
In the 2001 UK Census, 71.15% of the population classed their ethnic group as White, including White British (59.79%), White Irish (3.07%) or "Other White" (8.29%, mostly Greek-Cypriot, Italian, Polish and Portuguese). 12.09% classed themselves as British Asian, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan, Arab and other Southern Asian ethnicities). 10.91% classed themselves as Black British (around 6% as Black African, 4% as Black Caribbean, 0.84% as "Other Black"). 3.15% were of mixed race; 1.12% as Chinese; and 1.58% as other (mostly Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other "British Orientals"). 21.8% of inhabitants were born outside the European Union. Irish people, from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, number about 200,000, as do the Scots and Welsh combined.
In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that there were more than 300 languages spoken and more than 50 non-indigenous communities with a population of more than 10,000. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2006 London's foreign-born population was 2,288,000 (31%), up from 1,630,000 in 1997. The 2001 UK Census showed that 27.1% of the population were born outside the UK, and a slightly higher proportion were classed as Non-White.
In the 2011 UK Census, 59.79% of the population classed their ethnic group as White, including White British (44.89%), White Irish (2.15%) or "Other White" (12.65%, mostly Greek-Cypriot, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Colombians and Portuguese). 18.49% classed themselves as British Asian, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan, Arab and other Southern Asian ethnicities). 13.32% classed themselves as Black British (7% as Black African, 4.22% as Black Caribbean, 2.08% as "Other Black"). 4.96% were of mixed race; and 3.44% as other (mostly Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other "British Orientals").
The table shows the top 21 countries of birth of residents in 2011, the date of the last UK Census. These figures do not give a fair indication of the total population of the specific ethnic groups associated with each country. For example, Londoners of Greek origin (from both Greece and Cyprus) number 300,000, since an organised Greek community has been established for nearly two centuries. The same can be said for Italian and French Londoners whose communities have been here for centuries (the French Embassy estimates there are between 300,000 and 400,000 French citizens living in the UK, with "a huge majority of them living in London"). Though a Polish community has existed in London since the late-Middle Ages, it was not significant in the 2001 Census but has grown significantly since 2004, when Poland joined the European Union and by June 2010; London had 122,000 Polish residents. The German-born population figure may be misleading, however, because it includes British nationals born to parents serving in the British armed forces in Germany.
London has been a focus for immigration for centuries, whether as a place of safety or for economic reasons. Huguenots, Eastern European Jews, Cypriots and East African Asians are examples of the former; Irish, Bangladeshis and West Indians came for new lives. The East End district around Spitalfields has been first home for several ethnic groups, which have subsequently moved elsewhere in London as they gained prosperity.
|White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller[Note 1]||N/A||8,196||0.10%|
|Asian or Asian British: Indian||436,993||6.09%||542,857||6.64%|
|Asian or Asian British: Pakistani||142,749||1.99%||223,797||2.74%|
|Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi||153,893||2.15%||222,127||2.72%|
|Asian or Asian British: Chinese[Note 2]||80,201||1.12%||124,250||1.52%|
|Asian or Asian British: Other Asian||133,058||1.86%||398,515||4.88%|
|Asian or Asian British: subtotal||946,894||13.20%||1,511,546||18.49%|
|Black or Black British: African||378,933||5.28%||573,931||7.02%|
|Black or Black British: Caribbean||343,567||4.79%||344,597||4.22%|
|Black or Black British: Other Black||60,349||0.84%||170,112||2.08%|
|Black or Black British: subtotal||782,849||10.92%||1,088,640||13.32%|
|Mixed: White and Black Caribbean||70,928||0.99%||119,425||1.46%|
|Mixed: White and Black African||34,182||0.48%||65,479||0.80%|
|Mixed: White and Asian||59,944||0.84%||101,500||1.24%|
|Mixed: Other Mixed||61,057||0.85%||118,875||1.45%|
|Other: Arab[Note 1]||N/A||106,020||1.30%|
|Other: Any other ethnic group||113,034||1.58%||175,021||2.14%|
The population of the current area of Greater London rose from about 1.1 million in 1801 (when only about 850,000 people were in the urban area, while 250,000 were living in villages and towns not yet part of London) to an estimated 8.6 million in 1939, but declined to 6.7 million in 1988, before starting to rebound in the 1990s.
By 2006, the population had recovered to the level of 1970 (and the level of population in the 1920s). It is now approaching the 1939 peak.
Figures here are for Greater London in its 2001 boundaries. Figures before 1971 have been reconstructed by the Office for National Statistics based on past censuses to fit the 2001 boundaries. Figures from 1981 onward are mid-year estimates (revised in August 2007), which are more accurate than the censuses, known to underestimate the population of London.
|1901||31 March – 1 April||6,506,954|
|1965||Greater London formally created|
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Inner London at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Outer London at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
The largest religious groupings are Christian (48.4%), Muslim (12.4%), Hindu (5.1%), Jewish (1.8%), and Sikh (1.5%), alongside those of no religion (20.7%). The United Kingdom has traditionally been Christian, and London has a large number of churches, particularly in the City. St Paul's Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river are Anglican administrative centres, while the clerical head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth.
Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul's and Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby Westminster Cathedral, the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England and Wales. Religious practice in London is lower than in any other part of the UK or Western Europe and is around seven times lower than American averages. Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, weekly observance is low within that denomination, although in recent years church attendance, particularly at evangelical Anglican churches in London, has started to increase.
London is home to sizeable Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Many Muslims live in Tower Hamlets and Newham; the most important Muslim buildings are the East London Mosque in Whitechapel and the London Central Mosque on the edge of Regent's Park. London's large Hindu community is in the north-western boroughs of Harrow and Brent, the latter containing one of Europe's largest Hindu temples, Neasden Temple.
Sikh communities are in East and West London, particularly Southall in the western borough of Ealing, which is also home to the largest Sikh temple in the capital. The majority of British Jews live in London, with significant communities in Stamford Hill (the most Orthodox Jewish area outside New York City and Israel) and St. John's Wood, Golders Green, and Edgware in North London.
Publicly funded education has been administered through 33 LEAs, which correspond to the City of London and the 32 London boroughs, since the 1990 enactment of the Education Reform Act 1988. From 1965 to 1990, 12 Inner London boroughs and the City of London were served by the Inner London Education Authority.
The introduction of comprehensive schools, directed by Circular 10/65 in 1965, was mostly followed in Greater London; however, 19 grammar schools have been retained in some Outer London boroughs, with Sutton having the most with five, followed by Bexley with four and others in five other boroughs. In these boroughs the state schools outperform the (relatively few) independent schools. In inner London, private schools always get the best results and are larger in number. At GCSE and A level, Outer London boroughs have broadly better results than Inner London boroughs.
At GCSE, the best borough is Kingston upon Thames, closely followed by Sutton. Both boroughs have selective schools, and get the top two average GCSE results in England for LEAs. Next is Kensington and Chelsea, the third best in England, then Redbridge, Hammersmith and Fulham, Bromley, Barnet and Harrow. Only ten boroughs have GCSE results under the England average, and some inner-London boroughs have surprisingly good results considering where they lie on the scale of deprivation, e.g. Lambeth. Overall at GCSE in 2009, Greater London had the best results for regions of England. Greater London is generally a prosperous region, and prosperous areas generally have good GCSE results. The City of London has no state schools, just two independent schools. Haringey and Kensington and Chelsea have the most people that pass no GCSEs.
At A-level, the average results for LEAs are disappointing compared to their good GCSE results. Although Kingston upon Thames gets the best GCSE results in England, at A-level it is not even above average. Sutton gets the best A-level results in London and in England. Three of the schools in the top four at A-level in London are in Sutton. It has only one independent school. The few other boroughs with above-average A-level results are Havering, Barnet, Bexley, Redbridge, and Ealing. The poor A-level results in many London boroughs is explained by the quantity of independent schools getting good A-level results. The state school system is often bypassed at age 16 by the more able pupils. Some London boroughs need more good sixth form colleges.
The region's 34 further education colleges are funded through the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People's Learning Agency. Large colleges include Kingston College, Havering College of Further and Higher Education, and Croydon College.
The University of London has 20 federated colleges and schools. The two main constituents of the University of London are (in order of total funding) University College London (UCL) and King's College London (KCL). Imperial College was part of the University of London until 2007, and is now an independent university. UCL, KCL and Imperial have very large research grants – some of the largest in England after Cambridge and Oxford, UCL and Imperial receive around £600 million each which is more than twice as much as any other in the region. The next largest institution by funding is Queen Mary University of London, followed by City, University of London. The region has many medical schools although these are part of other institutions such as UCL, KCL and Imperial. The Royal Veterinary College is based in Camden with another site in North Mymms in Hertfordshire).
50% of students come from the region, and around 30% from other regions. Most students from other regions come from South East England, the East of England, and, to a lesser degree, South West England; the vast majority are from the south of England. Over 50% students native to the region stay in the region, with 15% going to South East England, 30% to either Scotland, Wales or the North East and around 5% go elsewhere. London is a draw for UK graduates from all over the UK.
Over 70% of UK students to graduate from the University of London remain in London; just under 15% go to the South-East, and just over 5% go to the East of England and 10% elsewhere.
The GLA has twin and sister city agreements with the following cities.
|Russia||Moscow||Central Federal District|
|United States||New York City||New York||2001|
For Borough twinning, see List of twin towns and sister cities in England#London.
The first election to the Greater London Council (GLC) was held on 9 April 1964.1967 Greater London Council election
The second election to the Greater London Council was held on 13 April 1967, and saw the first Conservative victory for a London-wide authority since 1931.1970 Greater London Council election
The third election to the Greater London Council was held on 9 April 1970 and saw a Conservative victory with a reduced majority.1973 Greater London Council election
The fourth election to the Greater London Council was held on 12 April 1973. Labour won a large majority of 58 seats to 32 for the Conservatives; the Liberals also won their first two seats on the council.1977 Greater London Council election
Elections to the Greater London Council were held on 5 May 1977.1981 Greater London Council election
There was an election to the Greater London Council held on 7 May 1981. Councillors were elected to serve until elections in May 1985. Those elections were cancelled and the term was extended until 1 April 1986.The leader of the Labour GLC group Andrew McIntosh led the party into the election. Within 24 hours of the result, however, McIntosh's leadership was toppled by Ken Livingstone; a member of the party's left-wing. Livingstone was then elected GLC leader.This was the last election to the GLC. The Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher soon took the decision to abolish the council in the mid-1980s, out of concern that it would defy conservative policies. For more information on this see the article, Greater London Council. Following the abolition of the GLC, there was a direct election to the Inner London Education Authority in 1986.1998 Greater London Authority referendum
The Greater London Authority referendum of 1998 was a referendum held in Greater London on 7 May 1998, asking whether there was support for the creation of a Greater London Authority, composed of a directly elected Mayor of London and a London Assembly to scrutinise the Mayor's actions. Voter turnout was low, at just 34.1%. The referendum was held under the provisions of the Greater London Authority (Referendum) Act 1998.Greater London Authority
The Greater London Authority (GLA), also known as City Hall, is the devolved regional governance body of London, with jurisdiction over both counties of Greater London and the City of London. It consists of two political branches: the executive Mayoralty (currently led by Sadiq Khan) and the 25-member London Assembly, which serves as a means of checks and balances on the former. Since May 2016, both branches have been under the control of the London Labour Party. The authority was established in 2000, following a local referendum, and derives most of its powers from the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and the Greater London Authority Act 2007.
It is a strategic regional authority, with powers over transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Three functional bodies — Transport for London, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, and the London Fire Commissioner — are responsible for delivery of services in these areas. The planning policies of the Mayor of London are detailed in a statutory London Plan that is regularly updated and published.
The Greater London Authority is mostly funded by direct government grant and it is also a precepting authority, with some money collected with local Council Tax. The GLA is unique in the British devolved and local government system, in terms of structure (it uses a presidential system-esque model), elections and selection of powers. The authority was established to replace a range of joint boards and quangos and provided an elected upper tier of local government in London for the first time since the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986.Greater London Council
The Greater London Council (GLC) was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council (LCC) which had covered a much smaller area. The GLC was dissolved in 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985 and its powers were devolved to the London boroughs and other entities. A new administrative body, known as the Greater London Authority (GLA), was established in 2000.Harrow, London
Harrow () is a large suburban town in the London Borough of Harrow, in the north-west of Greater London, England, 10.5 miles (16.9 km) north-west of Charing Cross. Harrow-on-the-Hill is a conservation area with listed buildings of Georgian architecture. The area, which also includes Headstone North, Roxeth, Marlborough, Greenhill, Headstone South and West Harrow electoral wards, had a population of 80,213 at the 2011 census. Harrow was a municipal borough of Middlesex before its inclusion in Greater London in 1965. Harrow is home to a large University of Westminster campus, Harrow School and Harrow High School.List of English districts by population
List of the 317 districts of England (English Municipalities) by population, estimated figures for 2017 from the Office for National Statistics.The list consists of the non-metropolitan districts (192), the London boroughs (32), metropolitan boroughs (36), unitary authorities (55) and those that are labelled as sui generis (2).List of Greater London boundary changes
This is a list of boundary changes occurring in the London region of England, since the re-organisation of local government following the passing of the London Government Act 1963.List of tallest buildings in the United Kingdom
As of November 2018 there are 76 habitable buildings (used for living and working in, as opposed to masts and churches) in the United Kingdom at least 100 metres (330 ft) tall, 60 of them in London, seven in Greater Manchester, two in Birmingham, two in Leeds, two in Portsmouth and one each in Brighton and Hove, Liverpool, Sheffield and Swansea (the only structure outside England).
The Shard in Southwark, London, is currently the tallest completed building in both the UK and the European Union; it was topped out at a height of 310 metres (1,020 ft) in March 2012, inaugurated in July 2012 and opened to the public in February 2013.
The UK had not been noted historically for its abundance of skyscrapers, with the taller structures throughout the country tending to be cathedrals, church spires and industrial chimneys. Despite this, since the late 20th century the number of high-rise apartment buildings and office blocks in many large British cities has grown significantly, most notably in London and Manchester. The three tallest purely residential buildings in the UK are: Deansgate Square South Tower (201m), St George Wharf Tower (181m) and Beetham Tower (157m).
As of April 2019, there are a further 55 habitable buildings at least 100 metres (330 ft) tall under construction in the UK – 43 in London, 8 in Greater Manchester, 4 in Birmingham and 1 in Woking.London
London ( (listen) LUN-dən) is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, innovative, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, and the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation. London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP. It is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games.London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2016 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925.
London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and Greenwich Mean Time. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries, libraries and sporting events. These include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.London Assembly
The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to reject the Mayor's draft statutory strategies. The London Assembly was established in 2000 and meets at City Hall on the south bank of the River Thames, close to Tower Bridge. The Assembly is also able to investigate other issues of importance to Londoners (transport, environmental matters, etc.), publish its findings and recommendations, and make proposals to the Mayor.London boroughs
The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that make up Greater London; each is governed by a London borough council. The London boroughs were all created at the same time as Greater London on 1 April 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and are a type of local government district. Twelve were designated as Inner London boroughs and twenty as Outer London boroughs.
The London boroughs have populations of around 150,000 to 300,000. Inner London boroughs tend to be smaller, in both population and area, and more densely populated than Outer London boroughs. The London boroughs were created by combining groups of former local government units. A review undertaken between 1987 and 1992 led to a number of relatively small alterations in borough boundaries.
London borough councils provide the majority of local government services (schools, waste management, social services, libraries, etc.), in contrast to the strategic Greater London Authority, which has limited authority over all of Greater London.
The councils were first elected in 1964 and acted as shadow authorities until 1 April 1965. Each borough is divided into electoral wards, subject to periodic review, for the purpose of electing councillors. Council elections take place every four years, with the most recent elections in 2018 and the next elections due in 2022.
The political make-up of London borough councils is dominated by the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties. Twenty-eight councils follow the leader and cabinet model of executive governance, with directly elected mayors in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets. The City of London is instead governed by the City of London Corporation and the Inner and Middle Temples.London low emission zone
The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is a traffic pollution charge scheme with the aim of reducing the exhaust gas emissions of diesel-powered commercial vehicles in London. This scheme was changed to include the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), introduced in April 2019. Vehicles that do not conform to various emission standards are charged; the others may enter the controlled zone free of charge. The low emission zone started operating on 4 February 2008 with phased introduction of an increasingly stricter regime until 3 January 2012. The scheme is administered by the Transport for London executive agency within the Greater London Authority.Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is the executive of the Greater London Authority. The current Mayor is Sadiq Khan, who took up office on 9 May 2016. The position was held by Ken Livingstone from the creation of the role on 4 May 2000, until he was defeated in May 2008 by Boris Johnson, who served two terms before being succeeded by Khan.
The role, created in 2000 after the London devolution referendum in 1998, was the first directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom.The Mayor is scrutinised by the London Assembly and, supported by their Mayoral cabinet, directs the entirety of London, including the City of London (for which there is also the ceremonial Lord Mayor of the City of London). Each London Borough also has a ceremonial Mayor or, in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, an elected Mayor.Middlesex
Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is an ancient county in southeast England. It is now entirely within the wider urbanised area of London. Its area is now also mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, and existed as an official unit until 1965. The historic county includes land stretching north of the River Thames from 17 miles (27 km) west to 3 miles (5 km) east of the City of London with the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The largely low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, was the second smallest county by area in 1831.The City of London was a county in its own right from the 12th century and was able to exert political control over Middlesex. Westminster Abbey dominated most of the early financial, judicial and ecclesiastical aspects of the county. As London grew into Middlesex, the Corporation of London resisted attempts to expand the city boundaries into the county, which posed problems for the administration of local government and justice. In the 18th and 19th centuries the population density was especially high in the southeast of the county, including the East End and West End of London. From 1855 the southeast was administered, with sections of Kent and Surrey, as part of the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works. When county councils were introduced in England in 1889 about 20% of the area of Middlesex, along with a third of its population, was transferred to the new County of London and the remainder became an administrative county governed by the Middlesex County Council that met regularly at the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster, in the County of London. The City of London, and Middlesex, became separate counties for other purposes and Middlesex regained the right to appoint its own sheriff, lost in 1199.
In the interwar years suburban London expanded further, with improvement and expansion of public transport, and the setting up of new industries. After the Second World War, the population of the County of London and inner Middlesex was in steady decline, with high population growth continuing in the outer parts. After a Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, almost all of the original area was incorporated into an enlarged Greater London in 1965, with the rest transferred to neighbouring counties. Since 1965 various areas called Middlesex have been used for cricket and other sports. Middlesex was the former postal county of 25 post towns.
United Kingdom articles
1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of England → current
Governance of Greater London
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