London Information

This page will help you to understand what this Website is all about.

The name ‘London’ has applied to three administrations over the centuries. From Saxon times ‘London’ meant the ‘City of London‘ – an administration that still exists today – which is the small area of land that is. commonly called ‘The City’ and is also known as the ‘Square Mile’. It is presided over by the Lord Mayor of London.

The City was originally surrounded by three counties. The County of Middlesex surrounded the City on the north bank of the Thames. On the south bank of the river was the County of Surrey and the County of Kent. For example, places like Battersea and Camberwell were in the county of Surrey. Places like Lewisham, Eltham and Greenwich were in the County of Kent. This state of affairs lasted until towards the end of the 19th century although, by that time, people were already using the term ‘metropolis’ in reference to the fact that many of the villages were starting to join up with other villages as the land surrounding the City was becoming urbanised.

In 1889 it was decided that a County of London should come into existence, being formed from a large part of Middlesex and smaller parts of Surrey and Kent. It was to be administered by the London County Council (LCC) so that overall planning across the land could be better controlled. Parishes in that area were combined into Metropolitan Boroughs, each with their own Town Hall, and the only piece of land that was not included was the City of London who continued with their own administration. Hence Metropolitan London was created, which had 28 Metropolitan Boroughs.

By 1965 the 28 Metropolitan Boroughs were considered to be too small to form viable administrations and so the Metropolitan Boroughs were combined to form 12 larger London Boroughs. Once more the City of London was left untouched. In addition to the 12 London Boroughs, a further swathe of land around the outside was added, creating another 20 London Boroughs. This created 32 London Boroughs within an area that was called Greater London. This administration has a ‘Mayor of London’ with ‘headquarters’ at City Hall, near Tower Bridge.

In summary, the City of London is a separate administration with the Lord Mayor of London at its head. Metropolitan London had 28 Metropolitan boroughs and extended from Hammersmith to Woolwich and from Hampstead to Crystal Palace. Greater London has 30 London Boroughs and is approximately the size of the land encompassed by the M25.

This Website tells the history of old Metropolitan London. Although the Metropolitan Boroughs have been combined into the 12 Inner London Boroughs, they all related to the very early history of each area. Because the Website is related to the history of Inner London (which was once Metropolitan London), it makes much more sense to describe the history of each topic as it related to the original Metropolitan Boroughs.

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