City of London

Commonly, the word London is used to describe an area actually officially named Greater London; which encompasses all of the famous landmarks and historical buildings. If, when referencing London, someone actually mentions The City, they mean the small geographical city within Greater London itself. Once The City was the hub of London, though it is now only a small part of the greater London area.

The City is around one square mile in area, hence the oft-used nickname The Square Mile. Often, these descriptions are used in reference to the financial side of English industry, as many banks and stock offices are located within The City itself. It is a famously financial based area, with many simply using “The City” as one would use “Wall Street” in America.

There are around 10,000 actual residents of The City of London, and some 40,000 people work there. The City of London provides some of the most recognisable landmarks on the traditional London skyline scene; such as the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England.

The borders of The City of London have changed little since Roman times, when a perimeter wall – oft referred to as London Wall, of which some still stands – was built around the square mile area. The current boundaries of the city are marked by black bollards bearing the emblem of the City; at larger entrances, such as Temple Bar on Fleet Street, a large black dragon monument facing outward marks the entrance.

City of LondonThe history of the City is rich and long. It was first thought of separately in 886, when Alfred the Great appointed his son-in-law Ethelred as Governor of London. Following the invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066, the City was one of the few areas which was allowed to continue to rule itself independently; a charter was granted to this effect in 1075. The famous – and some would argue infamous – Tower of London was built on the City boundaries to protect it.

In 1894, an attempt was made to join the City of London and the surrounding County of London together. However, the attempt failed and the City has been largely independent since. It currently falls under the political constituency Cities of London and Westminster, which recognises it’s authority.

The City of London has a number of skyscrapers, the majority of which house well-known financial institutions. The first of these was the NatWest Tower, which opened in the 1970s and at 600 feet it was – at the time – the largest skyscraper in the UK.

One of the most famous areas of London is called Paternoster Square, an urban development owned by the Mitsubishi Estate Company. It is located next to St. Paul’s Cathedral, another of London’s most recognisable landmarks (though not actually within the City itself). Paternoster Square is the current home of the London Stock Exchange, following it’s relocation in 2004 from Threadneedle Street. Paternoster Square is home to some of the most famous financial institutions in the world as well as the Stock Exchange, such as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities Company. All of this serves to cement the City of London’s place as one of the biggest financial districts in the world.

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