Central London (also known less commonly as London city centre) is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning several boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of Central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. Its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities.
Road distances to London are traditionally measured from a central point at Charing Cross (in the City of Westminster), which is marked by the statue of King Charles I at the junction of the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square.
The central area is distinguished, according to the Royal Commission, by the inclusion within its boundaries of Parliament and the Royal Palaces, the headquarters of Government, the Law Courts, the head offices of a very large number of commercial and industrial firms, as well as institutions of great influence in the intellectual life of the nation such as the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the University of London, the headquarters of the national ballet and opera, together with the headquarters of many national associations, the great professions, the trade unions, the trade associations, social service societies, as well as shopping centres and centres of entertainment which attract people from the whole of Greater London and farther afield. In many other respects the central area differs from areas farther out in London. The rateable value of the central area is exceptionally high. Its day population is very much larger than its night population. Its traffic problems reach an intensity not encountered anywhere else in the Metropolis or in any provincial city, and the enormous office developments which have taken place recently constitute a totally new phenomenon.
The London Plan defines the ‘Central Activities Zone’ policy area, which comprises the City of London, most of Westminster and the inner parts of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea and Wandsworth.It is described as "a unique cluster of vitally important activities including central government offices, headquarters and embassies, the largest concentration of London's financial and business services sector and the offices of trade, professional bodies, institutions, associations, communications, publishing, advertising and the media".
For strategic planning, since 2011 there has been a Central London sub-region comprising the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Westminster and the City of London.From 2004 to 2008, the London Plan included a sub-region called Central London comprising Camden, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Westminster. It had a 2001 population of 1,525,000. The sub-region was replaced in 2008 with a new structure which amalgamated inner and outer boroughs together. This was altered in 2011 when a new Central London sub-region was created, now including the City of London and excluding Wandsworth. However, districts at the outer edge of this subregion such as Highgate, Archway, Streatham and Dulwich are not generally considered as Central London.
The 1901 Census defined Central London as the City of London and the metropolitan boroughs of Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, Finsbury, Holborn, Shoreditch, Southwark, Stepney, St Marylebone and Westminster.
During the Herbert Commission and the subsequent passage of the London Government Bill, three unsuccessful attempts were made to define an area that would form a central London borough. The first two were detailed in the 1959 Memorandum of Evidence of the Greater London Group of the London School of Economics.
"Scheme A" envisaged a central London borough, one of 25, consisting of the City of London, Westminster, Holborn, Finsbury and the inner parts of St Marylebone, St Pancras, Chelsea, Southwark and Lambeth. The boundary deviated from existing lines to include all central London railway stations, the Tower of London and the museums, such that it included small parts of Kensington, Shoreditch, Stepney and Bermondsey. It had an estimated population of 350,000 and occupied 7,000 acres (28 km2).
"Scheme B" delineated central London, as one of 7 boroughs, including most of the City of London, the whole of Finsbury and Holborn, most of Westminster and Southwark, parts of St Pancras, St Marylebone, Paddington and a small part of Kensington. The area had an estimated population of 400,000 and occupied 8,000 acres (32 km2).
During the passage of the London Government Bill an amendment was put forward to create a central borough corresponding to the definition used at the 1961 census. It consisted of the City of London, all of Westminster, Holborn and Finsbury; and the inner parts of Shoreditch, Stepney, Bermondsey, Southwark, Lambeth, Chelsea, Kensington, Paddington, St Marylebone and St Pancras. The population was estimated to be 270,000.
The London Inner Ring Road, or Ring Road as signposted, is a 12-mile (19 km) route with an average diameter of 2.75–5.5 miles (4.43–8.85 km) formed from a number of major roads that encircle Central London. The ring road forms the boundary of the London congestion charge zone, although the ring road itself is not part of the zone.
The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of the general introduction of elected county government in England, by way of the Local Government Act 1888. The Act created an administrative County of London, which included within its territory the City of London. However, the City of London and the County of London formed separate ceremonial counties for "non-administrative" purposes. The local authority for the county was the London County Council (LCC), which initially performed only a limited range of functions, but gained further powers during its 76-year existence. The LCC provided very few services within the City of London, where the ancient Corporation monopolised local governance. In 1900 the lower-tier civil parishes and district boards were replaced with 28 new metropolitan boroughs. The territory of the county was 74,903 acres (303.12 km2) in 1961. During its existence there was a long-term decline in population as more residents moved into the outer suburbs; there were periodic reviews of the local government structures in the greater London area and several failed attempts to expand the boundaries of the county. In 1965, the London Government Act 1963 replaced the county with the much larger Greater London administrative area.
The Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury was a Metropolitan borough within the County of London from 1900 to 1965, when it was amalgamated with the Metropolitan Borough of Islington to form the London Borough of Islington.
The following people served as members of the Greater London Council, either as councillors or Aldermen. The polling days were:
The London Government Act 1963 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which recognised officially the conurbation known as Greater London and created a new local government structure for the capital. The Act significantly reduced the number of local government districts in the area, resulting in local authorities responsible for larger areas and populations. The upper tier of local government was reformed to cover the whole of the Greater London area and with a more strategic role; and the split of functions between upper and lower tiers was recast. The Act classified the boroughs into inner and outer London groups. The City of London and its corporation were essentially unreformed by the legislation. Subsequent amendments to the Act have significantly amended the upper tier arrangements, with the Greater London Council abolished in 1986, and the Greater London Authority introduced in 2000. As of 2016, the London boroughs are more or less identical to those created in 1965, although with some enhanced powers over services such as waste management and education.
The Holborn Division was one of four divisions of the Hundred of Ossulstone, in the county of Middlesex, England. The other divisions were named Finsbury, Kensington and Tower.
The Greater London Built-up Area, or Greater London Urban Area, is a conurbation in south-east England that constitutes the continuous urban area of London, and includes surrounding adjacent urban towns as defined by the Office for National Statistics. It is the largest urban area in the United Kingdom with a population of 9,787,426 in 2011.
The Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, also known as the Herbert Commission, was established in 1957 and published its report in 1960. The report made recommendations for the overhaul of the administration of the capital. They were modified and implemented by the London Government Act 1963.
Local government in the London region takes place in two tiers; an upper tier and a lower tier. The upper tier authority is the Greater London Authority (GLA), controlled by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The lower tier authorities are the 32 borough councils in Greater London, and the City of London Corporation in the City of London.
Prior to its uniform adoption of proportional representation in 1999, the United Kingdom used first-past-the-post for the European elections in England, Scotland and Wales. The European Parliament constituencies used under that system were smaller than the later regional constituencies and only had one Member of the European Parliament each.
Angel is a locality on the northern fringes of Central London within the London Borough of Islington. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) north-northeast of Charing Cross on the Inner Ring Road at a busy transport intersection. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in London. It is a significant commercial and retail centre, and a business improvement district. Angel straddles the ancient boundary of the parishes of Clerkenwell and Islington that later became the metropolitan boroughs of Finsbury and Islington. It is named from the former Angel Inn which stood on the corner of Islington High Street and Pentonville Road. Since 1965 the whole area has formed part of the London Borough of Islington in Greater London.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to London: