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||Ruth Bush|
|• London Assembly||Tony Devenish (Con) AM for West Central|
|• MPs||Karen Buck (Lab), Mark Field (Con)|
|• EU Parliament||London|
|• Total||8.29 sq mi (21.48 km2)|
|Area rank||309th (of 317)|
|• Rank||66th (of 317)|
|• Density||31,000/sq mi (12,000/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||35.2% White British |
2.3% White Irish
0% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
24.1% Other White
0.9% White & Black Caribbean
0.9% White & Black African
1.6% White & Asian
1.8% Other Mixed
4.6% Other Asian
4.2% Black African
2% Black Caribbean
1.3% Other Black
|Time zone||UTC (GMT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
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.
Inner London is the name for the group of London boroughs which form the interior part of Greater London and are surrounded by Outer London. With its origins in the Bills of mortality, it became fixed as an area for statistics in 1847 and was used as an area of local government from 1855 to 1965 principally as the County of London or earlier as the Metropolitan Board of Works Area (metropolis). It now has two common definitions. The first is the statutory definition delineated in the London Government Act 1963, coming into force on 1 April 1965, comprising twelve Inner London boroughs and almost identical to the County of London that was abolished at the same time. The second is the current definition used by the Office for National Statistics comprising eleven of the statutory Inner London boroughs and two of the statutory Outer London boroughs, and the City of London.
City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom to a select group of communities: as of 2014, there are 69 cities in the United Kingdom – 51 in England, six in Wales, seven in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland. The holding of city status gives a settlement no special rights. This appellation carries its own prestige and competition for the status is hard-fought.
Greater London is a ceremonial county of England that forms 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.
Aside from numerous 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.
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area, or exceptionally unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.
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.
Buckingham Palace 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.
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.
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.
In heraldic blazon, a chief is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the top edge of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by the chief, ranging from one-fourth to one-third. The former is more likely if the chief is uncharged, that is, if it does not have other objects placed on it. If charged, the chief is typically wider to allow room for the objects drawn there.
A portcullis is a heavy vertically-closing gate typically found in medieval fortifications, consisting of a latticed grille made of wood, metal, or a combination of the two, which slides down grooves inset within each jamb of the gateway.
A crest is a component of a heraldic display, consisting of the device borne on top of the helm. Originating in the decorative sculptures worn by knights in tournaments and, to a lesser extent, battles, crests became solely pictorial after the 16th century.
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.
Edward the Confessor, also known as Saint Edward the Confessor, was among the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066.
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%|
The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. Westminster City Council is currently composed of 41 Conservative Party members and 19 Labour Party members.
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.[ citation needed ] The list of companies includes
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London is in Westminster.
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.
The City of Westminster contains the some of the most famous sites in London, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and Big Ben.
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.
Four National Rail stations serve the City of Westminster:
|London Charing Cross||South Eastern Main Line||South East London and Kent including London Bridge, Lewisham, Dartford, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells. Services operated by Southeastern.|
|London Marylebone||Chiltern Main Line||North West London, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Midlands including Wembley Stadium, Harrow, Aylesbury, Oxford and Birmingham Moor Street. Services operated by Chiltern Railways.|
|London Paddington||Great Western Main Line|| West London, South West England and South Wales including Ealing Broadway, Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Oxford, Plymouth and Worcester. Services operated by Great Western Railway and TfL Rail (|
|London Victoria||Brighton and Chatham Main Lines||South East London and Kent including Peckham Rye, Dartford, Gravesend, Dover Priory and Ashford International. Services operated by Southeastern. |
Services operated by Gatwick Express.
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 London Library, an independent lending library, is at 14 St. James Square.
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.
|Highest-ranked local authorities by proportion of Social Housing (2011 Census)|
|Local Authority||Privately rented||Socially rented||Shared ownership|
|City of Westminster London Borough||37.6||11.9||0.8|
|Kensington and Chelsea London Borough||34||9.2||0.9|
|City of London London Borough||33.1||10.4||0.3|
|Newham London Borough||32.6||18.3||1.8|
|Tower Hamlets London Borough||30.8||17.3||2.4|
|Camden London Borough||30.5||23||0.7|
|Haringey London Borough||30.3||17||1.5|
|Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough||30||15.7||1.6|
|Wandsworth London Borough||30||12.8||1.5|
|Brent London Borough||28.8||9.7||1.5|
|Bournemouth Unitary Authority||28.2||5.9||0.7|
|Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority||28||9.8||0.9|
|Lambeth London Borough||27.7||19.6||1.5|
|Hackney London Borough||27.6||23.8||2.3|
The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the City of Westminster.
The West End of London refers to a distinct region of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is an inner London borough with royal status. It is the smallest borough in London and the second smallest district in England; it is one of the most densely populated administrative regions in the United Kingdom. It includes affluent areas such as Notting Hill, Central Kensington, South Kensington, Chelsea, and Knightsbridge.
Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in central London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End.
Paddington is an area within the City of Westminster, in central London, located in the West End of London. First a medieval parish then a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965. Three important landmarks of the district are Paddington station, designed by the celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1847; St Mary's Hospital; and Paddington Green Police Station.
The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is a London borough partly in West London and partly in South West London (Fulham), and forms part of Inner London.
Marylebone Road is an important thoroughfare in central London, within the City of Westminster. It runs east-west from the Euston Road at Regent's Park to the A40 Westway at Paddington. The road which runs in 3 lanes in both directions, is part of the London Inner Ring Road and as such forms part of the boundary of the zone within which the London congestion charge applies.
Paddington was a civil parish and metropolitan borough in London, England. It was an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, governed by an administrative vestry. The parish was included in the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855 and became part of the County of London in 1889. The parish of Paddington became a metropolitan borough in 1900, following the London Government Act 1899, with the parish vestry replaced by a borough council. In 1965 the borough was abolished and its former area became part of the City of Westminster in Greater London.
The Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone was a Metropolitan borough of the County of London from 1900 to 1965. It was based directly on the previously existing civil parish of St Marylebone, which was incorporated into the Metropolitan Board of Works area in 1855, retaining a parish vestry, and then became part of the County of London in 1889.
Central London is the innermost part of London, in the United Kingdom, 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.
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.
Cities of London and Westminster is a constituency returning a single Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons in the United Kingdom Parliament. It is a borough constituency for the purposes of election expenses and type of returning officer. As with all constituencies, the election is decided using the first past the post system of election. Since its creation at the 1950 general election, the constituency has always elected the candidate nominated by the Conservative Party. It has been represented since 2001 by Mark Field. This is the constituency in which the British Parliament is located.
Paddington was a parliamentary constituency centred on the Paddington district of London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The constituency was created for the February 1974 general election, partially replacing the previous Paddington North and Paddington South constituencies, and abolished for the 1983 general election. A Paddington borough constituency has three times been recommended during early stages of Boundary Commission inquiries, only to be altered before the final report was issued.
The SW postcode area, also known as the London SW postcode area, is a group of postcode districts covering a broad radial swathe of southwest London, England as far as Mortlake, Streatham and Raynes Park. The area straightforwardly succeeds a shorter-lived South Western (SW1–SW10) and Battersea (SW11–SW20) split between its components of the London post town.
Cadogan Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Cadogan Estates Limited, are British property investment and management companies that are owned by the Cadogan family, one of the richest families in the United Kingdom, which also holds the titles of Earl Cadogan and Viscount Chelsea, the latter used as a courtesy title by the earl's eldest son. The Cadogan Group is the main landlord in the west London districts of Chelsea and Knightsbridge, and it is now the second largest of the surviving aristocratic freehold estates in central London, after the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate, to which it is adjacent, covering Mayfair and Belgravia.
The A40 is a major trunk road connecting London to Fishguard, Wales. The A40 in London passes through seven London Boroughs: the City of London, Camden, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Hillingdon, to meet the M40 motorway junction 1 at Denham, Buckinghamshire.
Marylebone is an area in the West End of London, England, which is part of the City of Westminster.
The Westminster Archives Centre is the archive centre for the City of Westminster, London, located at 10 St Ann's Street, London SW1P 2DE England.
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