West London

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Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey west front.jpg
Westminster Abbey

West London is a popularly, but informally and inexactly defined part of London, England.

Contents

The area lies north of the River Thames and extends from its historic and commercial core of Westminster and the West End to the Greater London boundary, much of which is formed by the River Colne. Some interpretations of the area include the boroughs of Brent and Harrow, making ancient Watling Street, the boundary in those outer areas. The constituent districts of West London were once part of the historic county of Middlesex.

The area emerged from Westminster, an area just west of the City of London, which owed its importance to the consecration of Westminster Abbey and after that, the establishment of the Palace of Westminster. Westminster and the West End are also part of Central London. The term West London is used to differentiate the area from other informal radial divisions of London, the Metropolitan Compass; [1] North London, East London and South London. [2]

Economy

London Plan

The London Plan [3] defines two areas of London as International Centres, the West End and Knightsbridge, both in the west of London. Five of the thirteen Metropolitan Centres in the Plan might be described as being in West London (dependent on definition of the area): Ealing, Hounslow, Harrow, Uxbridge and Shepherd's Bush.

Eleven of the Plan's thirty-eight Opportunity Areas might be described as part of West London; Kensal Canalside, Paddington, Earl's Court and West Kensington, Harrow and Wealdstone, Park Royal, Old Oak Common, Southall, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Wembley and White City. One of the Plan's seven Intensification Areas, Holborn, could be described as part of the West.

Major employers

London Heathrow Airport is a major employer in West London, and the University of West London has more than 47,000 students. [4]

Emergence

The development of the area began with the establishment of the Abbey on a site then called Thorney Island, the choice of site may in part relate to the natural ford which is thought to have carried Watling Street over the Thames in the vicinity. [5] Tradition dates the foundation to the 7th Century AD with written records dating back to the 960s or early 970s. [6] The Island and surrounding area became known as Westminster in reference to the church.

The legendary origin [7] is that in the early 7th century, a local fisherman named Edric, ferried a stranger in tattered foreign clothing over the Thames to Thorney Island. It was a miraculous appearance of St Peter, a fisherman himself, coming to the island to consecrate the newly built church, which would subsequently develop into Westminster Abbey. He rewarded Edric with a bountiful catch when he next dropped his nets. Edric was instructed to present the King and St. Mellitus, Bishop of London with a salmon and various proofs that the consecration had already occurred . Every year on 29 June, St Peters day, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers presents the Abbey with a salmon in memory of this event. [8]

The Palace of Westminster subsequently developed, with Parliament being based there from its establishment in 1265. The presence of the centre of government as a distinct focus for growth, accompanied by the proximity of the City, ensured that western London was the fastest growing part of early London.

In 1720, John Strype's ‘Survey of London’ described Westminster as one of the then four distinct areas of London; [9] in it he describes the City of London, Westminster (West London), Southwark (South London), and 'That Part beyond the Tower' (East London). The area now usually referred to as North London developed later.

A detailed copy of John Rocque's Map of London, 1741-5. Rocque's Map of London 1741-5.jpg
A detailed copy of John Rocque's Map of London, 1741-5.

As well as the proximity of the centre of government, the West End was long favoured by the rich elite as a place of residence because it was usually upwind of the smoke drifting from the crowded City. [10] A further factor facilitating rapid growth in West London was the very large number of bridges linking the area to South London and the area beyond; by contrast, even today, there are no bridges east of Tower Bridge, partly as the river becomes wider as it heads east.

Like other areas of the capital, West London grew rapidly in the Victorian era as a result of railway-based commuting; with the building of the termini at Paddington and Marylebone, and the lines radiating from them, having a particularly profound effect. This trend continued in the twentieth century and was subsequently reinforced by motorcar-based commuting.

The size of London stabilised after the establishment of the Metropolitan Green Belt shortly after the Second World War.

Official designations

The term 'West London' has been used for a variety of formal purposes with the boundaries defined according to the purposes of the designation.

Planning Policy sub-region

London plan sub regions (2011).svg

The 2011 iteration of the London Plan [11] included an altered 'West' sub-region, to be used for planning, engagement, resource allocation and progress reporting purposes. It consists of the London Boroughs of Brent, Harrow, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow and the Richmond upon Thames. As well as including outer areas of West London, the sub-region also includes areas south of the river, not usually counted as part of West London; areas of the cross-river London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

The 2004-2008 and 2008-2011 versions of the sub-region varied in their composition.

W postcode area

The W (Western) postcode area was introduced in 1857 [12] to facilitate the distribution of mail. The postcode area is a sub-set of West London in some definitions or the extent of West London in others, since it does not include areas frequently counted as part of North West London.

Many areas with a SW postcode are in fact in West London and are north of the river, such as Chelsea and South Kensington.

Map of postcodes in Greater London: The 'Western' district is a sub-set of West London London Postal Region Map.jpg
Map of postcodes in Greater London: The 'Western' district is a sub-set of West London

See also

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London postal district post town

The London postal district is the area in England of 241 square miles (620 km2) to which mail addressed to the London post town is delivered. The General Post Office under the control of the Postmaster General directed Sir Rowland Hill to devise the area in 1856 and throughout its history it has been subject to reorganisation and division into increasingly smaller postal units, with the early loss of two compass points and a minor retraction in 1866. It was integrated by the Post Office into the national postcode system of the United Kingdom during the early 1970s and corresponds to the N, NW, SW, SE, W, WC, E and EC postcode areas. The postal district has also been known as the London postal area. The County of London was much smaller, at 117 square miles (300 km2), but Greater London is much larger at 607 square miles (1,570 km2).

Middlesex Historic county of England

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Watling Street Historic route in England

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South London Place in England

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Outer London Place in England

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District Railway Underground railway in London

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River Tyburn Stream in London, England

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East London Northeastern part of London, United Kingdom

East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London, capital of the United Kingdom. By most definitions, it is east of the ancient City of London and north of the River Thames. It broadly comprises the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. This understanding accords closely, but not exactly, with the interpretation of the area consisting of the former Tower Division, and London east of the Lea. The East End of London is a subset of East London, consisting of areas close to the ancient City of London. The Eastern (E) Postal District is a different subset of East London; and there is also an "East" sub-region used in the London Plan for planning policy reporting purposes. The most recent (2011) iteration includes seven boroughs north of the Thames, with the addition of three boroughs south of the river.

EC postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

The EC postcode area, also known as the London EC postal area, is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London and parts of the London Boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Westminster. The area covered is of very high density development. Deliveries for the EC postcode area are made from Mount Pleasant Mail Centre.

TW postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

The TW postcode area, also known as the Twickenham postcode area, is a group of twenty postcode districts in south-east England, within thirteen post towns. These cover parts of south-west London and north-west Surrey, plus a very small part of Berkshire.

Thorney Island (Westminster)

Thorney Island was the eyot on the Thames, upstream of medieval London, where Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster were built. It was formed by rivulets of the River Tyburn, which entered the Thames nearby. In Roman times, and presumably before, Thorney Island may have been part of a natural ford where Watling Street crossed the Thames, of particular importance before the construction of London Bridge.

Brentford (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885–1918

Brentford was a constituency named after the town of Brentford in Middlesex and was drawn to take in Hounslow, Norwood Green and Twickenham. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. The constituency was created for the 1885 general election and abolished for that of 1918.

Eia Former Medieval manor in Middlesex, England

Eia or Eye was an early Medieval manor in the parish of Westminster, Middlesex and is now a part of Central London. It was about one mile west of the Palace of Westminster/Whitehall, about 2 miles west-south-west of the walled City of London, and about half a mile north of the River Thames. A smaller sub-manor called Ebury or Eybury, containing the hamlet Eye Cross, was originally part of the manor. Ebury and a corruption of it, Avery, appear as modern streets and other places.

References

  1. A phrase used, for instance, by Dickens in the Uncommercial Traveller, Ch 3
  2. Blundy, Rachel (27 January 2014). "'East is poor, West is posh, South is rough and North is 'intellectual': Londoners' views on the city's postcodes revealed". Evening Standard.
  3. "The London Plan". London City Hall. 11 November 2015.
  4. "The economic impact of the University of West London" (PDF; 850 MB). UWL.ac.uk. University of West London / Oxford Economics. May 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. "Loftie's Historic London (review)". The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art. 63 (1, 634): 271. 19 February 1887. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  6. Page, William (1909). "'Benedictine monks: St Peter's abbey, Westminster', in A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark,". London. pp. 433–457. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  7. http://www.choirschools.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/The-Abbey-Fishy-Tale.pdf [ bare URL ]
  8. pixeltocode.uk, PixelToCode. "Fishmongers' Company". Westminster Abbey.
  9. "John Strype's Survey of London Online". www.dhi.ac.uk.
  10. Robert O. Bucholz and Joseph P. Ward: London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550–1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012, p. 333
  11. London City Hall. "Policy 2.5 Sub-regions"..
  12. "Postcodes". The Postal Museum.