Properties in London
'London' will be treated here as 'Greater London', that is the area falling within
the administrative jurisdiction of the 32 London Boroughs plus the 'City of London'.
Thus, they include areas with purely London postcodes and those with other postcodes.
Many of these areas were once administratively part of adjoining counties and are
still often referred to geographically as belonging to those counties - for example, Harrow,
Middlesex (which no longer exists); Croydon, Surrey; or Erith, Kent. However, since they
are now administered by a 'London Borough Council' they will be grouped here as part of London.
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Arguably the greatest city in the world, London was until recently the capital of the largest empire
the world had ever known, an empire on which the sun never set, so expansive was it across the globe. That empire
has now given way, as part of the 'winds of change', after the Second World War but, notwithstanding
the ending of its imperial status, London has continued to grow in importance as a commercial
and cultural world city. It attracts the largest number of visitors of any city and exerts an
influence worldwide comparable only to New York and the Californian conurbation. Just as during the
Renaissance it was considered de rigeur for cultural afficinados to visit Rome and Florence,
so today London is a must see for virtually every young person
During the past twenty years it has experienced an economic boom which has acted as a magnet
for inward migration, not only from the deprived areas of the world but also from other parts
of Northern Europe and North America. But even without this gold-rush, London has consistently
been quoted by many as a very attractive and desirable place in which to live. It is a truly
world city in which every one feels at home. People have mentioned that warm and welcoming feeling
when arriving in or returning to London from abroad.
With a current population of around 7.5 million, London is the largest city in the European
Union and the third largest in Europe after Moscow and Istanbul. At its peak in 1939
London had a population over 8.6 million. This gradually declined to 6.8 million in 1981
but the trend reversed and the population is expected to reach 8.2 million by 2016.
Although myths and fables, specially those ascribed to Geoffrey of Monmouth (ca 1100), mention
celtic settlements under a King Lud, after whom Ludgate is said to have been named, it was not
until the Roman conquest proper in 43AD that firm evidence exists for settlements in London.
Eventually, Londinium became the principle Roman city in Britain, replacing Colchester.
It was sacked during the uprising by the Iceni under Queen Boadicea around 60AD, but rebuilt
and its population reached 60,000 inhabitants. During their occupation the Romans built a
defensive wall on the landward side of the city and parts of this 'London Wall' still
stand. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and Rome's withdrawal
from Britain in 410AD Londinium itself went into decline and was for a time
From the 6th century Anglo-Saxons arriving from the Jutland area of Northern Germany
began settling around Londinium and from the 9th century Viking incursions from Denmark
and Norway became frequent. This was a time of frequent conflict between the Saxons
and the Vikings and names such as King Alfred the Great, Guthrum, Aethelred, Aethelstan,
King Sweyn Forkbeard, King Canute and Edward the Confessor appear in the chronicles.
Edward the Confessor died leaving no apparent heir and his cousin Duke William of Normandy
claimed the throne. However, the Royal Council elected Edward's brother-in-law, Harold
Godwinson, as King, which lead to the Norman invasion of 1066. It is from this period
onwards that London fully comes into recorded history with a continuity of unbroken
development until today.
Today London extends to the Greater London area and consists of 32 Borough Councils plus the 'City'.
Central London comprises the 'City of London', essentially based at the site of the old
Roman Londinium, and the 'City of Westminster' to its west. Surrounding these, north
and south of the River Thames, are the boroughs comprising 'inner London' and
'outer London'. The inner London areas carry the name London and have London geographic postcodes,
namely N, W, E, NW, SE and SW. The outer London areas are those which once belonged
to the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey and Kent but which, because of contiguous
growth and transport links, have now been absorbed into the administration of Greater London.
Greater London has a mayor, nominally elected, and is governed from County Hall. The individual
boroughs have their own elected councils and deal with local matters.
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