Legends of London
Historic Days Out
The Origins of London
London is a metropolis of over 6.7 million people,
covering an area of 157,944 hectares. It is generously provided with
open space amounting to more than 10% of the total area. London encompasses
no less than three cities within its boundaries, the City of London,
Westminster, and Southwark.
London is governed by its Mayor, currently
Ken Livingstone, but his powers are quite weak. He has control over transport
and a strategic, coordinating role elsewhere. But most of the power
remains with the 30 London Boroughs and the City Corporation.
This situation reflects a long standing fear
of a unified London held by successive Governments. In the medieval
period the King controlled Westminster and so did not want the City,
as it expanded, to take control of this area. Therefore the City's ancient
bounds were confirmed as they were in the 13th Century.
Thereafter the City refused to take control of
the troublesome poor areas around the City until the London County Council
was set up in 1888. But, the Conservative Government of Lord Salisbury
weakened the new creation by establishing London Boroughs who were given
most of the powers.
In 1965, the Conservatives reformed the LCC into
the Greater London Council - partly because London had grown beyond
the bounds of the LCC but partly to create a polity that might not always
return a Labour Council. They were successful for a time but in the
1980's, The Conservative Government of Mrs Thatcher, abolished the GLC
as it was controlled by what she saw as a 'Looney Left' Council under
the control of one Ken Livingstone. Power was returned to the Boroughs.
In 2000 the Labour Government of Tony Blair set
up a new Greater London Authority. It is designed to be streamlined
(i.e. most of the power remains with the Boroughs) and run by an elected
Mayor because local government in Britain has fallen into such disrepute
that elected mayors was considered to be the only way to reinvigorate
a very sick part of the political nation.
Museum of London
and Middlesex Archaeological Society
- London Image Database
Centre for Metropolitan Studies
London Metropolitan Archives
Greater London Authority
Pool of London
Walks & Guides
London - In their Own Words'
List of Walks
Free Self-guided walks