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Greater London

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greater London
London region
Status: Administrative area
Ceremonial county ¹
Region ²
Origin: 1965
- Total
9th in England
1,580 km²
- (2004 midyear estimate)
(2001 census based midyear estimate)
- Density
2nd in England


4,725/km² (in 2006)
Greater London Authority
Mayor:Ken Livingstone (Labour)
Regional assembly:London Assembly
European Parliament:London
¹ - excluding the City of London
² - called London
Greater London is the top-level United Kingdom subdivision covering London.

The administrative area was created in 1965 and covers the City of London and 32 London boroughs. Its area also forms the London region of England and the London European Parliament constituency.

It covers 1579 km² (609 sq. mi), the world's second largest city by area, and had a 2004 mid-year estimated population of 7,420,600. It is bounded by the Home Counties of Essex and Hertfordshire in the East of England region and Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Kent in South East England. The highest point is Westerham Heights, in the North Downs and on the boundary with Kent, at 245 metres.

Regional government

It is the only English region with a directly elected mayor with wide ranging devolved powers and an elected regional assembly which together comprise the Greater London Authority (the "GLA"). The current Mayor of London is Ken Livingstone. He is scrutinised by an elected London Assembly, which may amend his annual budget (by two-thirds majority) but otherwise lacks the power to block his directives. The headquarters of the GLA is at City Hall in Southwark. The Mayor is responsible for London's strategic planning and is required to produce a London Plan document.


Greater London is not a "City" as it does not have official city status; in any case one London borough, Westminster, is officially a city, as well as the City of London itself which would make such a status anomalous. A Lord Lieutenant of Greater London is appointed for its area, less the City of London; an area identical to the Metropolitan Police District; and for the purposes of the Lieutenancies Act 1997 this area is defined as a county.

The term "London" is often used in reference to Greater London or to the urban conurbation, but not to the tiny City of London at its centre; which is often styled as "the City" or "the Square Mile" and forms the main financial district. Archaically the urbanised area of London was known as a metropolis. In common usage the terms 'London' and 'Greater London' are usually used interchangeably.


Greater London is officially divided for some purposes, with varying definitions, into Inner London and Outer London. For strategic planning purposes the region is divided into five sub regions.

Local government

Further information: London borough

Greater London is divided into 32 London boroughs, each governed by a London borough council; and the City of London, which has a unique government dating back to the 12th century. They are often considered as unitary authorities but not named as such. All London borough councils belong to the Association of London Government.

  1. City of London
  2. City of Westminster
  3. Kensington and Chelsea
  4. Hammersmith and Fulham
  5. Wandsworth
  6. Lambeth
  7. Southwark
  8. Tower Hamlets
  9. Hackney
  10. Islington
  11. Camden
  12. Brent
  13. Ealing
  14. Hounslow
  15. Richmond
  16. Kingston
  17. Merton
  1. Sutton
  2. Croydon
  3. Bromley
  4. Lewisham
  5. Greenwich
  6. Bexley
  7. Havering
  8. Barking and Dagenham
  9. Redbridge
  10. Newham
  11. Waltham Forest
  12. Haringey
  13. Enfield
  14. Barnet
  15. Harrow
  16. Hillingdon

London Assembly

Further information: London Assembly constituencies

For elections to the London Assembly, London is divided into fourteen constituencies. The constituencies are formed from the area of two or three boroughs combined. The City of London forms part of the City and East constituency.

UK Parliament

Further information: List of Parliamentary constituencies in Greater London

London is divided into 74 Parliamentary constituencies, which are all borough constituencies. They are formed from the combined area of several wards from one or more London Boroughs. Typically a single borough is covered by two or three constituencies. Their number will be reduced to 73 before the next general election.



Greater London was formally created by the London Government Act 1963, which took force on 1 April 1965, replacing the former administrative counties of Middlesex and London, adding the City of London, which was not under the London County Council, and absorbing parts of Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire. The term 'Greater London' had been used before 1965, particularly to refer to the area covered by the Metropolitan Police District or the London Passenger Transport Area.

Greater London Council

Greater London originally had a two-tier system of local government, with the Greater London Council (GLC) sharing power with the Corporation of London (governing the small City of London) and the 32 London borough councils. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986 by the Local Government Act 1985. Its functions were devolved to the Corporation and the London boroughs with some functions transferred to central government and joint boards.

Greater London Authority

Greater London was used to form the London region of England in 1994. A referendum held in 1998, established public will to create a regional authority. The Greater London Authority, London Assembly and the directly-elected Mayor of London were created in 2000 by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. The 2000 and 2004 mayoral elections were both won by Ken Livingstone, who had been the final leader of the GLC. In 2000 the outer boundary of the Metropolitan Police District was re-aligned to the Greater London boundary.



The population on the current territory of Greater London rose from about 1.1 million in 1801 (back then only about 0.85 million people were in the urban area of London, while 0.25 million were living in villages and towns not yet part of London) to an estimated 8.6 million in 1939, but declined to 6.8 million around 1980, before starting to rebound in the beginning of the 1980s. As of 2003, the population in Greater London has only recovered the level of the beginning of the 1970s (which was also the level of population in 1921). Some researchers expect the population of Greater London to reach 8.15 million by 2016, which would still be 0.45 million short of the 1939 peak.

Figures here are for Greater London in its 2001 limits. Figures before 1971 have been reconstructed by the Office for National Statistics based on past censuses in order to fit the 2001 limits. Figures from 1981 onward are midyear estimates (revised as of 2004), which are more accurate than the censuses themselves, known to underestimate the population of London.

1891 April 5/6 5,572,012
1901 March 31/April 1 6,506,954
1911 April 2/3 7,160,525
1921 June 19/20 7,386,848
1931 April 26/27 8,110,480
1939 Midyear estimate 8,615,245
1951 April 8/9 8,196,978
1961 April 23/24 7,992,616
1971 April 25/26 7,452,520
1981 Midyear estimate 6,805,000
1991 Midyear estimate 6,829,300
2001 Midyear estimate 7,322,400
2003 Midyear estimate 7,387,900
2006 Midyear estimate 7,511,989


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Inner London at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 64,616 7 8,147 56,461
2000 92,330 6 10,094 82,229
2003 112,090 12 10,154 101,924

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Outer London at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 44,160 51 10,801 33,307
2000 60,304 43 12,529 47,732
2003 67,582 39 13,081 54,462

Note 1: includes hunting and forestry

Note 2: includes energy and construction

Note 3: includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Note 4: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

Wider population

Greater London is not exactly coterminous with London's built up area and a somewhat wider Greater London Urban Area has been defined and is used for mainly statistical purposes. London's wider metropolitan area is known as the London commuter belt.

This article was copied on 11 July 2006. The current version with history is available on Wikipedia.
Text on this page is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details)

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