IntroductionLondon, capital of Great Britain, SE England, on both sides of the Thames River. Greater London (1991 pop. 6,378,600), c.620 sq mi (1,610 sq km), consists of the Corporation of the City of London (1991 pop. 4,000), usually called the City, plus 32 boroughs. The City is the old city of London and is the modern city's commercial center; it is also referred to as the "Square Mile" because of its area. The 12 inner boroughs that surround the City are Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea. The 20 outer boroughs are Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Ealing, Brent, Harrow, Barnet, Haringey, and Enfield. Greater London includes the area of the former county of London, most of the former county of Middlesex, and areas that were formerly in Surrey, Kent, Essex, and Hertfordshire. Each of the boroughs of Greater London elects a council. The City elects a lord mayor (whose residence is the Mansion House), aldermen, and councilmen. Both the City of London and Greater London (not including the City) are ceremonial counties under the Lieutenancies Act.
The Greater London Council administered the larger London area until 1986, when it was abolished by the Thatcher government, making London unique as a world metropolis without a central governing unit. In 1999 the Greater London Authority Act reestablished a single local governing body for the Greater London area, consisting of an elected mayor and the London Assembly. Elections were held in 2000, and Ken Livingstone became Greater London's first elected mayor.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography