Inner borough and autonomous district of central Greater London, England; population (2001) 7,200. A compact area, sometimes known as the Square Mile (2.59 sq km/1 sq mi), it is the financial hub of the UK and one of the world's leading centres of business and trade. The City controls the full span of London Bridge, but only half of the river Thames beneath it. It has two independent enclaves within it (Inner Temple and Middle Temple) and also controls a number of open spaces well outside its boundaries – Ashtead Common, Burnham Beeches, Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath (including Parliament Hill), Highgate Wood, Queen's Park, West Ham Park, West Wickham, and Coulsdon Common. The City is administered from the Guildhall by the Corporation of London, headed by the Lord Mayor of London. It has a unique electoral system, and is a ceremonial county with its own Lord-Lieutenant and its own independent police force, the City of London Police.
FeaturesTower of London, the city's historic fortress (originally built around 1076 and known as the White Tower); Tower Bridge (completed 1894), a Victorian-era feat of mechanical engineering; St Paul's Cathedral (1675–1710), architect Christopher Wren's masterpiece; Temple Bar, which marks the western edge of the district and the only surviving gateway to the City (it is at this bronze griffin that the sovereign has to ask permission from the Lord Mayor to enter the City); Fleet Street, once the home of Britain's national press, and the journalists' church, St Bride's (rebuilt by Wren 1672–74); Samuel Johnson's house in Gough Square (built in 1700); the Old Bailey (built at the beginning of the 20th century), officially the Central Criminal Court; Millennium Bridge, a unique, pedestrian-only bridge by Norman Foster linking St Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern art gallery; London Wall, named for the Roman rampart that stood along it and now dominated by postmodernist architect Terry Farrell's late-80s follies (sections of the 2nd- to 4th-century Roman wall are visible at London Wall, St Alphege Garden, near the Museum of London, and near the Tower of London); the Barbican Centre (opened 1982), Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue; the medieval church of St Giles Cripplegate; the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; the church of St Mary-le-Bow (rebuilt by Wren 1671–73); Bank of England, the central bank of the UK, rebuilt by John Soane (1788–1830s); the Lord Mayor's Palladian-style residence, Mansion House; Wren's St Stephen Walbrook Church (1672–79); the post-modern offices of Lloyd's of London (completed 1986), designed by Richard Rogers; the Roman Temple of Mithras at Walbrook; the Monument, Wren's memorial to the Great Fire of London; Cheapside, where the bakers of Bread Street, the cobblers of Cordwainer Street, the goldsmiths of Goldsmiths Row, and others formerly set out their stalls; Smithfield, London's meat market; Billingsgate, London's principal fish market for 900 years (until 1982); the Customs House, built early in the 19th century.
Famous people Diarist Samuel Pepys attended St Paul's school (sited next to the cathedral until it burnt down in the Great Fire of London), he also later resided in the City, and is buried here in St Olave's; poet John Milton and astronomer Edmond Halley also attended St Paul's school; lexicographer and critic Samuel Johnson compiled much of his famous dictionary here at his house at 17 Gough Square (where he lived 1748–59); writer Thomas Babington Macaulay, lived here during his childhood; John Coakley Lettsom, the philanthropic Quaker who founded London's first General Dispensary in 1770 in the City, lived and died here.