The Square Mile
The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is the financial district of London.
It is the ancient core from which the rest of London developed. It has been a centre for settlement, trade, commerce and ceremony since the Roman period, producing a unique historic environment of exceptional richness and significance.
One of the reasons the Square Mile is unique, is the number of people who live, work and visit. In just 1.12 square miles, the City of London counts around 8,000 residents, 513,000 daily commuters and 10m annual visitors. The City of London boundaries stretch from Temple to the Tower of London, on the River Thames including, from west to east Chancery Lane and Liverpool Street.
The City of London Corporation
Based in Guildhall (pictured), the City Corporation looks after and promotes the City of London. It is headed by the Lord Mayor with the Court of Common Council being its main decision-making body. It is a uniquely diverse organisation, with a role that goes beyond that of an ordinary local authority. It has its own government (the oldest in the country with origins pre-dating Parliament), its own Lord Mayor and independent police force.
As the governing body of the Square Mile, it is dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. It aims to:
- Contribute to a flourishing society
- Support a thriving economy
- Shape outstanding environments
by strengthening the connections, capacity and character of the City, London and the UK for the benefit of people who live, work and visit here. Their reach extends far beyond the Square Mile’s boundaries and across private, public and voluntary sector responsibilities. This, along with their independent and non-party political voice and convening power, enables it to promote the interests of people and organisations across London and the UK and play a valued role on the world stage.
The City of London Corporation is responsible for providing local government services for residents and City workers based in the Square Mile.
However, the unique role means that its reach extends beyond the City to include:
- More than 11,000 acres of green spaces, including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest.
- Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields wholesale food markets.
- The Heathrow Animal Reception Centre.
- Housing across London
- A range of schools and academies
- London’s Port Health Authority
Court of Aldermen and Alderwomen
The Court of Aldermen forms part of the senior governance of the City of London Corporation. It comprises twenty five Aldermen of the City of London and the Recorder of London, presided over by the Lord Mayor (becoming senior Alderman during his year of office).
The Court was originally responsible for the entire administration of the City, but most of its responsibilities were subsumed by the Court of Common Council in the fourteenth century. The Court of Aldermen meets nine times a year in the Aldermen’s Court Room at Guildhall.
Some of the remaining duties of the Court include approving people for the Freedom of the City and approving the formation of new Livery Companies and Guilds, appointing the Recorder of London (senior Judge at the Central Criminal Court) and the four Verderers of Epping Forest.
Aldermen are elected at least every six years (separately from the Common Councillor elections, and not all at once). Today the Court of Common Council (100 Common Councillors and 25 Aldermen) governs the City of London Corporation, the oldest continuous municipal democracy in the world.
The range of services the City provides its workers, residents and visitors and the national and international work the City is called upon to perform is unique.
Court of Common Council
The City of London is divided into 25 wards. Each ward elects one Alderman and two or more Common Councilmen (collectively referred to as Members, equivalent to councillors), dependent on its population. There are currently 100 Common Councilmen and 25 Aldermen serving as elected representatives, representing public interest and informing how the City of London Corporation should carry out its various activities.
Common Councilmen are elected every four years to serve on the City Corporation’s committees. Their position in the City is a purely voluntary one and it is not remunerated. Between two and ten councillors are elected to represent each of the City Corporation’s 25 Wards, dependent on the size of the electorate. They work alongside the Aldermen, of which there are 25 (one per Ward), to oversee the work of the City Corporation and the delivery of a diverse range of services to residents, City workers and visitors.
WCI members in City roles
The WCI is proud to play a full part in the civic life of the City of London with many members in prominent roles.
- The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor Nicholas Lyons is a Liveryman of the WCI
- Alderwoman and Sheriff Dame Susan Langley is a Liverywoman of the WCI
- Alderman and Sheriff Bronek Masojada is a Liveryman and Past Master of the WCI
- Alderwoman Jennette Newman is a Freeman of the WCI
The following serve on the City's Common Council:
- The Hon James Bromiley-Davis is a Freeman of the WCI
- Dominic Christian is a Liveryman of the WCI
- Henry Colthurst, Deputy, is a Freeman of the WCI
- Timothy McNally is a Liveryman of the WCI
- Shailendra Umradia is a Freeman of the WCI
- David Sales is a Liveryman and Past Master of the WCI
- Irem Yerdelen is a Liverywoman of the WCI
• Dame Sue Langley and Bronek Masojada are pictured after their election as Sheriffs