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City of London Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London

City of London Corporation
Coat of Arms of The City of London.svg
Arms of the Corporation of the City of London: Argent, a cross gules in the first quarter a sword in pale point upwards of the last; Supporters: Two dragons with wings elevated and addorsed argent on each wing a cross gules;
Crest: On a dragon's wing displayed sinister a cross gules;[1]
Motto: Domine Dirige Nos ("O Lord direct us")
The Corporation's logo is a stylised form of the coat of arms of the City of London
Corporation logo: a stylised version of the arms
Peter Estlin
since 9 November 2018
John Barradell OBE
since 16 September 2012
Policy Chairman
Catherine McGuinness[2]
Chief Commoner
John Scott
Seats100 Common Councilmen
25 Aldermen
City of London Corporation 2017.svg
Court of Common Council political groups
  •      Independent (84)
  •      Temple & Farringdon Together (10)
  •      Labour (6)
Court of Aldermen committeesPrivileges Committee, General Purposes Committee
Court of Common Council committees
Court of Aldermen last election
Varies – individual mandate, up to 6 year term of office
Court of Common Council last election
23 March 2017
Meeting place
Guildhall, London
City hall London at dawn (cropped).jpg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
British politics portal

The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United Kingdom's financial sector.

In 2006 the name was changed from Corporation of London to avoid confusion with the wider London local government, the Greater London Authority.[3]

Both businesses and residents of the City, or "Square Mile", are entitled to vote in elections, and in addition to its functions as the local authority – analogous to those undertaken by the 32 boroughs that administer the rest of the Greater London region – it takes responsibility for supporting the financial services industry and representing its interests.[4] The corporation's structure includes the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen, the Court of Common Council, and the Freemen and Livery of the City. The rights and privileges of the City of London are enshrined in the Magna Carta’s clause 9 - as enumerated in 1297 - and, along with clauses 1 and 29, it remains in statute.[citation needed]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ What Is The City of London Corporation?
  • ✪ The (Secret) City of London, Part 1: History
  • ✪ Legalne przekręty londyńskiego City
  • ✪ The Empire of "The City" - Three City States: London, Vatican, District of Columbia
  • ✪ The (Secret) City of London, Part 2: Government


As historian Niall Ferguson writes in his 2011 book, “Civilization: The West and the Rest”, the city of London was an outback in the 15th century compared to some of China’s great cities. Then with international trading led by The British East India Company money flooded in, as did people of different nationalities. The population is estimated to have been 50,000 in 1530 and then in 1605 it was around 225,000 people. Throughout the industrial revolution London became the center of the world and from around 1825 to 1925 it had the largest population of any city on Earth. The British Empire faded, but London has always been a powerhouse culturally, but also economically. According to the Global Financial Centers Index, London is still the largest financial center in the world- but what is this great city truly about? Welcome to this episode of the Infographics Show, What is the city of London corporation? It may come as a surprise to some of you that London is not just a city but also a corporation. Those that don’t know are probably thinking right now what is this corporation? Does it function like the Microsoft Corporation? Does it hire and fire and post annual profits? Does it have a main headquarters and a CEO? Let’s find out. So, the Corporation of London or in legal terms the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the governing body of London’s financial district which is sometimes referred to as the “Square Mile.” Within that mile around 8,000 live, although around 400,000 people commute into that area for work every day, according to the corporation’s own website. London is divided into 33 areas, or boroughs, and this area is one of them. On its website the corporation is perhaps extremely vague when it answers the question concerning what it is responsible for. The answer it gives is, “Providing services for residents (and City businesses) in the Square Mile, but not those of other boroughs.” And yep, you can apply for a job in this corporation, just like any other. It has bosses in a sort of way and lots of staff. But let’s rewind a little. We have to go back a long way when we look at how this corporation began. In fact, it’s often called the “world's oldest continuously-elected democracy and predates Parliament.” The city of London school website writes, “The Corporation's structure includes the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen, the Court of Common Council, and the Freemen and Livery of the City. The City of London developed a unique form of government which led to the system of parliamentary government at local and national level.” We’ll make a long story short here. 2,000 years ago, the Romans founded a trading post in what is now southern England and they called it Londinium. They did what they did best and built roads, walls, bridges, and made this place an excellent hub of trading. For hundreds of years the city endured and when William the Conqueror arrived in the 11th century he quite liked it, too. He created the city of London and gave Londoners their privileges and rights so long as they accepted him as King. Done deal. He built towers around the place, including the Tower of London, and fortified the rest of London. The city of London was a special old place, and this started a kind of agreement that it should remain a power unto itself. Later monarchs to some extent feared this powerful city and they created Westminster, which is west of the city of London. You then had two cities. The city of London still had a lot of freedom, which, according to one website, was “an essential requirement for all who wished to carry on business and prosper in trade within the Square Mile.” Freemen there could do their business not impinged by outside influence. It was in 1191 that the Corporation announced itself as a commune, only one rung on the ladder below the sovereign. It judged itself, it was in a way a law unto itself. It became so powerful that in 1632 the crown asked if the corporation might extend its privileges to other areas of London, but it refused. These privileges we are talking about were mainly related to laws. As more people flooded into London, many of them refuges from the poorer Midlands and the North, the corporation was asked if it might extend its boundaries. In 1637 it rebuffed that proposal, and this became known as “The Great Refusal”. It’s when the corporation of London in some ways turned its back on the rest of London and that’s why people sometimes talk about “A Tale of Two Cities.” One historian writes, “From that point on the people of London lacked any democratic unitary municipal authority. Business and, most particularly, finance, in contrast, had the most ancient political institution in the kingdom at their disposal.” There were attempts to reform this gilded city, but the corporation stayed. In the 18th century London was flourishing, but it was the corporation that really flourished, bolstered by free trade. And it went against the monarchy at times, making it a kind of rogue entity in England. It supported George Washington and the American revolution, even sending over men to fight for American independence and also sending over lots of money – something it wasn’t short of. This was pretty much treason, but it got away with it. The corporation was untouchable. Soon Parliament replaced the Crown as the highest power and democracy supplanted the Divine Right of Kings, but still the Corporation of London remained a power unto itself, and the state didn’t want to make it subject to its practices and laws. The privileges and all the assets the corporation remained in-tact. It worked for itself, not exactly always serving the people of Britain. This of course has inspired a lot of criticism, and that criticism we hear today. Political writer George Monbiot offers us this stark line when talking about the Corporation of London: “It's the dark heart of Britain, the place where democracy goes to die, immensely powerful, equally unaccountable.” He then adds that it’s doubtful even one in ten Brits knows it exists. Are any Brits nodding their head right now? Monbiot explains that there are 25 electoral wards in the Square Mile area, but only four of them contain the 9,000 (we read 8,000 before) people that can vote. All the other votes are not people, they are business, mainly banks and finance companies. And no, it’s not the workers inside the businesses that vote, it’s the bosses. The bigger the company, the more votes it gets. This is what is known as a Plutocracy. So, even though the corporation calls itself a democracy, it’s really just an entity ruled by the most rich and powerful. It gets stranger, though, and that’s why there are tons of conspiracy theories about this corporation. So, there are different layers of elected people. They are the common councilmen, the aldermen, the sheriffs and the Lord Mayor. To get into any of these positions you must be a freeman. What the hell is a freeman? The corporation’s own website writes, “The medieval term 'freeman' meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free – hence the term 'freedom' of the City.” Nowadays if you want to apply to become a freeman, you must either show exceptional servitude, inherit the title or be nominated by a Livery company…hmm, and what exactly is a livery company? They came out of medieval guilds, developed into trading and crafts companies and are now basically just powerful entities that embrace trade and commerce. There are 110 of them in London. They have lavish dinner parties and mostly speak in a kind of archaic posh English that is sometimes mocked by the rest of the country. At the head of the table you might find the Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood. You get the picture, this is ancient, ritualistic England, a kind of Eyes Wide Shut scenario to those who might also believe the Queen is a lizard. It’s definitely a bit anachronistic and strange to most. So, to become a freeman you must also get approval by an alderman, who has already gotten approval from a livery company. If you want to become the Lord Mayor, you must have gotten approval from everyone. You must also give a lot of money away, which basically means you need to be very, very rich to get that position. As Monbiot says, it’s all about being in what the Brits call an “Old Boys Network”, which is a derogatory term meaning upper-class men that have made connections with other posh men in expensive schools and those connections are carried into adulthood. These are the people that run the corporation of London. With money as their lodestar it’s not surprising this network isn’t always playing a straight game, after all, they were partly behind the financial crisis. Even after that crisis, the Lord Mayor’s job is partly to be an advocate for liberalization. That means deregulation. This can encourage corruption. That’s why the corporation is so often criticized. In the documentary “The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire” the creators take a dim view of the Corporation of London, saying that after the empire collapsed it was this corporation that still pulled the strings in the world’s finance sectors. And it wasn’t always ethical. This was corroborated in the book, Treasure Islands, which says that because the corporation is a law unto itself, it can virtually get away with anything. The government is sometimes powerless to intervene. What goes on in the corporation stays in the corporation. Monbiot writes, “The City has exploited this remarkable position to establish itself as a kind of offshore state, a secrecy jurisdiction which controls the network of tax havens housed in the UK's crown dependencies and overseas territories.” We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars, money laundered through the corporation with absolute impunity. That’s what the critics tell us anyway. The documentary we just mentioned says this cash isn’t just the money of oligarchs, but also drug barons, gangsters, and sometimes money from African despots who have mined their poor countries’ resources but have no intention of putting the money back into their country. All this aided and abetted by this superpower within a square mile of London. We might add that a lot of cash that should have been taxable could have gone back in Great Britain, which some critics say is a reason some of the country’s poorer areas look almost third world. The author of Treasure Islands writes about this, saying the relationship between offshore islands such as the Cayman Islands and the corporation can’t be understated in terms of how important it is for those involved and how it is detrimental to the British people. “This relationship is of massive, almost transcendental importance for the UK,” he said. It’s not that the City of London Corporation is directly an offshore business, it’s just the special rules it works under allow it to direct money to tax havens. Will it change? One critic wrote, “I have observed British officials blocking attempts to strengthen international cooperation on tax information exchange by keeping discussion on offshore trusts off the agenda. This happened as recently as 2015.” It's not just islands far away, either. Most people know large companies can find a tax haven next door on the islands of the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Occupied Times writes that these three islands, “provided net financing to UK banks of a staggering $332.5 billion in the second quarter of 2009.” It’s not exactly secret, either. You can read on the Jersey Finance website that it provides services for, “corporate treasurers, institutional bankers and treasury specialists, fund promoters, brokers and other corporate financiers, Jersey represents an extension of the City of London.” According to critics hundreds of billions of dollars of cash is not getting taxed, while the Brits complain about late trains, NHS cutbacks and dole scroungers. We’ll leave you with this line from Treasure Islands: “‘There is nothing we can do’ is the typical response to those who say that the UK cracks down on the criminality, abuse and corruption run out of these places. And behind it all lies the City of London, anxious to preserve its access to the world’s dirty money.” So, what do you think about this? Can you add to the story? Let us know in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video Oldest Companies That Still Exist. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.



In Anglo-Saxon times, consultation between the City's rulers and its citizens took place at the Folkmoot. Administration and judicial processes were conducted at the Court of Husting and the non-legal part of the court's work evolved into the Court of Aldermen.[5]

There is no surviving record of a charter first establishing the Corporation as a legal body, but the City is regarded as incorporated by prescription, meaning that the law presumes it to have been incorporated because it has for so long been regarded as such (e.g. Magna Carta states that "the City of London shall have/enjoy its ancient liberties").[6] The City of London Corporation has been granted various special privileges since the Norman Conquest,[7][8] and the Corporation's first recorded Royal Charter dates from around 1067, when William the Conqueror granted the citizens of London a charter confirming the rights and privileges that they had enjoyed since the time of Edward the Confessor. Numerous subsequent Royal Charters over the centuries confirmed and extended the citizens' rights.[9]

Around 1189, the City gained the right to have its own mayor, later being advanced to the degree and style of Lord Mayor of London. Over time, the Court of Aldermen sought increasing help from the City's commoners and this was eventually recognised with commoners being represented by the Court of Common Council, known by that name since at least as far back as 1376.[10] The earliest records of the business habits of the City's Chamberlains and Common Clerks, and the proceedings of the Courts of Common Council and Aldermen, begin in 1275, and are recorded in fifty volumes known as the Letter-Books of the City of London.[11]

The City of London Corporation had its privileges stripped by a writ quo warranto under Charles II in 1683, but they were later restored and confirmed by Act of Parliament under William III and Mary II in 1690, after the Glorious Revolution.[12]

With growing demands on the Corporation and a corresponding need to raise local taxes from the commoners, the Common Council grew in importance and has been the principal governing body of the City of London since the 18th century.

In January 1898, the Common Council gained the full right to collect local rates when the City of London Sewers Act 1897 transferred the powers and duties of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London to the Corporation. A separate Commission of Sewers was created for the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, and as well as the construction of drains it had responsibility for the prevention of flooding; paving, cleaning and lighting the City of London's streets; and churchyards and burials. The individual commissioners were previously nominated by the Corporation, but it was a separate body. The Corporation had earlier limited rating powers in relation to raising funds for the City of London Police, as well as the militia rate and some rates in relation to the general requirements of the Corporation.

The Corporation is unique among British local authorities for its continuous legal existence over many centuries, and for having the power to alter its own constitution, which is done by an Act of Common Council.[13]

Local authority role

Local government legislation often makes special provision for the City to be treated as a London borough and for the Common Council to act as a local authority. The Corporation does not have general authority over the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple, two of the Inns of Court adjoining the west of the City which are historic extra-parochial areas, but many statutory functions of the Corporation are extended into these two areas.

The Chief Executive of the administrative side of the Corporation holds the ancient office of Town Clerk of London.

The High Officers and other officials

Because of its accumulated wealth and responsibilities the Corporation has a number of officers and officials unique to its structure who enjoy more autonomy than most local council officials, and each of whom has a separate budget:

  1. The Town Clerk, who is also the Chief Executive.
  2. The Chamberlain, the City Treasurer and Finance Officer.
  3. The City Remembrancer, who is responsible for protocol, ceremonial, security issues as well as legislative matters that may affect the Corporation and is legally qualified (usually a Barrister).[14]
  4. The City Surveyor, provides guidance to combine the fund management of a major central London commercial property portfolio extending to over 16 million square feet of space, with the management of the City’s 600 operational properties stretching across Greater London, including Guildhall, The Mansion House, and Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey).[citation needed]
  5. The Comptroller and City Solicitor; legal officer.
  6. The Recorder of London, the senior judge at the Central Criminal Court 'Old Bailey' who is technically a member of the Court of Aldermen; but without precedence, he processes between the senior Aldermen, i.e. former Lord Mayors, and the junior Aldermen.
  7. The Common Serjeant, the second senior judge at the Central Criminal Court 'Old Bailey', technically the legal adviser to the Common Council (i.e., Serjeant at Law to the Commoners).

There are others:

The Swordbearer and Macebearer walk ahead of the Lord Mayor, who is escorted by his Ward Beadle
The Swordbearer and Macebearer walk ahead of the Lord Mayor, who is escorted by his Ward Beadle
  1. The three Esquires at the Mansion House: The City Marshall, the Sword Bearer and the Mace Bearer (who is properly called 'the Common Cryer and Sergeant-at-Arms'); these officers run the Lord Mayor's official residence, the office, and accompany him on all occasions (usually senior military officers with diplomatic experience).
  2. The Chief Commoner who is elected by the Common Councilmen alone and serves for one year; until recently chaired all of the Bridge House Estates and property matters committees but is now honorific.
  3. The Ward Beadles; responsible to a specific Ward from which they are elected, largely ceremonial support to their respective Aldermen, and also perform a formal role at Ward Motes.


The City of London Corporation was not reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, because it had a more extensive electoral franchise than any other borough or city; in fact, it widened this further with its own equivalent legislation allowing one to become a freeman without being a liveryman. In 1801, the City had a population of about 130,000, but increasing development of the City as a central business district led to this falling to below 5,000 after the Second World War.[15] It has risen slightly to around 9,000 since, largely due to the development of the Barbican Estate. As it has not been affected by other municipal legislation over the period of time since then, its electoral practice has become increasingly anomalous.

Therefore, the non-residential vote (or business vote), abolished in the rest of the country in 1969, became an increasingly large part of the electorate. The non-residential vote system used disfavoured incorporated companies. The City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002 greatly increased the business franchise, allowing many more businesses to be represented. In 2009, the business vote was about 24,000, greatly exceeding residential voters.[16]


Eligible voters[17] must be at least 18 years old and a citizen of the United Kingdom, a European Union country, or a Commonwealth country, and either:

  • A resident;
  • A sole trader, or a partner in an unlimited partnership, or;
  • An appointee of a qualifying body.

Each body or organisation, whether unincorporated or incorporated, whose premises are within the City of London may appoint a number of voters based on the number of workers it employs. Limited liability partnerships fall into this category.

Bodies employing fewer than ten workers may appoint one voter, those employing ten to fifty workers may appoint one voter for every five; those employing more than fifty workers may appoint ten voters and one additional voter for every fifty workers beyond the first fifty.

Though workers count as part of a workforce regardless of nationality, only certain individuals may be appointed as voters. Under section 5 of the City of London (Ward Elections) Act 2002, the following are eligible to be appointed as voters (the qualifying date is 1 September of the year of the election):

  • Those who have worked for the body for the past year at premises in the City;
  • Those who have served on the body's board of directors for the past year at premises in the City;
  • Those who have worked in the City for the body for an aggregate total of five years;
  • Those who have worked mainly in the City for a total of ten years and still do so or have done within the last 5 years.[18]

Voters appointed by businesses who are also entitled to vote in a local authority district other than the City, due to their residence in that district, maintain the right to vote in their 'home' district.


A map of the Wards as they were in the late 19th century.
A map of the Wards as they were in the late 19th century.
A map of the Wards since 2003
A map of the Wards since 2003

The City of London is divided into twenty-five Wards, each of which is an electoral division, electing one Alderman and a number of Councilmen based on the size of the electorate. The numbers below reflect the changes caused by the City of London (Ward Elections) Act and a recent Ward Boundary Review.

Ward Common Councilmen
Aldersgate 6
Aldgate 5
Bassishaw 2
Billingsgate 2
Bishopsgate 6
Bread Street 2
Bridge 2
Broad Street 3
Candlewick 2
Castle Baynard 8
Cheap 3
Coleman Street 4
Cordwainer 3
Cornhill 3
Cripplegate 8
Dowgate 2
Farringdon Within 8
Farringdon Without 10
Langbourn 3
Lime Street 4
Portsoken 4
Queenhithe 2
Tower 4
Vintry 2
Walbrook 2
Total 100

Livery companies

There are over one hundred livery companies in London. The companies originated as guilds or trade associations. The senior members of the livery companies, known as liverymen, form a special electorate known as Common Hall. Common Hall is the body that chooses the Lord Mayor of the City, the Sheriffs and certain other City Officers.

Court of Aldermen

Wards originally elected Aldermen for life, but the term is now only six years. Aldermen may, if they so choose, submit to an election before the six-year period ends. In any case, an election must be held no later than six years after the previous election. The sole qualification for the office is that aldermen must be Freemen of the City.

Aldermen are ex officio Justices of the Peace (JP). All Aldermen also serve on the Court of Common Council.

Court of Common Council

The Guildhall's north wing, housing most of the City's administration units
The Guildhall's north wing, housing most of the City's administration units
On formal occasions, as here in the Guildhall, the Common Councilmen wear blue fur-trimmed robes.
On formal occasions, as here in the Guildhall, the Common Councilmen wear blue fur-trimmed robes.

The Court of Common Council, also known as the Common Council of the City of London, is formally referred to as the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the City of London in Common Council assembled.[19] The "Court" is the primary decision-making body of the City of London Corporation and meets nine times per year, though most of its work is carried out by committees.[20]

The Common Council is the police authority for the City of London,[21] a police area that covers the City including the Inner Temple & Middle Temple and which has its own police force – the City of London Police – separate from the Metropolitan Police, which polices the remainder of Greater London.

Each ward may choose a number of Common Councilmen. A Common Councilman must be a registered voter in a City Ward, own a freehold or lease land in the City, or reside in the City for the year prior to the election. The individual must also be over 21; a Freeman of the City; and a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen. Common Council elections are held every four years, most recently in March 2017. Common Councilmen may use the postnominals CC after their names.

Each year, the Common Councilmen elect one of their number to serve as Chief Commoner, an honorific office which 'serves to recognise the distinguished contribution the office holder is likely to have made to the City Corporation over a period of years.'[22] The Chief Commoner is expected to champion the Court of Common Council, to work to uphold its rights and privileges, and to offer advice and counsel to its members. S/he also represents the Court on various different committees, supports the Lord Mayor in the business of the Corporation and is prominently present on ceremonial occasions. The Chief Commoner is elected in October of each year and holds office for one year from the following April.

Following a by-election in the Ward of Portsoken on 20 March 2014 the political composition of the Court of Common Council was 99 Independent members and one Labour Party member.[23][24] Since City of London Council elections in March 2017, the council has been composed of 95 independents and five Labour Party members.[25] In October 2018, the Labour Party gained its sixth seat on the Common Council with a by-election victory in Castle Baynard ward.[26]

Committees of the City of London

The work of the City of London Corporation is primarily carried out through a range of committees:[27]

The Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs

The Lord Mayor of London and the two Sheriffs are chosen by liverymen meeting at Common Hall. Sheriffs, who serve as assistants to the Lord Mayor, are chosen on Midsummer Day. The Lord Mayor, who must have previously been a Sheriff, is chosen on Michaelmas. Both the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs are chosen for terms of one year.

The Lord Mayor fulfills several roles:

The ancient and continuing office of Lord Mayor of London (with responsibility for the City of London) should not be confused with the office of Mayor of London (responsible for the whole of Greater London and created in 2000).

Ceremonies and traditions

Coat of arms of the City of London. The Latin motto reads Domine Dirige Nos, "Lord, guide us".
Coat of arms of the City of London. The Latin motto reads Domine Dirige Nos, "Lord, guide us".

Stuart Fraser, the Corporation's Deputy Policy Chairman wrote in 2011 "it is undoubtedly the case that we have more tradition and pageantry than most",[28] for example the yearly Lord Mayor's Show.

There are eight formal ceremonies involving the Corporation:

  1. Midsummer Common Hall for the election of the Sheriffs (24 June or nearest week day);
  2. Admission of the Sheriffs, their oath taking (the nearest week day to the Michaelmas date);
  3. Michaelmas Common Hall for the election of Lord Mayor (29 September or nearest week day);
  4. Admission of the Lord Mayor, the so-called "Silent Ceremony" (Friday before the Lord Mayor's Show);
  5. Lord Mayor's Show; formally, "the Procession of the Lord Mayor for Presentation to the Lord Chief Justice and Queen's Remembrancer at the Royal Courts of Justice". (the Saturday after the second Friday in November);
  6. The Ward Motes; elections in the City Wards and general meeting of the Ward in non-election years (third Friday in March);
  7. The Spital Sermon; literally a Sermon given in the Guildhall church (St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall),[29] delivered by a senior cleric on behalf of the Christ's Hospital and Bridewell Hospital (now King Edward's School, Witley) (a day in Schools Term between March and May);
  8. United Guilds Service involves all of the Livery Company Masters, the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, the Aldermen and High Officers. This is the newest having been instituted in 1943, it is the responsibility of a special trust fund operating from Fishmongers' Hall (usually in March but so long as not conflicting with Holy Week).

Tax journalist Nicholas Shaxson said, "Whenever The Queen makes a State entry to the City, she meets a red cord raised by City police at Temple Bar, and then engages in a colourful ceremony involving the Lord Mayor, his Sword, assorted Aldermen and Sheriffs, and a character called the Remembrancer. In this ceremony, the Lord Mayor recognises The Queen's authority, but the relationship is complex: as the corporation itself says: "The right of the City to run its own affairs was gradually won as concessions were gained from the Crown.""[30]

Conservation areas and green spaces

The City of London Corporation maintains around 10,000 acres (40 km2) of public green spaces[31] – mainly conservation areas / nature reserves – in Greater London and the surrounding counties. The most well-known of the conservation areas are Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest. Other areas include Ashtead Common, Burnham Beeches, Highgate Wood and the City Commons (seven commons in south London).[32][33]

The Corporation also runs the unheated Parliament Hill Lido, in Hampstead Heath which the London Residuary Body with the agreement of the London Boroughs gave into the safekeeping of the City, for the benefit of the public, in 1989.

The City also owns and manages two traditional inner city parks: Queen's Park and West Ham Park as well as over 150 smaller public green spaces. All these green spaces are funded principally by the City of London.[34]


The City of London has only one directly-maintained primary school,[35] the Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School (ages 4 to 11),[36] which is also the only voluntary-aided Church of England primary school in the City of London. The school is maintained by the Education Service of the City of London.

City of London residents may send their children to schools in neighbouring local education authorities (LEAs). Some secondary school children enrol in schools in Islington, Tower Hamlets, Westminster or Southwark. Children who are permanent residents of the City of London are eligible for transfer to the City of London Academy, Southwark, a state-funded secondary school sponsored by the City of London located in Bermondsey. The City of London Corporation also sponsors City Academy, Hackney and City of London Academy Islington.

The City of London controls three other independent schools – the City of London School (for boys), the City of London School for Girls, and the co-educational City of London Freemen's School. The Lord Mayor also holds the posts of Rector of City University and President of Gresham College, an educational institution for advanced study.

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is owned and funded by the Corporation.


Writing in The Guardian, George Monbiot claimed that the corporation's power "helps to explain why regulation of the banks is scarcely better than it was before the crash, why there are no effective curbs on executive pay and bonuses and why successive governments fail to act against the UK's dependent tax havens" and suggested that its privileges could not withstand proper "public scrutiny".[37]

In December 2012, following criticism that it was insufficiently transparent about its finances, the City of London Corporation revealed that its "City's Cash" account – an endowment fund built up over the past 800 years that it says is used "for the benefit of London as a whole"[38] – holds more than £1.3bn. The fund collects money made from the corporation's property and investment earnings.[39]

See also


  1. ^ "The Heraldic Dragon".
  2. ^ "City of London Corporation elects new Policy Chairman".
  3. ^ The body was popularly known as the Corporation of London but on 10 November 2005 the Corporation announced that its informal title would from 3 January 2006 be the City of London (or the City of London Corporation where the corporate body needed to be distinguished from the geographical area). This may reduce confusion between the Corporation and the Greater London Authority.
  4. ^ "History and Heritage". City of London website. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  5. ^ "The Court of Common Council" (PDF). City of London Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  6. ^ Lambert, Matthew (2010). "Emerging First Amendment Issues. Beyond Corporate Speech: Corporate Powers in a Federalist System" (PDF). Rutgers Law Record. 37 (Spring): 24. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Development of local government". Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  8. ^ "The Corporation of London, its rights and privileges". 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  9. ^ "Corporation of London: Administrative history". The National Archives. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  10. ^ "History of the Government of the City of London". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  11. ^ Sharpe, Reginald R., ed. (1899). Introduction. Calendar of letter-books of the City of London: A: 1275–1298. British History Online. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  12. ^ Statute of William and Mary, confirming the Privileges of the Corporation, A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773)
  13. ^ London Metropolitan Archives Archived 4 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Information Leaflet Number 13
  14. ^ "About the City".
  15. ^ "".
  16. ^ René Lavanchy (12 February 2009). "Labour runs in City of London poll against 'get-rich' bankers". Tribune. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
  17. ^ City of London Corporation Voting FAQs
  18. ^ "". Archived from the original on 17 November 2012.
  19. ^ Example usage: interpretation clause in the Open Spaces Act 1906.
  20. ^ "Committee details - Court of Common Council". democracy.cityoflondon. City of London. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Job description" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Election results". Archived from the original on 25 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Your Councillors". 15 June 2017.
  25. ^ Thompson, Jennifer (24 March 2017). "Labour scores record win in City of London election". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  26. ^ Natasha Lloyd-Owen wins Castle Baynard by-election
  27. ^ "Committee details - Court of Aldermen". City of London. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  28. ^ Fraser, Stuart (28 September 2007). "Response: The City of London is not above the law. Our elections are free and fair | Comment is free". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  29. ^ "Spital Sermon". St Lawrence Jewry. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  30. ^ Shaxson, Nicholas (February 24, 2011). "The tax haven in the heart of Britain". New Statesman issue, The offshore City. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  31. ^ Ramblers. "Corporation of London Open Spaces | Home | Ramblers, Britain's Walking Charity". Archived from the original on 12 August 2002. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  32. ^ Ramblers. "Corporation of London Open Spaces". Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  33. ^ "Green spaces". City of London. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  34. ^ "Management of our Green Spaces". City of London Corporation. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  35. ^ Archived 5 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Archived 8 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ Monbiot, George (31 October 2011). "The medieval, unaccountable Corporation of London is ripe for protest". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  38. ^ "City of London funds". City of London website. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015.
  39. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (20 December 2012). "City of London Corporation to reveal details of £1.3bn private account". The Independent. Retrieved 13 January 2013.

External links

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