Little did I know that the City of London is actually a separate 1.12 square mile city within what we think of as the city of London. So when a Londoner says, “I am going to the city”. They mean “The City“. It is also referred to as the Square Mile.
According to an ancient Welsh legend, the name comes from a king named Lud son of Heli. He enlarged a preexisting settlement which eventually came to be renamed after him.
The City of London is a corporation and has it’s own Lord Mayor and it’s own police force known as the The City of London Police – Common Council. It is separate from the Metropolitan Police Service that polices the rest of Greater London.
The Museum of London is another one of London’s wonderful and fascinating free museums. It follows the history of the City of London from prehistoric to modern times.
The museum overlooks the remains of the ancient Roman wall which was first built around 200 AD and remained unchanged until the 18th century. The wall use to extend for 2 miles, however, today most of the wall has disappeared with several sections still visible. A section near the Museum of London was revealed during World War II during he Blitz. It is possible to take a walk following the line of the wall from Tower Hill to Blackfriars Monastery.
The City of London is home to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Leadenhall Building, aka “The Cheesegrater”, among many other impressive structures.
One of the stanzas from William Dunbar’s poem To The City of London reads:
Strong be thy wallis that about the standis;
Wise be the people that within the dwellis;
Fresh is thy ryver with his lusty strandis;
Blith be thy chirches, wele sownyng be thy bellis;
Riche be thy merchauntis in substaunce that excellis;
Fair be thy wives, right lovesom, white and small;
Clere be thy virgyns, lusty under kellis:
London, thow art the flour of Cities all.