Banner

Back to the English Counties Page
Facts

CIY OF LONDON

Owlbut


The City of London is not a county or a borough. It is a one mile square area.

Owlbut

Break
FUN FACTS

The City of London is the 51st and smallest county or metropolitan borough in England.
The City of London has the 50th highest population in England.
The City of London is in 4th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. The building of the Tower of London was ordered by William the Conqueror some time in the 1070s. He was worried about rebellions and wanted a massive fortress in the centre of London. The building took 20 years and wasn't finished until after William's death, which happened in 1087. Since then the Tower and surrounding buildings have had many Royal connections.

    It has been used as a prison. Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes and many others were held there. It was where the two princes, Edward and Richard, disappeared in 1483, never to be seen again. Between the end of the 13th century until 1810 all coins of the realm were made there.

    Nowadays the Tower is home to the Crown Jewels, which you can go and visit, and is guarded by the Yeomen of the Guard, popularly called the Beefeaters, who also conduct guided tours of the Tower and are very entertaining. I visited in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. The City of London Eats
  4. The City of London is too small to have any specific food.

  5. City of London VIPs
  6. The City of London is too small to have had any notable births in the last 100 years.

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. It's like a young child's fairy tale about how a kingdom will collapse if 6 birds fly away from the main castle in that kingdom. As adults we wouldn't believe that. And yet, at the Tower of London, one member of the yeoman of the guard, the Beefeaters, is known as the Ravenmaster and is responsible for the 7 (always good to have a spare) who live at the Tower.

    The story goes that it was Charles II who first insisted that the ravens at the Tower be protected after he was warned that the crown and the Tower itself would fall if they left. The 7 ravens at the Tower now (June 2021) are called Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Georgie. They are completely free to roam the Tower during the day. Sometimes the Ravenmaster may trim some of the ravens' primary and secondary flight feathers to encourage them to stay at the Tower but they are still all able to fly. They are well aware that they have plenty of food and a comfortable enclosure at night, they are quiet happy to stay. They are fed twice a day by the Ravenmaster and have a special diet of mice, chicks, rats and assorted raw meat. Apparently, as a special treat, they are given biscuits soaked in blood. Nice, or maybe bourbon which could explain Marie Antoinette's comment about what the peasants should eat. Look it up and you shouldn't have been eating while reading this anyway.

    Some ravens have gone missing in the past. A raven called Muninn flew off to Greenwich but was returned by a member of the public while Grog was last seen outside an East End pub. Meanwhile Raven George was sacked as he kept eating television aerials which is a pretty good judgement on modern programmes if you ask me.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. I could tell you about the Great Fire of London in 1666 but that's covered in our Times Past section and most school history curricula. So let me tell you something else that happened in the City of London.

    It's Monday, 12th August 1968. A young man, 19-years-old, has just got off a tube train at Moorgate Station and is making his way into the city. He is wearing a smart, dark suit, a clean well-ironed white shirt and his old boys school tie. His hair is neatly cut. He is about to start the first day of his working life. He makes his way to one of the city offices of the company he has been employed by. That company has a long history in the city. It is called the Royal Exchange Assurance Company. It had been founded in 1720 and took its name from the building where it initially had its head office. The offices this young man is going to is actually at 36 Cheapside.

    Once inside he goes up to the fourth floor and waits outside the office of the administration manager. Then he is taken up to his new section on the fifth floor. It comprises an assistant superintendent and three other staff. Their job is to calculate the premium charged to people who wish to take out various assurance policies or annuities. He is to be an actuarial student, expected to take exams and become an actuary. Four weeks after he started, those other three people had left and he was the senior in the department under his assistant superintendent. He stayed in that city job for nearly ten years but never really fitted in.

    Within a year of starting, the drab suit had gone, replaced by a double-breasted one with a trendy highwayman collar; the white shirt had become various colours from orange to purple or dark red, the tie was often a floral, hippie patterned one and the hair had grown somewhat. The City of London was changing, or at least one member of it was.

    In case you wonder what happened to him, I can tell that on August 12 this year, 2021, I will have been working for 53 years and still not being too conventional.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. Obviously the City of London was not visited on my 3 coastal trips but, as I told you above, I did spend nearly ten years working there between 1968 and 1978. I went back in 2016 and couldn't recognise anything apart from the obvious landmarks. The changes were dramatic; buildings gone, even roads changed.

    So, what do I remember. I remember working on the 15th floor of a building called Royex House that swayed in high winds. I remember climbing fifteen flights of stairs and descending twice a day because I hate lifts. I remember messages coming round the office on 28th February 1975 asking for blood donors after a train crash at Moorgate Station and I remember walking to that station on 2nd June 1970 and seeing newspaper billboards telling me that my favourite racing driver Bruce McLaren had been killed in a testing crash. I also remember taking an early lunch on Wednesday 24th June that year so I could go to a memorial service for him at St Paul's cathedral and standing on the cathedral steps alongside Graham Hill and Raymond Baxter (well look them up).

    But my best memory, most pleasant memory, is of lunch on an old paddle steamer moored to the west of London Bridge. The boat had been built in 1927 and used for pleasure cruises along the south coast until in 1940 it was involved in the evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk, making four trips across the channel and rescuing over 1,600 men. The boat, less engine and boiler, was there until 1987 and is now back in Dunkirk, apparently once again as a bar and restaurant. I wish I'd known this in 2019 when I was twice in Dunkirk. It would have been nice to see it again. From 1975 until 1978 I guess a friend and I had lunch there once a week. They did an amazing ploughman's lunch. Ah, memories.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The raven is the biggest member of the crow family. It is in fact a massive bird. It is all black with a large, chunky, medium-length beak and black legs. It has long wings and, when flying, shows a diamond-shaped tail.

    Ravens breed mainly in the north and west of England and can be best looked for in the upland areas of south west England, the north Pennines and the Lake District and, hopefully if you read our story above, still at the Tower of London. There are estimated to be 7,400 breeding pairs in the UK. Ravens eat mammals, birds, eggs, insects and other invertebrates. They also feed on carrion, which is the flesh of dead animals.

    Ravens are between 60 to 68 cms in length, have a wingspan of between 120 and 150 cms and weigh between 800 grams and 1½ kilograms.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into the City of London check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020