City of Westminster

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City of Westminster
City and London borough
Coat of arms of the City of Westminster at Westminster City Hall
Coat of arms of the City of Westminster at Westminster City Hall
Official logo of City of Westminster
Council logo
File:City of Westminster in Greater London.svg
Westminster shown within Greater London
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region London
Ceremonial county Greater London
Status City and London borough
Admin HQ City Hall, Victoria Street
Created 1 April 1965
 • Type London borough council
 • Body Westminster City Council
 • Leadership Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)
 • Lord Mayor Audrey Lewis
 • MPs Karen Buck (Lab), Mark Field (Con)
 • London Assembly Kit Malthouse (Con) AM for West Central
 • EU Parliament London
 • Total 8.29 sq mi (21.48 km2)
Area rank 318th (of 326)
Population (mid-2014 est.)
 • Total 233,292
 • Rank 69th (of 326)
 • Density 28,000/sq mi (11,000/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1] 35.2% White British

2.3% White Irish
0% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
24.1% Other White
0.9% White & Black Caribbean
0.9% White & Black African
1.6% White & Asian
1.8% Other Mixed
3.3% Indian
1.1% Pakistani
2.9% Bangladeshi
2.7% Chinese
4.6% Other Asian
4.2% Black African
2% Black Caribbean
1.3% Other Black
7.2% Arab

3.9% Other
 • ONS code 00BK
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcodes EC, NW, SW, W, WC
Area code(s) 020
Police force Metropolitan Police

The City of Westminster (Listeni/ˈwɛstmɪnstər/) is an Inner London borough which occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End. It is to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary is the River Thames. It was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon creation, Westminster was awarded city status, which had been previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster.

Aside from a number of large parks and open spaces, the population density of the district is high. Many sites commonly associated with London are in the borough, including St. James's Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and 10 Downing Street. The borough is divided into a number of localities including the ancient political district of Westminster around the Palace of Westminster; the shopping areas around Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Bond Street; and the night time entertainment district of Soho. Much of the borough is residential, and in 2008 it was estimated to have a population of 236,000. The local authority is Westminster City Council.

Coat of arms

The Westminster coat of arms were given to the city by an official grant on September 2, 1964.[2]

Westminster had other arms before, which was identical to the chief in the present arms. The symbols in the lower two thirds of the shield stand for former municipalities now merged with the city, Paddington and St. Marylebone.[2]


The origins of the City of Westminster pre-date the Norman Conquest of England. In the mid-11th Century king Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, only the foundations of which survive today. Between the abbey and the river he built a palace, thereby guaranteeing that the seat of Government would be fixed at Westminster, and inevitably drawing power and wealth west out of the old City of London.[3]

For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct. It was not until the sixteenth century that houses began to be built over the adjoining fields, eventually absorbing nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that exists today. Westminster briefly became a city (in the sense of the seat of a bishop) in 1540 when Henry VIII created the short-lived Diocese of Westminster.

The present-day City of Westminster as an administrative entity with its present boundaries dates from 1965, when the City of Westminster was created from the former area of three metropolitan boroughs: St Marylebone, Paddington, and the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, which included Soho, Mayfair, St. James's, Strand, Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia, and Hyde Park. This re-structuring took place under the London Government Act 1963, which significantly reduced the number of local government districts in London, resulting in local authorities responsible for larger geographical areas and greater populations.

The Westminster Metropolitan Borough was itself the result of an administrative amalgamation which took place in 1900. Sir John Hunt O.B.E was the First Town Clerk of the City of Westminster, 1900–1928.

Prior to 1900, the area occupied by what would become the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster had been administered by five separate local bodies: the Vestry of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of St Martin in the Fields, Strand District Board of Works, Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of Westminster St James.

The boundaries of the City of Westminster today, as well as those of the other London boroughs, have remained more or less unchanged since the Act of 1963.



Ethnic Group 2011[4]
Number %
White: British 77,334 35.25%
White: Irish 4,960 2.26%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 76 0.03%
White: Other 52,960 24.14%
White: Total 135,330 61.68%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 7,213 3.29%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 2,328 1.06%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 6,299 2.87%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 5,917 2.70%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 10,105 4.61%
Asian or Asian British: Total 31,862 14.52%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 4,449 2.03%
Black or Black British: African 9,141 4.17%
Black or Black British: Other Black 2,882 1.31%
Black or Black British: Total 16,472 7.51%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 1,869 0.85%
Mixed: White and Black African 1,927 0.89%
Mixed: White and Asian 3,584 1.63%
Mixed: Other Mixed 4,015 1.83%
Mixed: Total 11,395 5.19%
Other: Arab 15,724 7.17%
Other: Any other ethnic group 8,613 3.93%
Other: Total 24,337 11.09%
BAME: Total 84,066 38.32%
Total 219,396 100.00%


Religion 2011[5]
Number %
Christian 97,877 44.61%
Buddhist 3,194 1.46%
Hindu 4,178 1.90%
Jewish 7,237 3.30%
Muslim 40,073 18.27%
Sikh 496 0.23%
Other religion 1,280 0.58%
No religion 44,542 20.30%
Religion not stated 20,519 9.35%
Total 219,396 100.00%


Local government

The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. Westminster City Council is currently composed of 48 Conservative Party members and 12 Labour Party members.[6][7]

A Lord Mayor is elected annually to serve as the official representative of the city for one year. See List of Lord Mayors of Westminster for a list of former Mayors (1900–1965) and Lord Mayors (1965 to date).

UK Parliament

Evolution of Parliamentary representation
1918 1950 1974 1979 1997 2010
St Marylebone Westminster North Regent's Park and Kensington North Westminster North
Paddington North Paddington
Paddington South Cities of London and Westminster
Westminster St George's Cities of London and Westminster Cities of London and Westminster
Westminster Abbey
City of London


The City of Westminster covers all or part of the following areas of London:


The City of Westminster is home to a large number of companies. Many leading global corporations have chosen to establish their global or European headquarters in the City of Westminster. Mayfair and St. James's within the City of Westminster also have a large concentration of hedge fund and private equity funds. The West End is known as the Theatre District and is home to many of the leading performing arts businesses. Soho and its adjoining areas house a concentration of media and creative companies. Oxford Street is one of the leading shopping destinations in the world.[citation needed] The list of companies includes

BP head office in St. James's, City of Westminster
The Economist Building, St James's Street

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London is in Westminster.[13][35]

Companies that previously had their head offices in the City of Westminster include Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), British Aircraft Corporation,[13][36] British Midland (Portland House),[37] British United Airways,[38] British Mediterranean Airways,[39] Cadbury,[40] Diageo,[41] BAA Limited,[13][42][43] Lloyd International Airways,[44] and P&O Princess Cruises.[45] In addition, Iran Air previously had its Piccadilly main sales office in the city.[46][47]


The City of Westminster contains many of the most famous sites in London. Some of the popular tourist sites are Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) which includes Big Ben, and nearby Westminster Abbey.

Parks and open spaces

These include Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park and St. James's Park. In addition to parks and open spaces within the borough, the City owns and maintains East Finchley Cemetery and crematorium in the London Borough of Barnet.



These include Chelsea Bridge, Grosvenor Bridge, Vauxhall Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Hungerford Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, listed west to east (downstream).

National Rail stations

Stations include: London Charing Cross; serving the South Eastern Main Line via South East London and Kent. London Marylebone; serving the Chiltern Main Line via North East London, the West Midlands and Birmingham. London Paddington; serving the Great Western Main Line via South West England, Wales and Heathrow Airport and London Victoria; serving the Brighton Main Line and the Chatham Main Line. These are all main London termini stations.

London Underground

The City of Westminster is served by 27 tube stations, and 10 of the 11 London Underground lines (the Waterloo and City line is the exception).

Electric charging points

Westminster City Council now has electric vehicle charging points in 15 locations through the city (13 car parks and two on-street points). Users pay an annual fee to cover administration costs to register and use the points.[48]

Travel to work

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were: underground, metro, light rail, tram, 21.0% of all residents aged 16–74; on foot, 9.3%; bus, minibus or coach, 9.3%; driving a car or van, 6.0%; work mainly at or from home, 5.5%; bicycle, 3.1%; train, 3.0%.[49]


The main entrance to the London School of Economics

Westminster Children's Services administers many primary and secondary schools. In addition, there are several state-funded faith schools, primarily Church of England (CE), and Roman Catholic (RC), but Christian non-denominational (ND) schools are also in the borough,[50] and there are several non-profit-making junior and senior independent schools.

Universities and colleges

Public libraries

Charing Cross Library

The London Library, an independent lending library, is at 14 St. James Square.[51][52]

The city operates two reference libraries; Westminster Reference Library and Marylebone Information Service.[53] Westminster Reference Library holds several special collections: of which the Sherlock Holmes, Arts and Business collections are the most comprehensive.[54] Free City of Westminster – operated public lending libraries in Westminster include:

  • Charing Cross Library[55]
  • Church Street Library[56]
  • The Maida Vale Library[57]
  • Marylebone Library[58]
  • Mayfair Library[59]
  • Paddington Library[60]
  • Pimlico Library[61]
  • Queen's Park Library[62]
  • St. John's Wood Library[63]
  • Victoria Library[64]

In addition to the collections in Westminster Reference Library the city has two specialist libraries, the Westminster Music Library, the largest music library in the United Kingdom,[65] and the Westminster Chinese Library in the Charing Cross Library.[66]

Home ownership

In terms of tenure, the borough ranks highest on one standard criteria in analysing housing supply and demand, the proportion of private rented accommodation relative to other types of housing in England. This is indicative of a high density of development and higher investment demand relative to other districts in England and most of the 15 highest-ranking local authorities are boroughs of Greater London. Tourism also increases the proportion of willing third-party landlords, as the two authorities which are outside London in the list are England's largest south coast holiday resorts.

Highest-ranked local authorities by proportion of Social Housing (2011 Census)[67]
Local Authority Privately rented Socially rented Shared ownership
City of Westminster London Borough 37.6 11.9 0.8
Kensington and Chelsea London Borough 34 9.2 0.9
City of London London Borough 33.1 10.4 0.3
Newham London Borough 32.6 18.3 1.8
Tower Hamlets London Borough 30.8 17.3 2.4
Camden London Borough 30.5 23 0.7
Haringey London Borough 30.3 17 1.5
Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough 30 15.7 1.6
Wandsworth London Borough 30 12.8 1.5
Brent London Borough 28.8 9.7 1.5
Bournemouth Unitary Authority 28.2 5.9 0.7
Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority 28 9.8 0.9
Lambeth London Borough 27.7 19.6 1.5
Hackney London Borough 27.6 23.8 2.3

See also



  1. 2011 Census: Ethnic group, local authorities in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics (2012). See Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom for the full descriptions used in the 2011 Census.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Westminster (London)". Heraldry of the world. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Gray, p. 68
  4. "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "2011 census – theme tables". Retrieved =8 January 2016. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. City Council Elections 2010 – Results at
  7. Previous Elections (for by-election results) at
  8. "Company Info." BAE Systems. Retrieved on 31 August 2011. "Registered office 6 Carlton Gardens, London, SW1Y 5AD, United Kingdom"
  9. "London > BAE Systems plc." BAE Systems. Retrieved on 31 August 2011. "BAE Systems plc Address London – Stirling Square Carlton Gardens London SW1Y 5AD United Kingdom "
  10. "Head Office." BAE Systems. Retrieved on 31 August 2011. "As you might expect, our London Head Office is the base for our Executive Board and for other senior group managers in strategic roles." and "Head Office is located in Central London but also has a number of support functions and functional specialists based in Farnborough, Hampshire."
  11. "Terms and Conditions." BBC. Retrieved on 6 January 2010. "British Broadcasting Corporation Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA."
  12. "Contact BP in the United Kingdom." BP. Retrieved on 18 August 2009.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 "Maps." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 28 August 2009.
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  36. Gardner, Charles. British Aircraft Corporation: A History. Batsford, 1981. 40. Retrieved from Google Books on 1 September 2011. "The London headquarters chosen for bac were at 100 Pall Mall – on the top floors of a new concrete box which had sprung up on the site of the old, historic (and bombed) Carlton Club. It was the view of bac that small London headquarters[...]"
  37. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 28 September 1967. 530. "Head Office: 78 Buckingham Gate, London SW1"
  38. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 28 September 1967. 530. "Head Office: Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1"
  39. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 29 March-4 April 1995. 62. "53 Mount Street, London W1Y 5RE, UK"
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  48. City of Westminster: Additional on street charging points for electric vehicles
  49. "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Percentages are of all residents aged 16–74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey's longest part by distance.
  50. Westminster Education service accessed 17 May 2007
  51. "Libraries." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
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  54. "Westminster Reference Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 25 September 2015.
  55. "Charing Cross Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  56. "Church Street Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  57. "Maida Vale Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  58. "Marylebone Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  59. "Mayfair Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  60. "Paddington Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  61. "Pimlico Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  62. "Queen's Park Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  63. "St. John's Wood Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  64. "Victoria Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  65. "Westminster Music Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  66. "Westminster Chinese Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 21 January 2009.
  67. Office for National Statistics 2011 Census Key Statistics: Tenure.

External links

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