In London, what is the "City of Westminster"?

Every so often when I see London on the news or in a movie, the street signs will say “City of Westminster”. And it always seems to be the very heart, the most important part of London, perhaps in the area they call “The City”.

What’s up with that? Is Westminster part of London, or is it an enclave, like Beverly Hills that is completely surrounded by Los Angeles? Or is Westminster just a district, and there are other “cities” around Greater London that actually do belong to it, the way that Chatsworth and Van Nuys belong to L.A>?

London is divided into boroughs. The City of Westminster is one of them. It’s in the heart of London, and includes the West End, where the biggest nightclubs and theatres are, as well as the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

The area called ‘the City’ is sometimes just generally London, but more specifically ‘the City of London.’ This is also known as the Square Mile, and is the original tiny Londinium - you can still see the old Roman walls in some places. It’s not technically a London borough. This is where Liverpool St and Bank are, and the major finance and trading houses.

More or less what Axel says - the present-day City of Westminster and the City of London are two admininistrative districts. All the boroughs are shown on this map - which makes the mistake of labelling the City of London as one. As Axel says, it’s not a borough, but operates independently, has its own police force, etc. Westminster, on the other hand, is equal to the other boroughs.

As is probably fairly obvious, both Westminster and the City have long historical roots, and a full explanation of their histories is probably beyond your needs in this post :wink:

Having said that, Wikipedia has nice concise articles, including the unique electoral and government system of the City of London:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_london

In fact, the Houses of Parliment are officially known as the Palace of Westminster. If I remember correctly.

To be strictly accurate, the Houses of Parliament are located in the Palace of Westminster:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliament/guide/palace.htm

One final point, before I stop dominating this thread…

‘In Westminster’, ‘at Westminster’ etc. is journalistic/media shorthand, roughly equivalent to ‘Washington’ or ‘Capitol Hill’, as it covers parliament, the main government departments, etc. Likewise, ‘The City’ [of London] is equivalent to ‘Wall Street’.

One more complication: there is a Mayor of London (i.e., Greater London) and a Lord Mayor of the City of London. They are two quite different people, and I’m sure that each hates being confused with the other.