The City of Westminster was established in 1540, and was historically a ceremonial county in Middlesex. It is bordered by the River Thames to the south, the City of London to the east, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the west, and the London Borough of Camden to the north.
The London Westminster borough was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon its creation, it inherited the city status previously held by the then Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, which first applied in 1540. Westminster City Council is the local government body, and a Lord Mayor has been in office since 1966. The area is also under the authority of the Mayor of London, which was established in 2000.
The City of Westminster contains some of the most famous sites in London, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
In the 5th century, after Roman London was depopulated, an Anglo Saxon agricultural and trade settlement was likely established to its west, sometimes called Lundenwic ('London village'). In time, Lundenburh ('London fort'), the former Roman city with still-existing Roman walls, was repopulated and Lundenwic declined, becoming pastoral and partly known as Aldwych (Aldwic - 'old village').
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, of which only the foundations remain today. By building a palace between the abbey and the river, he ensured Westminster would remain the seat of Government, attracting power and wealth west from the old City.
There was a considerable geographical difference between Westminster and the City of London for centuries. Houses began to be constructed over adjoining fields only in the sixteenth century, eventually absorbing nearby villages like Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that we see today.
In Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey at Westminster was abolished, but the former abbey church is still known as Westminster Abbey today. Founded from parts of the Diocese of London in 1540, the church was briefly the cathedral of Westminster, granted city status by letters patent, which was retained when the diocese was abolished in 1550.
The present-day City of Westminster as an administrative entity with its present boundaries dates from 1965, when the City of Westminster was formed 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. As a result of the London Government Act 1963, the number of local government districts in London was significantly reduced, leaving local authorities with larger geographical areas and populations.
An administrative amalgamation took place in 1900, resulting in Westminster Metropolitan Borough. Sir John Hunt O.B.E. was the first Town Clerk of the City of Westminster from 1900 to 1928.
Prior to 1900, the area occupied by the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster had been administered by five separate local authorities: the Vestry of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of St Martin in the Fields, the Strand District Board of Works, the Westminster District Board of Works, and the Vestry of Westminster St James.
Since the Act of 1963, the boundaries of the City of Westminster and the other London boroughs have largely remained unchanged.
A large concentration of hedge funds and private equity funds can also be found within Mayfair and St James's within the City of Westminster. Many global corporations have their global or European headquarters here. In the West End, many of the world's leading performing arts businesses are located. Soho and its adjacent areas are home to many media and creative firms, while Oxford Street is a busy shopping destination that is recognised worldwide.