London, the capital of the British Empire, and the largest, most populous, and most widely-famed city of the world, lies upon both banks of the river Thames, and on the hills which enclose the river valley, about 50 miles W of the Nore. The dome of St Paul's Cathedral, which stands nearly in the centre of London proper or London city, is situated in 50° 30' 47-55" N lat., and 0° 5' 48.2" W long. of Greenwich. The old city of London is situated wholly in Middlesex, but the town beyond the city limits extends into four counties, Essex and Middlesex on the N, and Kent and Surrey on the S. Articles on many districts of London are dispersed throughout this work. In the present article we shall endeavour to give a comprehensive view of the entire metropolis under the following headings:
B. Historical Localities.
C. Extent, Divisions, Population, &c.
D. General Appearance.
E. Public Buildings, Parks, Theatres, &c.
F. Museums, Libraries, and Art Exhibitions.
G. Learned and Scientific Societies, Colleges, Schools.
H. Ecclesiastical Affairs, Churches, Chapels, &c.
I. Charitable Institutions, Hospitals, &c.
K. Government, Police, Fire Brigade, &c.
L. Law Courts, Inns of Court, &c.
M. Railways, Tramways, Omnibuses, &c.
N. Commerce, Markets, Manufactures, Trades, &c.
O. List of Works on London.
Archives and Libraries
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
List of Registration Districts in London from 1837 to 1974.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for London from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (London)
Historically London consisted solely of the City of London, within the old city walls, and was almost exclusively in the ancient county of Middlesex. Parishes, as they were, consisted generally of only a few highly-populated streets, and were mostly named after the church and its' location. During the 19th century the City started to change from being a populous area to one of business and this caused the population to dwindle significantly. Many parishes amalgamated with others and some of the churches closed.
In 1889 the administrative county of London was formed, which included the old City, and parts of Middlesex, Kent and Surrey. The enlarged area was divided into Metropolitan boroughs and some parishes spanned across the county boundary. The new Metropolitan Boroughs, (with their former county in brackets), were as follows:
Battersea (Surrey), Bermondsey (Surrey), Bethnal Green (Middlesex), Camberwell (Surrey), Chelsea (Middlesex), Deptford (Kent), Finsbury (Middlesex), Fulham (Middlesex), Greenwich (Kent), Hackney (Middlesex), Hammersmith (Middlesex), Hampstead (Middlesex), Holborn (Middlesex), Islington (Middlesex), Kensington (Middlesex), Lambeth (Surrey), Lewisham (Kent), Paddington (Middlesex), Poplar (Middlesex), Marylebone (Middlesex), St. Pancras (Middlesex), Shoreditch (Middlesex), Southwark (Surrey), Stepney (Middlesex), Stoke Newington (Middlesex), Wandsworth (Surrey), Westminster (Middlesex), Woolwich (Kent).
It would be worthwhile consulting both the Map of County London and Map of Middlesex, both circa 1894.
Old map of London circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of London circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Parishes & places
The Visitation of London, taken in 1633, 1634, and 1635 is online. This currently only includes volume 1 of 2
The Visitation of London, 1568 is available to browse from the Heraldry page.