The City is the heart of London, its commercial and business part. Numerous banks, offices, firms and trusts are concentrated there. The area of the City is about a square mile. It is an area with a long and exciting history, and it is proud of independence and traditional role as a centre of trade and commerce. The City does not refer to the whole of central London but rather to a small area east of the centre, which includes the site of the original Roman town.
The City of London is one of the major banking centres of the world and one can find the banks of many nations here. Here, too, you can find the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and Lloyds, the most famous insurance company in the world.
Only five thousand people live in the City. Before and after the business hours the streets of the City are crowded with more than a million people who come there to work.
LORD MAYOR OF LONDON
The Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor, is also in the City. Since the time of Richard Whittington, who was the Mayor of London in 1397, 1398, 1406 and in 1419, the election of a new Lord Mayor of London has been celebrated by a pageant, known as the Lord Mayor’s Show. This is held every year on November 9. On this day the new Lord Mayor rides through the streets of London in his splendid coach, drawn by six horses.
In the thirteenth century, after the citizens of London had chosen a new Mayor, they had to go with him to the King’s palace in Westminster and ask the king to approve their choice.
Today the procession starts in the City and goes past St. Paul’s Cathedral as far as the boundary of the City of Westminster. It crosses the boundary and stops at the Law Courts, where the Lord Mayor is presented to the Lord Chief Justice. The Mayor makes a solemn promise to carry out his duties faithfully, and the Lord Chief Justice hands the Mayor his sword of office. Then the procession continues to Westminster, and returns to the Mansion House, which is the Lord Mayor’s official residence.