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It is situated in south-eastern England at the head of the River Thames estuary. Settled by the Romans as an important shipping point for crops and minerals, it gradually
developed into the wealthy capital of a thriving industrial and agricultural nation. The expansion in the 19th century of the British Empire increased London rquote s influence still further. Since World War II the city rquote
s prominence on the international stage has diminished, but it remains a flourishing financial centre and home to one of the world rquote
s most important stock exchanges. In addition, it is the foremost tourist destination in Britain, a centre of academic excellence, and one of the cultural capitals of the world emdash well deserving of the observation by Samuel Johnson that: '93

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life '94.}{ cf1
par }{ f1 fs20 cf1 The term '93City of London '94, or '93the City '94
, is applied only to a small area known as the Square Mile (2.59 sq km/1 sq mi) that was the original settlement (ancient Londinium) and is now part of the financial and business district of the metropolis. The City of London and 32 surrounding boroughs c
nstitute the Greater London metropolitan area, which covers some 1,580 sq km (620 sq mi). The 13 inner London boroughs are Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Ha
lets, Wandsworth, and the City of Westminster. The 19 outer boroughs are Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond u
pon Thames, Sutton, and Waltham Forest.}{ cf1
par }{ b f1 fs20 cf1 Government and Administration }{ cf1
par }{ f1 fs20 cf1 London is the seat of central government in Britain. The Houses of Parliament emdash the House of Commons (the lower house) and the House of Lords (the upper house) emdash are located at Westminster.
Downing Street (home to the Prime Minister at No 10, and traditionally the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at No 11), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Treasury, and the Ministry of Defence are concentrated around Whitehall. Various other government d
partments and public bodies are also sited in central London. Within the Government, the Secretary of State for the Environment has responsibility for the capital as Minister for London. The administrative structure of the legal system, and the central of
fices of the main political parties, are also based in London.}{ cf1
par }{ f1 fs20 cf1 Over 70 (out of 659) Members of Parliament are returned to Westminster from constituencies in the Greater London metropolitan area, and the capital returns 10 of England rquote s 71 representatives to
the European Parliament. Unlike other major cities, there is no single body governing Greater London. Prior to the late 1880s, when the London County Council (LCC) was established, the four counties of Essex, Kent, Middlesex, and Surrey administered the a
ea, together with the ancient City of London and many smaller local authorities. In 1965 Greater London was created under the jurisdiction of the Greater London Council. This council was abolished in 1986, and today each inner and outer borough and the Ci
y of London itself has its own governing council. The borough councils consist of councillors elected every four years, who in turn annually elect their presiding official. Councils are responsible for the provision of most local services including educat
ion, housing, social services, local planning, roads, refuse collection, recreation, and culture. They do not control the police (except in the case of the City of London), fire service, or public transport. London rquote
s Metropolitan Police Service is the responsibility of the Home Secretary (a senior government minister). London Transport is a statutory corporation whose remit is to provide transport for the capital.}{ cf1
par }{ f1 fs20 cf1 The City of London, the ancient heart of the city, has only about 5,000 residents (although wel
l over 300,000 people work there each day). It is governed by the Corporation of the City of London. Among local authorities, the Corporation is unique; it is the oldest in the country and operates on a non-party-political basis.

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