The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.
Gracechurch Street is in the heart of Roma
n Londinium - it runs directly over the site of the basilica and forum.
The word ’Gracechurch’ is derived from ’Gres-cherch’ or ’Gras-cherche’. The ’Gracechurch’ version was not used until after the destruction of all of the buildings in the street during the Great Fire of London in 1666. During its history, the street was for a period named Gracious Street.
It was a late Anglo-Saxon street and seems to have been built around the same time as London Bridge
(10th/11th century) to which it provided access.
The church is was named after - St Benet Gracechurch
stood at the junction with Lombard Street
. It was destroyed in the Great Fire.
In medieval times a corn market was held beside the church. Leadenhall Market
dating from the 14th century is still the street’s most noted attraction.
Originally at its southern end, it was called New Fish Street. North of Cornhill
, Gracechurch continued as Bishopsgate
The street was on the royal processional route. When the monarch entered the City from the Tower, they stopped in Gracechurch Street to witness the first of a series of pageants prepared by London to welcome them to the throne.
Gracechurch Street is mentioned in Jane Austen’s ’Pride and Prejudice’ as the home of Mr and Mrs Gardiner, the uncle and aunt of the Bennet sisters.
As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.
It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City
and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.
The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.
The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.
The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.