The City of London

City of London Walk

There are many things to see in the City of London.  

This self-guided tour will show you the highlights of the City of London, a part of but somewhat distinct from Greater London.

This can be a companion or prep guide for taking our City of London Tour, which also comes in an audio tour format. Read more »

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We include tips on how to get here, ticket prices, studio highlights, and what should not be missed.

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In this post, we list the top places in London where you can eat meat pies and mash. Read more »

City of London vs. London

City of London vs. London | What Are the Differences?

This post provides details about the differences between the actual City of London and the surrounding area known as Greater London.

When tourists visit London, they tend to think of the entire area as one city, but that’s technically not the case.

Let’s get some knowledge!

 

 

WHAT IS THE CITY OF LONDON?

The real City of London is located at the centre of Greater London, and it comprises around 2 square miles of space with only around 10,000 residents.

Despite the relatively small number of people living there and the limited space, the city welcomes around 400,000 commuters every day who work in all the buildings you’ll find here, many of which we’ll cover below.

 

 

The City of London is essentially the same area which was once known as Londinium during the Roman era.

There are ruins and artefacts on display in many different locations, and we cover some of them in our post on Roman London Ruins.

A total of 10 million tourists visit this city every year, which ensures that it remains a thriving and popular location to visit while you’re in London.




WHERE IS THE CITY OF LONDON?

If you’re wondering how to tell whether or not you’re in the City of London, there are a few different ways to find out which we cover in the list of differences below.

 

Where is the City of London

 

You can also use this map or Google Maps to see the boundaries of this city and figure out whether or not you’re actually within city limits.

Here are a few things you can look for to help determine if you’re actually in the City of London.


Dragon Boundary Marks

You’ll know you’re in the real City of London when you pass by one of these large dragon statues.

There are a total of 13 Dragons which delineate the boundaries of the city.

 

 

Dragon Boundary Marks

 

Each dragon is made out of cast iron and painted silver with touches of red in their wings and tongue.

The shield they bear is the City of London’s coat of arms.


Street Signs

This is another easy way to figure out if you’re in the actual City of London or the Greater London area.

The street signs in the city itself all have both the coat of arms and they specifically state they are in the “City of London,” while signs outside of this area will say “City of Westminster” or the name of another city or district.

 

Street Signs City of London

 

To be honest, while it’s interesting that they have statues of lions at the borders of the city, this is most likely going to be the easiest method to determine whether or not you’re in the right location.

And no, it’s not named after him 🙂


Street Poles

As you walk down the sidewalks of the City of London, you might see a few poles lining the road.

If you look closer, you’ll find they are marked with the name and coat of arms for the city, making this another easy way to tell if you’re in the right place.


What Makes the City of London Special?

There are some key differences between the City of London and the area surrounding it, Greater London.

This section details some of the distinctions that make this city so unique.


Flag of the City of London

Based on the flag of England, this design features the red cross of St. George on a white background with a red sword on the upper left.

You may notice, this is the same design as the coat of arms for the city.

 

City of London Coat of Arms

 

It is commonly held that the sword is representative of the sword used to behead St. Paul, the patron saint of the City of London.

One of the most interesting things about this sword is that they never allow it to point anywhere but upward.

So, there are actually special flags created for hanging as a banner which keeps the sword in the same position at the upper left of the flag.


Lord Mayor of London

Also known as The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London, this title differs from others in England, as does the political power of the person who holds the title.

 

Lord Mayor of London

 

The City of London has its own government which is partially separate from that of greater London, and the Lord Mayor is the head figure of that government.

Every November, there is a special event known as the Lord Mayor’s Show takes place in which he rides through a parade in the carriage.


The Square Mile

The City of London is also known as the Square Mile due to its history.

Originally, the area was once a Roman settlement called Londinium, and it encompassed roughly one square mile – hence the name.

Surprisingly, the city is actually now around 2 square miles in size, but sometimes a good nickname manages to last longer than its original meaning.


Police & Firefighters

The police and fire companies here are under the jurisdiction of the City of London rather than Greater London, and there are a total of 3 police stations and one fire station.

 

Police & Firefighters

 

Due to the relatively small size of the precinct, this is technically the smallest police force in all of England.


Different Taxes

Since the City of London has its own separate government, it also collects its own taxes which are different from those collected in the Greater London area.

As such, anyone living in this city can expect to pay taxes to this local government rather than the rest of the city.
 


NOTABLE SIGHTS

This section will provide information about some of the most popular locations to visit while you’re in the City of London.

Since it’s in the city centre, you will probably notice a lot of familiar landmarks on this list!


The Mansion House

This is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, and it is also used for a few official functions such as white tie dinners and speeches.

Built between 1739-1752, this location was designed in the Palladian style of architecture.

 

The Mansion House

 

Sadly, the residence is not usually open to the public, but they do offer public tours on most Tuesdays at 2 pm.

These tours cover the 18th-century rooms and Harold Samuel Collection.

Prices start at £9.50 for general admission and £7.50 for concession tickets.

A max of only 40 people are allowed in these tours, so you may want to book your tour well in advance.


The London Bridge & Tower of London

These famous and popular historic sites are actually owned by the City of London rather than the London Government, and they are of course part of the city.

The jurisdiction of this city stretches from the Tower of London to Liverpool Street in the east and Chancery Lane in the west.

So you know the differences between these two bridges?


The Guildhall

While this location is usually known as the City Hall in most cities, here it is called the Guildhall.

 

The Guildhall

 

This is where the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London goes to work each day.

During Roman times, this was actually the site of the largest amphitheatre in Britannia, and they actually have some remains of this original building on public display in the Guildhall Art Gallery.


The Gherkin

One of the most notable (and newest) landmarks in the City of London is 30 St. Mary Axe.

Even before opening in 2004, the Neo-Futuristic architectural style of the building prompted residents to give it a nickname: The Gherkin.

 

The Gherkin | London's Egg Shaped Building

 

Why this name? Well, if you look at it just right, it looks a bit like a pickle.

Due to its towering frame, this is one of the best viewing locations in all of London.


The Walkie-Talkie

This is yet another unique Neo-Futuristic building in the City of London, and much like the Gherkin, locals have given it a distinctive name related to its shape.

Once again, if you look at this building from a certain perspective, it certainly seems to resemble a large walkie-talkie, or perhaps even an old cellphone.

You’ll find this landmark at 20 Fenchurch Street. For more details, read our post about the Walkie-Talkie.


The Cheesegrater

Starting to notice a trend? The people of London really like to give proper nicknames to their buildings.

Otherwise known as the Leadenhall Building, this tall structure has the appearance of a traditional cheesegrater.

When seen from afar, the use of straight lines and triangular shapes certainly conjures up images of the kitchen utensil.

 


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The Gherkin | London's Egg Shaped Building

The Gherkin – London’s Egg Shaped Building

This post will provide information about one of the most interesting buildings in London, the Gherkin, often referred to as the egg or bullet building.

We include details about what you can expect to see here, the restaurant on-site, and the viewing area.

Let’s get started! Read more »

Who Was Elizabeth Stride_

Who Was Elizabeth Stride?

In this post, we explain who Elizabeth Stride was and how and where she became an accepted victim of Jack the Ripper. 

Who Was She?

Born Elisabeth Gustafsdotter in November 1843, she was the daughter of a farmer and his wife.

Originally, she worked as a domestic servant in Sweden where she was born.

However, by March 1865 she is recorded by police as a registered prostitute, had been treated twice for venereal disease, and had given birth to a stillborn girl.



In 1866, Elisabeth moved to London and in 1869 married a ship’s carpenter named John Thomas Stride. Together, they opened a coffee room in Poplar, East London.

(As a note it was around this time, Elizabeth began to be known as ‘Long Liz’ either for her height, a pun with her surname being stride, or because of the shape of her face)

There is not much information about their business until 1875 when it was taken over by a man named John Dale.

The following years of Elizabeth’s life are shrouded in fabrication.

 

Elizabeth Stride Youth

 

Liz claimed she had given birth to 9 children throughout her marriage, although there are no records to back this up

Then, in 1878, a saloon steamship collided with another boat in the Thames, with casualties of over 600 people.

Liz began telling people that her husband and children were killed in the disaster and that she had been on the boat, also, and was injured trying to escape.

She said that she was kicked in the mouth and suffered permanent damage, although later her autopsy would prove this was not true.

Today, it is thought that Liz began telling these stories to cover the breakdown of her marriage and also to garner sympathy so the church would give her more money. By 1881, Liz and her husband had permanently separated.


How Did She End Up in Whitechapel?

After 1881, Elizabeth is documented as bouncing between workhouses and lodging houses in the East End, where workhouses existed in abundance for the impoverished citizens of the area.

To make ends meet, Liz took up sewing work and casual prostitution.

Throughout the mid-1880s, she also engaged in a long on-again-off-again relationship with a local man, Michael Kidney whom she occasionally lived with in his house on Devonshire Street, off Commercial Road in the Whitechapel district.

 

Whitechapel Road street sign in London

 

He told police that Liz would routinely disappear from his home and go on drinking benders, which is backed up by police records showing that she was picked up in the Whitechapel area 8 times for drunk and disorderly conduct.

It’s also worth noting that Liz reported Michael to the police for domestic violence, but at her failure to appear in court, the case was dropped.


How Did She Die?

On the 29th of September 1888, Liz was cleaning rooms in her lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street.

The deputy keeper paid Liz sixpence for her work and Liz left to spend it at the nearby pub, the Queen’s Head.

She returned to the lodging house, dressed “ready to go out” according to another lodger, and departed at 7:30 pm for the final time.

Liz was next seen at 11:00 pm sheltering from the rain in a doorway of the pub by two laborers, J. Best and John Gardner.

She was with a man, around 5ft 5in tall who was wearing a black morning suit and a hat.

The witness claimed the couple were hugging and kissing and the workmen invited them into the pub to have a drink, which the man refused.

They then called out to Liz in a teasing manner, “Watch out, that’s Leather Apron getting ‘round you!” On hearing that, the couple left “like a shot.”

She was next seen at 11:45 on Berner street, with a short gentleman wearing a short coat and a sailor’s hat who was heard saying to Liz, “You would say nothing but your prayers.”

Next, she was witnessed just after midnight by PC William Smith near Dutfield’s Yard, opposite the International Working Men’s Educational Club,  where she was standing with a man approximately 28 years old, with a dark complexion and mustache.

 

Berner Street

 

Finally, around 12:45 a man named Israel Schwartz reported seeing a man stop to speak to a woman (later identified as Elizabeth) who was standing in the gateway near the Club.

He tried to pull the woman into the street but when she resisted, he threw her down and turned to a man standing on the opposite side of the street and called out, “Lipski.”

Schwartz decided to walk on and realized he was being pursued by the man who had been standing on the street so he began to run, and was then not followed again.

This was the last living sighting of Elizabeth Stride.

At 1:00 am, Louis Diemschutz entered Dutfield’s Yard driving his cart and pony. The pony shied away and refused to proceed – but Louis could not see what the problem was as it was so dark.

He probed about in the blackness and touched a body which, somebody Louis believed was either drunk or asleep.

He entered the Club to get help in rousing the woman, but when he and two other men returned to the Yard with a lantern they discovered that the woman was dead, with her throat cut.

Her body was still warm and Louis forever believed that the killer had been in the yard when he arrived with his Pony, and it was only the darkness that stopped him coming face to face with Jack the Ripper.


Jack the Ripper’s Third Victim

A doctor was called who pronounced Liz dead at 1:16 am. The coroner reported that her throat was deeply gashed, six inches in length. However, this was the extent of Elizabeth’s injuries.Elizabeth Stride

This meant that her death matched those of the three previous victims in that the day of the week, time, type of site, characteristics of the victim, and method of murder were all the same.

But there was no mutilation to her body – the hallmark of Annie and Mary Anne’s murders.

At first, this seemed curious, but if Louis Diemshutz was correct, he may have interrupted the murder before he was able to complete his work.

This theory also seems to check out and was believed by investigators, given what would happen an hour later, within walking distance of Elizabeth’s murder – the brutal slaying and mutilation of Catherine Eddowes.


Where Did Elizabeth Die?

Dutfield’s Yard was a small courtyard situated next to the International Working Men’s Club at No. 40 Berner Street.

At the time, Berner Street contained a variety of buildings and was mostly residential, aside from the Club.

 

Where was Elizabeth Stride Killed

 

Today, the street is called Henriques Street and the housing where Elizabeth died has been swept away to clear space for the construction of a primary school.

 

 

To learn more about Annie’s tragic death and the street where it happened, consider joining our Jack the Ripper walking tour, or download our GPS-enabled Audio Guide. 


Suspects

The fledgling police force now knew they had a repeat murderer on their hands.

The list of accused and suspected men was growing, although the so-called “Leather Apron” was still the widely recognized guilty party by the public in the East End, as referenced by the workmen teasing Liz about him in the hours before she died.

80,000 leaflets requesting information had been distributed to the neighbourhood and over 2000 lodgers would be interviewed by Police. 


Who Was Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper is the name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the Whitechapel area of East London in 1888. 

At first, the killer was known as the “Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron” until a taunting letter arrived at a police station, in which the writer claimed to be the killer who signed his note with the name “Jack the Ripper.”

 

Jack the Ripper sketch

 

The victims of Jack the Ripper are all linked together by the following:

  • All were prostitutes
  • All had their throats slashed
  • All suffered mutilation to their bodies
  • At least three had the removal of organs after they died

No witness has ever come forward with a clear, verifiable description of the killer.

With the killings taking place during the fledgling years of police crime scene investigation, much evidence has been contaminated or lost, meaning the exact identity of the killer is unlikely to ever be known.

You might care to read our post title, Who Was Jack the Ripper, for a more in-depth exploration.


The Canonical Five

Before Mary Ann Nichols was killed at the end of August 1888 there had already been a large number of attacks against women in the East End area.

There are 11 separate murders that had been documented as part of the “Whitechapel Murders.”

Historians often disagree as to if some of the other murders were the work of Jack the Ripper but most experts point to five victims as the only confirmed victims of Jack the Ripper.

They are identified as such by the deep throat slashes, abdominal and genital mutilation, and the progressive facial mutilations of the victims as the modus operandi of Jack the Ripper.

The victims in order of their murder are:

  • Mary Ann Nichols
  • Annie Chapman
  • Elizabeth Stride
  • Catherine Eddowes
  • Mary Jane Kelly

Be sure to read our full post on the victims of Jack the Ripper.


Jack the Ripper Tours

If you would like to learn more about Jack the Ripper, consider taking one of our regularly scheduled walking tours of the Whitechapel area.

On our Jack the Ripper Tour you will visit crime scenes, learn about the women who were brutally and tragically killed, hear descriptions of the acts committed by the culprit, and walk in the footsteps of the world’s most famous serial killer.

If you can’t attend our walking tour, consider downloading our GPS-enabled Self-Guided Audio Tour.

 


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