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The Wards, or Aldermanries of

The City of London

The City of London Wards or Aldermanries.

The City of London is divided into twenty five (26 before 1978) different sections called Wards, or Aldermanries. Each of these areas has its own Warden, or Alderman to take care of the administration and running of each section. The Wards were named as follows:

Dowgate Ward

Coleman Street Ward

Cheape Ward

Cordwainer Street Ward

Aldersgate Ward (within and without)

Bishopsgate Ward (within and without)

Cripplegate ward (within and without)

Bread Street Ward

Queenhithe Ward

Castle Baynard Ward

Farringdon Ward (without)

Bridge Ward (without)

Bridge Gate Ward

Tower Street Ward

Lime Street Ward

Portsoken Ward (outside the walls)

Basinghall Ward

Aldgate Ward

Langbourne Ward

Broad Street Ward

Cornhill Ward

Bridge Ward (within)

Candlewick Street Ward

Billingsgate Ward

Vintry Ward

Walbrooke Ward

The Court of Common Council

The Lord Mayor of London

The Court of Common Council meets in the Guildhall every other Thursday. It dates back to the 13th century and is presided over by the Lord Mayor. In his absence an Alderman who has previously served as Mayor presides. The opening words for each meeting are: “Domine dirige nos, Amen”. Which means Lord direct us. This is also the Corporation motto on the coat of arms.

From the 25 Aldermen of the City, and 130 Common Councillors, at least 2 Aldermen and 40 Councillors must be in attendance at the meetings. The Lord Mayor is accompanied by members of his Household Escort. There is also an assembly of Livery men who meet to elect the Sheriffs and Mayoral candidates. The public can attend these sessions, which are basically council meetings to discuss the running of the square mile.

The Lord Mayor is the most powerful man in the City of London. Only the reigning sovereign takes precedence over him. He resides at the Mansion House and his Household includes the Sword bearer, the Common Crier, and the Sergeant-at-Arms, the City Marshall.

The first Mayor of London was Henry FitzAilwyn in 1192 or thereabouts. He held the post until his death in 1212 but in 1215 King John granted the charter allowing the annual election of a Mayor. The term Lord Mayor was first recorded in 1414. The Corporation of the City is the oldest governing body still in existence today, and the rights and privileges of the citizens were recognised by William I in his 1067 charter  William is not referred to as "the Conqueror" in the City, because he never conquered it, unlike the rest of the country, he was allowed to negotiate.

Electing Councillors in the City of London.

Elections in The City of London are unique because not only City residents are entitled to vote. Businesses can also appoint workers for City Ward Elections.

To qualify for the office of Common Councilman a person must at the date of nomination, and at the date of election, be:

Aged 18 years or over and a British subject, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or a citizen of another member state of the European Union. Also, they must either (a) be registered on the City of London Ward Lists, or (b) own freehold or leasehold land in the City (if the land is leasehold and is held on a joint tenancy, the maximum number of joint tenants who can qualify is four) or (c) have resided in the City for 12 months preceding the date of nomination, and intends to reside here until the date of election

They mot be disqualified for any other reason, for example, by reason of bankruptcy or on conviction of fraud or any crime for which a prison sentence has been imposed.

A person must also be a Freeman of the City of London, this can be granted quickly for potential candidates.

City trivia spot

Exotic drinks like chocolate and coffee became fashionable in the 1600’s.The first coffee shop in the City opened in Saint Michael’s Alley in 1652 under the name of Pasqua Rosee. This was on the site of what is now the Jamaica Wine House. A wooden box on the counter with a slot for coins and the words “To Increase Promptitude”. The word TIP was born! The coffee house fashion continued, and at one time there were around 3,000 in the City. Many now famous companies were founded in these shops.  Lloyds Register, Lloyds of London and the London Stock Exchange were all founded in one.

The Aldermen of the City of London

Twenty five of the City Aldermen are elected for a term, which used to be their lifetime, but is now up until the retiring age of a Magistrate. The twenty sixth Alderman (Bridge Gate Ward) must be a former Lord Mayor, and must also have been a Sheriff of the City. This has come to be, due to the change of City jurisdiction of the ward. Southwark, which formed Bridge Ward Without, was in ancient times, a part of the City. This is no longer the case, but the old tradition carried on until 1978 when it was discontinued.

The Aldermen also have the final vote on who is to be Lord Mayor of London for the next year. The Livery men of the City elect two final candidates from the list of nominees, and the Aldermen choose from these.