While nowhere has been officially named London’s certified centre, the statue of Charles I near Trafalgar Square outside Charing Cross, has for years been widely accepted as the capital’s centre. On a plaque upon this weather-beaten monument read the words:
“On the site now occupied by the statue of King Charles I was erected the original Queen Eleanor’s cross a replica of which stands in front of Charing Cross station. Mileages from London are measured from the site of the original cross.”
Not only is this old and gnarled statue mark the former site of the original Charing Cross, but it is also the point where all distances in London are measured.
Although contesting the claims that the King Charles I monument is the official centre of London is another claimant to the honour. In 2010 business promoters in the Bloomsbury-Holborn-St Giles area suggested renaming the region as the official London “Midtown”.
While London’s actual geographical centre remains ambiguous and contested, Central London comprises of the innermost part of London. Despite there being no official defining boundaries of Central London, it’s characteristics are commonly accepted as comprising of a densely built-up area, which has a highly populated daytime population and being an area of high land values.
According to the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, Central London is distinguished by:
“The inclusion within its boundaries of Parliament and the Royal Palaces, the headquarters of Government, the Law Courts, the head offices of a very large number of commercial and industrial firms, as well as institutions of great influence in the intellectual life of the nation such as the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the University of London, the headquarters of the national ballet and opera, together with the headquarters of many national associations, the great professions, the trade unions , the trade associations, social service societies, as well as shopping centres and centres of entertainment which attract people from the whole of Greater London and farther afield.”
As we can see what is widely accepted as being ‘Central London’, a metropolis of shopping malls, business headquarters, parliamentary buildings, University campuses, entertainment and law courts, couldn’t differ more vividly to the old weathered statue of King Charles I, the point where official measurements from London take place.