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Originally the same area, the ecclesiastical parishes change as more churches were built, especially in the 19th Century. The civil parish was involved with matters such as highway repairs, while the ecclesiastical parish reflects the jurisdiction of the established church (Church of England) clergy.



The Square Mile, the original centre of London, now primarily a financial centre and no longer residential area. The Lord Mayor of London represents this small area. The 21st century has seen the election of a mayor to represent the Greater London area, Ken Livingstone.



 The metropolitan area which spread out from the City into the surrounding counties.



There are 32 London Boroughs, plus the City of London. These were created in 1965 by the amalgamation of Metropolitan Boroughs, County Boroughs and Urban Districts.

Each borough has an elected council, and they are responsible for the provision of many public services: education, environmental health, public housing, highways, consumer and trading standards, libraries, leisure facilities, and social services. They are not responsible for public transport, hospitals, police, fire and rescue and the public utilities



A very complicated subject. The original parish boundaries (also called Ancient parishes) can be traced back hundreds of years and remained unchanged for centuries. But as populations grew, more churches were required. In the 18th Century parts of the Ancient parishes were used to create new ones.

To complicate matters, these new parishes were then sub divided themselves, especially in the 19th Century, and then merged together in larger parishes as church attendances fell in the late 20th Century.

For this reason, a simple list of London parishes is not an easy task!

For those who wish to find the whereabouts of specific parish registers contact either the London Metropolitan Archives or the London Borough in which your ancestors were living. 

Don't contact the parish priest or minister, unless advised to do so by the borough or the LMA. The huge majority of church records are in the care of archivists, and not at the church.



Be warned that these can change sometimes three or four times! If you can't find the road or street you want on a current A to Z Street Map of London, contact the London borough for advice.

Do bear in mind that the lay out of London's streets has changed over the centuries and especially since 1945. Small urban dwellings were replaced by tower blocks, houses by factories and so on.

An Ordnance Survey map at 25 inches to one mile scale will solves many mysteries. These can be found at the appropriate Local library or archive, and many have been reprinted by Alan Godfrey mapseller.