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This page will briefly describe the historical development of the 32 London Boroughs, generally presenting the information in a tabular form.

Inner London Boroughs[]

The 12 boroughs of Inner London comprise the area formerly the County of London 1889-1965 and before that the "Metropolis" or area of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Before 1855 the various civil parishes of the built up areas of Kent, Middlesex and Surrey were administered partly by the vestries of the various Church of England parishes and partly be various trusts established by local acts of parliament.

Under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 elected vestries were created for each civil parish. Although these had the same names as the ancient ecclesiastical parishes (even including the name of the saint to whom the original parish church was dedicated). Some parishes were grouped into district boards of works. In 1885 and 1894 there were alterations in the groupings of a number of parishes.

In 1900, under the London Government Act 1899, the vestries and district boards were replaced by Metropolitan Boroughs. The London Government Act 1963 replaced these by London Boroughs.

In the table the original counties in which the parishes lay are indicated by the following colours:

Kent Middlesex Surrey
Before 1855 Metropolitan Vestries and District Boards
1855-1900
Metropolitan Boroughs of the County of London
1900-65
London Boroughs since 1965
Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place Holborn District (part)[1] Metropolitan Borough of Holborn London Borough of Camden
St Andrew Holborn Above the Bars with St George the Martyr
Furnival's Inn
Gray's Inn
Lincoln's Inn
Staple Inn
Vestry of St John, Hampstead Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead
Vestry of St Pancras Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras
Deptford St Nicholas Greenwich District (part)[2] Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich London Borough of Greenwich
Became
Royal Borough of Greenwich
in 2012
Greenwich
Charlton next Woolwich Plumstead District (part)
1855-1894
Lee District (part)
1894-1900[3]
Kidbrooke
Woolwich Local Board[4] Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich[5]
Eltham Plumstead District (part)
1855-1894
Lee District (part)
1894-1900[3]
Plumstead Plumstead Vestry
1894-1900
St John at Hackney Vestry Hackney District
1855-1894
Hackney Vestry Metropolitan Borough of Hackney London Borough of Hackney
Stoke Newington St Mary Vestry Stoke Newington Vestry
1894-1900
Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington
Hornsey (part)[6] South Hornsey Local Board
1865-1894[6]
South Hornsey Urban District
1894-1900[6]
Shoreditch St Leonard Vestry Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch
Fulham Vestry Fulham District
1855-1886
Fulham Vestry
1886-1900
Metropolitan Borough of Fulham London Borough of Hammersmith
Renamed
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
in 1978
Hammersmith Vestry Hammersmith Vestry
1886-1900
Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith
Charterhouse Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury London Borough of Islington
Vestry of St James and St John, Clerkenwell
Glasshouse Yard Holborn District (part)[1]
St Sepulchre Middlesex
Vestry of St Luke, Middlesex
Vestry of Islington, St Mary Metropolitan Borough of Islington
Vestry of Chelsea Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Vestry of Kensington, St Mary Abbots Metropolitan Borough of Kensington
Became
Royal Borough of Kensington
1901
Vestry of Streatham Wandsworth District (part) Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth (part) London Borough of Lambeth
Vestry of Lambeth, St Mary Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth
Lee Plumstead District (part)
1855-1894
Lee District (part)
1894-1900[3]
Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham London Borough of Lewisham
Lewisham Lewisham District (part)[7]
Deptford St Paul Greenwich District (part)[2] Metropolitan Borough of Deptford
Vestry of Bermondsey Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey London Borough of Southwark
Vestry of Rotherhithe
Vestry of Southwark St John Horsleydown St Olave District
Southwark St Olave
Southwark St Thomas
Vestry of St Giles, Camberwell Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell
Vestry of St Mary, Newington Metropolitan Borough of Southwark
Vestry of Southwark St. George the Martyr
Southwark Christchurch St Saviour's District
Southwark St. Saviour
Vestry of St Matthew Bethnal Green Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  1. 1.0 1.1 In 1900 Holborn District was divided between the Metropolitan Boroughs of Finsbury and Holborn.
  2. 2.0 2.1 While mostly in Kent, Greenwich District contained one parish, Deptford St Paul, in Surrey
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lee District was divided between the Metropolitan Boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich in 1900
  4. Formed 1852 under the Local Government Act 1848
  5. North Woolwich, the area of the borough north of the Thames, was transferred to the London Borough of Newham in 1965
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The southern, detached, portion of the parish of Hornsey did not fall within the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works and thus was not part of the County of London when it was created in 1889. It formed an exclave of Middlesex surrounded by the County of London until 1900, when it was absorbed by Stoke Newington.
  7. Lewisham District consisted of the parish of Lewisham and the Hamlet of Penge, a detached part of the parish of Battersea.
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