A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales and Northern Ireland or the chief sheriff of a number of paid sheriffs in U. S. states who commands the others in their court-related functions. In Canada, the High Sheriff provides administrative services to the provincial courts; the office existed in what is now the Republic of Ireland but was abolished there in 1926. In England and Wales, the offices of high sheriff arose at the direction of the Local Government Act 1972 incepting on 1 April 1974; the purpose was to distinguish sheriffs of counties proper from sheriffs of cities and boroughs designated counties corporate. Except for the City of London, having 2 sheriffs, these cities and boroughs no longer have sheriffs, leaving the remaining in England and Wales as high sheriffs; the office is now an unpaid privilege with ceremonial duties, the sheriffs being appointed annually by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council except in Cornwall, where the high sheriff is appointed by the Duke of Cornwall.
In England and Wales the office's civil enforcement powers exist but are not exercised by convention. In England and Northern Ireland the high sheriff are theoretically the sovereign's judicial representative in the county, while the Lord Lieutenant is the sovereign's personal and military representative, their jurisdictions, the shrieval counties, are no longer co-terminous with administrative areas, representing a mix between the ancient counties and more recent local authority areas. The post contrasts with that of sheriff in Scotland, a judge sitting in a sheriff court; the word sheriff is a contraction of the term shire reeve. The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king; the term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. The office of sheriff had its origins in the 10th century. While the sheriffs had been men of great standing at court, the thirteenth century saw a process whereby the office devolved on significant men within each county landowners.
The Provisions of Oxford established a yearly tenure of office. The appointments and duties of the sheriffs in England and Wales were redefined by the Sheriffs Act 1887. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974, the office known as sheriff was retitled high sheriff; the serving high sheriff submits a list of names of possible future high sheriffs to a tribunal which chooses three names to put to the Sovereign. The nomination is made on 12 November every year and the term of office runs from 25 March, the first day of the year until 1751. No person may be appointed twice in three years, unless there is no other suitable person in the county; the Sheriffs Act 1887 provides that sheriffs should be nominated on 12 November, or the Monday following if it falls on a Sunday, by any two or more of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Lord President of the Council, the Lord Chief Justice of England. These amendments were in 1998, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was granted full entitlement, not conditional entitlement, if there is no Lord High Treasurer – since the Treasurership is by constitutional convention always placed into commission, in 2006 the Lord Chancellor was removed as a nominating officer through the operation of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
These officers nominate three candidates for each county in England and Wales, which are enrolled on a parchment by the Queen's Remembrancer. Eligibility for nomination and appointment as high sheriff under the Sheriffs Act 1887 excludes peers of Parliament, members of the House of Commons, commissioners or officers of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, officers of the Post Office and officers of the Navy, Army or Royal Air Force on full pay and barristers or solicitors in actual practice; the practice of pricking is an ancient custom used to appoint the high sheriffs of England and Wales. In February or March of each year, two parchments prepared the previous November are presented to the Sovereign at a meeting of the Privy Council. A further parchment is presented to the Duke of Cornwall. Certain eligible persons nominate candidates for each county shrievalty, one of whom is chosen for each by the Sovereign. In practice, the first name on the list is nowadays always the one chosen; the Sovereign signifies assent by pricking the document with a silver bodkin by the relevant name for each county, signs the parchment when complete.
The parchment for the Duchy of Lancaster is known as the Lites, the ceremony of selection known as Pricking the Lites. The term lites, meaning list, was once reserved for Yorkshire; the Lites is used for the three ceremonial counties that fall wholly or within the boundaries of the historic county palatine of Lancaster: Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside. The practice is believed to date back to a year in the reign of Elizabeth I, lacking a pen, she decided to use her bodkin to mark th
Privy Garden of the Palace of Whitehall
The Privy Garden of the Palace of Whitehall was a large enclosed space in Westminster, a pleasure garden used by the late Tudor and Stuart monarchs of England. It was created under Henry VIII and was expanded and improved under his successors, but lost its royal patronage after the Palace of Whitehall was totally destroyed by fire in 1698. From the start of the 18th century onwards, the garden went through major changes as it fell into neglect, it was painted in 1747 by Canaletto during a period of transition, as Westminster was being transformed by the construction of new buildings and roads. By the start of the 19th century it had been redeveloped as the site for a row of townhouses, some of which were occupied by prime ministers seeking homes near the government buildings nearby; the last remnants of the Privy Garden were destroyed in 1938 during the construction of government offices which now house the Ministry of Defence's headquarters building. The Privy Garden originated in the 16th century as part of the estate of York Place.
The estate had a privy, or private, garden, located behind what is now the Banqueting House. An orchard, part of the estate, adjoined it to the south; when Henry VIII seized York Place, he bought more land to the south of the orchard to expand the estate. The old privy garden was cobbled over and became known as the Pebble Court, while the orchard was converted into a new and much larger Privy Garden, known at first as the "great garden". At the time, Westminster was not built up as it is now, York Place – renamed Whitehall Palace – lay within a suburban area dominated by parks and gardens. St. James's Park, across the other side of Whitehall, was a royal hunting ground. Henry's garden was ornately decorated, as 16th-century visitors noted; the Spanish Duke of Nájera wrote of a visit in 1544 in which he saw "a pleasant garden with great walks and avenues in all directions, containing many sculptures of men and women and birds and monsters, other strange figures in low and high relief." Von Wedel recorded in 1584 that in the garden were "thirty-four high columns, covered with various fine paintings.
In the middle of the garden is a nice fountain with a remarkable sun-dial, showing the time in thirty different ways. Between the spaces that are planted in the garden there are fine walks grown with grass, the spaces are planted artistically, surrounded by plants in the shape of seats." The earliest surviving depiction of the garden, from 1670, shows a different layout. By this time the garden had been redesigned in a grid pattern with sixteen squares of grass separated by paths; the relentless expansion of the Palace of Whitehall, by now a sprawling jumble of structures, had hemmed in the Privy Garden behind walls and buildings on all sides. A high wall to the west separated it from The Street, the main thoroughfare at the south end of Whitehall that bisected the palace in a north-south direction. To the north, a range of buildings occupied by high-ranking courtiers separated it from the Pebble Court that lay behind the Banqueting House, while to the east the Stone Gallery and state apartments, used by the king's closest courtiers, blocked it off from the River Thames.
The royal apartments were off the Stone Gallery and had a view of the Privy Garden, with a screen in place to prevent passers-by from seeing the naked king in his 7 by 7 feet bathtub. A row of trees on the south side screened it from the Bowling Green, an orchard in Henry VIII's time but was converted for leisure use after the Restoration. A terrace separated the Privy Garden from the Bowling Green, but this was removed in 1673–4 and part of the Bowling Green was added to the garden; the Privy Garden was created as a private royal pleasure garden and continued to serve a similar purpose during the Interregnum, when the English Council of State put considerable effort and money into repairing and improving the garden. They appear to have reserved it for their own use, with their own individual keys for access. By Samuel Pepys' time, after the Restoration of the monarchy, it had become "a through-passage, common." The wall that enclosed the garden was used by ballad-sellers to display their wares to passers-by, courtiers used it to air their laundry.
Pepys recorded his titillation at the sight of the underwear of Charles II's mistress, Lady Castlemaine, hanging out to dry in the Privy Garden. A century James Boswell wrote in his diary that he had taken a prostitute into the garden and "indulged sensuality", but he was shocked to find when he got home that she had stolen his handkerchief. For a time, each of the grass squares in the garden had a statue in its centre, standing on its own pedestal, they were moved there from St James's Palace in the 1650s but became the target of Puritan zealotry during the Interregnum, due to the perception that they were biblically prohibited "graven images". A woman named Mary Netherway wrote to Oliver Cromwell to demand that they be taken down, demanding that he "demolish those monsters which are set up as ornaments in privy garden, for whilst they stand, though you see no evil in them, yet there is much evil in it, for whilst the crosses and altars of the idols remained untaken away in Jerusalem, the wrath of God continued against Israel."
One man took more direct action.
Middlesex is an ancient county in southeast England. It is now within the wider urbanised area of London, its area is now mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, existed as an official unit until 1965; the historic county includes land stretching north of the River Thames from 17 miles west to 3 miles east of the City of London with the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, was the second smallest county by area in 1831; the City of London was a county in its own right from the 12th century and was able to exert political control over Middlesex. Westminster Abbey dominated most of the early financial and ecclesiastical aspects of the county; as London grew into Middlesex, the Corporation of London resisted attempts to expand the city boundaries into the county, which posed problems for the administration of local government and justice.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the population density was high in the southeast of the county, including the East End and West End of London. From 1855 the southeast was administered, with sections of Kent and Surrey, as part of the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works; when county councils were introduced in England in 1889 about 20% of the area of Middlesex, along with a third of its population, was transferred to the new County of London and the remainder became an administrative county governed by the Middlesex County Council that met at the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster, in the County of London. The City of London, Middlesex, became separate counties for other purposes and Middlesex regained the right to appoint its own sheriff, lost in 1199. In the interwar years suburban London expanded further, with improvement and expansion of public transport, the setting up of new industries. After the Second World War, the population of the County of London and inner Middlesex was in steady decline, with high population growth continuing in the outer parts.
After a Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London all of the original area was incorporated into an enlarged Greater London in 1965, with the rest transferred to neighbouring counties. Since 1965 various areas called. Middlesex was the former postal county of 25 post towns; the name refers to the tribal origin of its inhabitants. The word is formed from the Old English,'middel' and'Seaxe'. In 704, it is recorded as Middleseaxon in an Anglo-Saxon chronicle, written in Latin, about land at Twickenham; the Latin text reads: "in prouincia quæ nuncupatur Middelseaxan Haec". The Saxons derived their name from a kind of knife for which they were known; the seax has a lasting symbolic impact in the English counties of Essex and Middlesex, both of which feature three seaxes in their ceremonial emblem. Their names, along with those of Sussex and Wessex, contain a remnant of the word "Saxon". There were settlements in the area of Middlesex that can be traced back thousands of years before the creation of a county.
Middlesex was part of the Kingdom of Essex It was recorded in the Domesday Book as being divided into the six hundreds of Edmonton, Gore, Hounslow and Spelthorne. The City of London has been self-governing since the thirteenth century and became a county in its own right, a county corporate. Middlesex included Westminster, which had a high degree of autonomy. Of the six hundreds, Ossulstone contained the districts closest to the City of London. During the 17th century it was divided into four divisions, along with the Liberty of Westminster took over the administrative functions of the hundred; the divisions were named Finsbury, Holborn and Tower. The county had parliamentary representation from the 13th century; the title Earl of Middlesex was created twice, in 1622 and 1677, but became extinct in 1843. The economy of the county was dependent on the City of London from early times and was agricultural. A variety of goods were provided for the City, including crops such as grain and hay and building materials.
Recreation at day trip destinations such as Hackney, Islington and Twickenham, as well as coaching, inn-keeping and sale of goods and services at daily shops and stalls to the considerable passing trade provided much local employment and formed part of the early economy. However, during the 18th century the inner parishes of Middlesex became suburbs of the City and were urbanised; the Middlesex volume of John Norden's Speculum Britanniae of 1593 summarises: This is plentifully stored, as it seemeth beautiful, with many fair and comely buildings of the merchants of London, who have planted their houses of recreation not in the meanest places, which they have cunningly contrived, curiously beautified with divers devices, neatly decked with rare inventions, environed with orchards of sundry, delicate fruits, gardens with delectable walks, alleys and a great variety of pleasing dainties: all of which seem to be beautiful ornaments unto this country. Thomas Cox wrote in 1794: We may call it all London, being chiefly inhabited by the citizens, who fill the towns in it with their country houses, to which they resort that they may breathe a little sweet air, free from the fogs and smoke of the City.
In 1803 Sir John Sinclair, president of the Board of Agr
Historic counties of England
The historic counties of England are areas that were established for administration by the Normans, in many cases based on earlier kingdoms and shires created by the Anglo-Saxons and others. They are alternatively known as ancient counties, traditional counties, former counties or as counties. In the centuries that followed their establishment, as well as their administrative function, the counties helped define local culture and identity; this role continued after the counties ceased to be used for administration after the creation of administrative counties in 1889, which were themselves amended by further local government reforms in the years following. Unlike the self-governing boroughs that covered urban areas, the counties of medieval England existed as a means of enforcing central government power, enabling monarchs to exercise control over local areas through their chosen representatives – sheriffs and the Lord-Lieutenants – and their subordinate justices of the peace. Counties were used for the administration of justice, collection of taxes and organisation of the military, for local government and electing parliamentary representation.
They continue to form the basis of modern local government in many parts of the country away from the main urban areas, although sometimes with altered boundaries. The name of a county gives a clue to how it was formed, either as a division that took its name from a centre of administration, an ancient kingdom, or an area occupied by an ethnic group; the majority of English counties are in the first category, with the name formed by combining the central town with the suffix "-shire", for example Yorkshire. Former kingdoms, which became earldoms in the united England did not feature this formulation. Counties ending in the suffix "-sex", the former Saxon kingdoms, are in this category. Many of these names are formed from compass directions; the third category includes counties such as Cornwall and Devon where the name corresponds to the tribes who inhabited the area. County Durham is anomalous in terms of naming and origin, not falling into any of the three categories. Instead, it was a diocese, turned into the County Palatine of Durham, ruled by the Bishop of Durham.
The expected form would otherwise be "Durhamshire", but it was used. There are customary abbreviations for many of the counties. In most cases, these consist of simple truncation with an "s" at the end signifying "shire", such as "Berks" for Berkshire or "Bucks" for Buckinghamshire; some abbreviations are not obvious, such as "Salop" for Shropshire, from the Norman-derived word for its county town Shrewsbury. Counties were prefixed with "County of" in official contexts, such as "County of Kent"; those counties named after central towns lost the -"shire" suffix, for example Yorkshire would be known as "County of York". This usage was sometimes followed where there was no town by that name, such as the "County of Berks"; the "-shire" suffix was appended for some counties, such as "Devonshire", "Dorsetshire" and "Somersetshire", despite their origin. There is still a Duke of Devonshire. Great Britain was first divided into administrative areas by the Romans, most following major geographical features such as rivers.
Before their arrival there were distinct tribal areas, but they were in a constant state of flux as territory was gained and lost. After the demise of Roman Britain around 410 these first divisions of land were abandoned, although traditional divisions taking the form of petty kingdoms such as Powys and Elmet, remained in those areas which remained British, such as south west England; the areas that would form the English counties started to take shape soon afterwards, with the Kingdom of Kent founded by settlers around 445. In southern England more shires emerged from earlier sub-kingdoms as part of the administrative structure of Wessex, which imposed its system of shires and ealdormen on Mercia after it came under West Saxon control during the 9th century. Once the Kingdom of England was united as a whole in 927 it became necessary to subdivide it for administrative convenience and to this end, earldoms were created out of the earlier kingdoms; the whole kingdom was divided into shires by the time of the Norman conquest.
Robert of Gloucester accounts for thirty-five shires and William of Malmesbury thirty-two, Henry of Huntingdon, thirty-seven. In most cases the counties or shires in medieval times were administered by a sheriff on behalf of the monarch. After the Norman conquest the sheriff was replaced and the shires became counties, or "areas under the control of a count", in the French manner. Although all of England was divided into shires by the time of the Norman conquest, some counties were formed later, up to the 16th century; because of their differing origins the counties varied in size. The county boundaries were static between the 16th century Laws in Wales acts and the Local Government Act 1888; each shire was responsible for gathering taxes for the central government. In southern England the counties were subdivisions of the Kingdom of Wessex, in many areas represented annexed independent, kingdoms or other tribal territories. Kent derives from the Kingdom of Kent, Essex and Middlesex come from the East Saxons, South Saxons and Middle Saxons.
Norfolk and Suffolk were subdivis
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and British monarchs; the building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign. According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site in the seventh century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been in Westminster Abbey.
There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100. As the burial site of more than 3,300 persons of predominant prominence in British history, Westminster Abbey is sometimes described as'Britain's Valhalla', after the iconic burial hall of Norse mythology. A late tradition claims that Aldrich, a young fisherman on the River Thames, had a vision of Saint Peter near the site; this seems to have been quoted as the origin of the salmon that Thames fishermen offered to the abbey in years – a custom still observed annually by the Fishmongers' Company. The recorded origins of the Abbey date to the 960s or early 970s, when Saint Dunstan and King Edgar installed a community of Benedictine monks on the site. Between 1042 and 1052, King Edward the Confessor began rebuilding St Peter's Abbey to provide himself with a royal burial church, it was the first church in England built in the Romanesque style. The building was completed around 1060 and was consecrated on 28 December 1065, only a week before Edward's death on 5 January 1066.
A week he was buried in the church. His successor, Harold II, was crowned in the abbey, although the first documented coronation is that of William the Conqueror the same year; the only extant depiction of Edward's abbey, together with the adjacent Palace of Westminster, is in the Bayeux Tapestry. Some of the lower parts of the monastic dormitory, an extension of the South Transept, survive in the Norman Undercroft of the Great School, including a door said to come from the previous Saxon abbey. Increased endowments supported a community increased from a dozen monks in Dunstan's original foundation, up to a maximum about eighty monks; the abbot and monks, in proximity to the royal Palace of Westminster, the seat of government from the 13th century, became a powerful force in the centuries after the Norman Conquest. The Abbot of Westminster was employed on royal service and in due course took his place in the House of Lords as of right. Released from the burdens of spiritual leadership, which passed to the reformed Cluniac movement after the mid-10th century, occupied with the administration of great landed properties, some of which lay far from Westminster, "the Benedictines achieved a remarkable degree of identification with the secular life of their times, with upper-class life", Barbara Harvey concludes, to the extent that her depiction of daily life provides a wider view of the concerns of the English gentry in the High and Late Middle Ages.
The proximity of the Palace of Westminster did not extend to providing monks or abbots with high royal connections. The abbot remained Lord of the Manor of Westminster as a town of two to three thousand persons grew around it: as a consumer and employer on a grand scale the monastery helped fuel the town economy, relations with the town remained unusually cordial, but no enfranchising charter was issued during the Middle Ages; the abbey became the coronation site of Norman kings. None were buried there until Henry III, intensely devoted to the cult of the Confessor, rebuilt the abbey in Anglo-French Gothic style as a shrine to venerate King Edward the Confessor and as a suitably regal setting for Henry's own tomb, under the highest Gothic nave in England; the Confessor's shrine subsequently played a great part in his canonization. Construction of the present church began in 1245 by Henry III; the first building stage included the entire eastern end, the transepts, the easternmost bay of the nave.
The Lady Chapel built from around 1220 at the extreme eastern end was incorporated into the chevet of the new building, but was replaced. This work must have been completed by 1258-60, when the second stage was begun; this carried the nave on an additional five bays. Here construction stopped in about 1269, a consecration ceremony being held on 13 October of that year, because of Henry's death did not resume; the old Romanesque nave remained attached to the new building for over a century, until it was pulled down in the late 14th century and rebuilt from 1376 following the original design. Construction was finished by the architect Henry Yevele in the reign of Richard II. Henry III commissioned the unique Cosmati pavement in front of the High Altar (the pavement has undergone a major cleani
Metropolitan Borough of Paddington
Paddington was a civil parish and metropolitan borough in London, England. It was an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, governed by an administrative vestry; the parish was included in the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855 and became part of the County of London in 1889. The parish of Paddington became a metropolitan borough in 1900, following the London Government Act 1899, with the parish vestry replaced by a borough council. In 1965 the borough was abolished and its former area became part of the City of Westminster in Greater London, its area covered that part of the current City of Westminster west of Edgware Road and Maida Vale, north of Bayswater Road. Places in the borough included Paddington, Westbourne Green, Maida Hill, Queens Park, Kensal Green, West Kilburn, Maida Vale. To the south it bordered the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, to the east, the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone; the borough was abolished on 1 April 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and its former area merged with that of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster and the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone to form the present-day City of Westminster.
The borough council's coat of arms, granted by the College of Arms on 5 April 1902, was based on the former Paddington vestry seal. The seal featured crossed swords from the arms of the See of London passing through a mural crown, symbol of local government. To these were added the wolves' heads and blue background from the arms of the first Mayor of the Borough, Sir John Aird. Sir John, member of parliament for Paddington North donated the mayoral badge and chain; the arms were blazoned as follows: Azure, two Swords in Saltire proper pommels and hilts Or enfiled with a Mural Crown of the last. Two Wolves heads erased in Chief Argent. Paddington Town Hall, designed by James Lockyer in the Classical style, dated from 1853; the building the Vestry Hall, was situated on Paddington Green. It was enlarged in 1900 and 1920. Following its closure in 1965, it was demolished to make way for the Westway urban motorway; the chair used by the Mayors of Paddington at council meetings was preserved, is placed in the hallway at the Council House in Marylebone Road, the current meeting place for Westminster City Council.
The war memorial, unveiled in 1924, was moved to the adjacent parish church of St. Mary; the area of Paddington Metropolitan Borough was 1,357 acres, once part of Kensal New Town was added after 1901. The population recorded in the Census was: Paddington Vestry 1801–1899 Metropolitan Borough 1900–1961 Note that the population statistics up to 1891 exclude the area of Kensal Town transferred from Chelsea in 1900. Under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 any parish that exceeded 2,000 ratepayers was to be divided into wards. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. In 1894 as its population had increased the incorporated vestry was re-divided into six wards: Harrow Road, Maida Vale, Westbourne, Lancaster Gate and Hyde Park; the metropolitan borough was divided into eight wards for elections: Church, Harrow Road, Hyde Park, Lancaster Gate East, Lancaster Gate West, Maida Vale, Queen's Park and Westbourne. For elections to Parliament, the borough was divided into two and a half constituencies: Chelsea Paddington North Paddington SouthIn 1918 the borough's representation was reduced to two seats: Paddington North Paddington South List of mayors of Paddington Robert Donald, ed..
"London: Paddington". Municipal Year Book of the United Kingdom for 1907. London: Edward Lloyd
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough that holds city status. It occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End. In Middlesex, it is to the west of the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, its southern boundary is the River Thames; the London borough was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon its creation, it inherited the city status held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster from 1900, first awarded to Westminster in 1540. Aside from a number of large parks and open spaces, the population density of the district is high. Many sites associated with London are in the borough, including St. James's Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and 10 Downing Street; the borough is divided into a number of localities including the ancient political district of Westminster. Much of the borough is residential, in 2008 it was estimated to have a population of 236,000.
The local government body is Westminster City Council. A study in 2017 by Trust for London and The New Policy Institute found that Westminster has the third-highest pay inequality of the 32 London boroughs, it has the second-least affordable private rent for low earners in London, behind only Kensington and Chelsea. The borough performs more positively on education, with 82% of adults and 69% of 19-year-olds having Level 3 qualifications; the current Westminster coat of arms were given to the city by an official grant on 2 September 1964. Westminster had other arms before; the symbols in the lower two thirds of the shield stand for former municipalities now merged with the city, Paddington and St. Marylebone; the original arms had a portcullis as the main charge. The origins of the City of Westminster pre-date the Norman Conquest of England. In the mid-11th century, King Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, only the foundations of which survive today. Between the abbey and the river he built a palace, thereby guaranteeing that the seat of Government would be fixed at Westminster, drawing power and wealth west out of the old City of London.
For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct. It was not until the sixteenth century that houses began to be built over the adjoining fields absorbing nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, creating the vast Greater London that exists today. Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries abolished the abbey at Westminster, although the former abbey church is still called Westminster Abbey; the church was the cathedral of the Diocese of Westminster created from part of the Diocese of London in 1540, by letters patent which granted city status to Westminster, a status retained after the diocese was abolished in 1550. The Westminster Court of Burgesses was formed in 1585 to govern the Westminster area under the Abbey's control; the City and Liberties of Westminster were further defined by Letters Patent in 1604, the court of burgesses and liberty continued in existence until 1900, the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. The present-day City of Westminster as an administrative entity with its present boundaries dates from 1965, when the City of Westminster was created from the former area of three metropolitan boroughs: St Marylebone and the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster, which included Soho, Mayfair, St. James's, Westminster, Pimlico and Hyde Park.
This restructuring took place under the London Government Act 1963, which reduced the number of local government districts in London, resulting in local authorities responsible for larger geographical areas and greater populations. The Westminster Metropolitan Borough was itself the result of an administrative amalgamation which took place in 1900. Sir John Hunt O. B. E was the First Town Clerk of the City of Westminster, 1900–1928. Prior to 1900, the area occupied by what would become the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster had been administered by five separate local bodies: the Vestry of St George Hanover Square, the Vestry of St Martin in the Fields, Strand District Board of Works, Westminster District Board of Works and the Vestry of Westminster St James; the boundaries of the City of Westminster today, as well as those of the other London boroughs, have remained more or less unchanged since the Act of 1963. The following table shows the ethnic group of respondents in the 2001 and 2011 census in Westminster.
The city is divided into each electing three councillors. Westminster City Council is composed of 41 Conservative Party members and 19 Labour Party members. A Lord Mayor is elected annually to serve as the official representative of the city for one year. See List of Lord Mayors of Westminster for a list of former Mayors and Lord Mayors; the City of Westminster covers all or part of the following areas of London: The City of Westminster is home to a large number of companies. Many leading global corporations have chosen to establish their global or European headquarters in the City of Westminster. Mayfair and St. James's within the City of Westminster have a large concentration of hedge fund and private equity funds; the West End is known as the Theatre District and is home to many of the leading performing arts businesses. Soho and its adjoining areas house a concentration of creative companies. Oxford Street is