London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Royal Army Ordnance Corps
The Royal Army Ordnance Corps was a corps of the British Army. At its renaming as a Royal Corps in 1918 it was both repair corps. In the supply area it had responsibility for weapons, armoured vehicles and other military equipment and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography; the RAOC was responsible for a major element of the repair of Army equipment. In 1942 the latter function was transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the vehicle storage and spares responsibilities of the Royal Army Service Corps were in turn passed over to the RAOC; the RAOC retained repair responsibilities for ammunition and certain ranges of general stores. In 1964 the McLeod Reorganisation of Army Logistics resulted in the RAOC absorbing petroleum and accommodation stores functions from the Royal Army Service Corps as well as the Army Fire Service, barrack services, sponsorship of NAAFI and the management of staff clerks from the same Corps. On 5 April 1993, the RAOC was one of the corps.
Supply and repair of technical equipment, principally artillery and small arms, was the responsibility of the Master General of the Ordnance and the Board of Ordnance from the Middle Ages until they lost their independence in 1855. Thereafter followed thirty years of fluctuating allocation of responsibilities and a great variety of titles of both corps and individuals; this complex and unsatisfactory period insofar as Army logistics was concerned was summarised in 1889 as follows:'The English Ordnance Department goes back into an older history than the Army. There were Master Generals of the Ordnance and Boards of Ordnance centuries before there were Secretaries of State for War or Commanders-in-Chief. Begun under the Tudors the Board of Ordnance lived through the changes of the Great Rebellion, the Commonwealth, the Restoration and the Revolution until it fell, at last, in the panic that followed in the disasters of the Crimean War....the many alterations in administration that followed the abolition of the Board of Ordnance, through the last 30 years, can only be read as a negative evidence in favour of the organisation, as positive proof that the machinery of effective Army Store administration has yet to be evolved from its ruins.'
The Storekeeper's department was part of the civil establishment of the Board of Ordnance, though troops were involved in various aspects of its operation when not deployed elsewhere. By the mid-eighteenth century, Woolwich Warren had outgrown the Tower of London as the main ordnance storage depot in the realm. In times of war, the Board of Ordnance Storekeepers found themselves responsible for conveying guns and certain other items to the troops in the field; until 1792, the transport and issue of weapons and ammunition to troops in the theatre of war was achieved by the formation of artillery trains, as and where required. In that year, with Britain about to engage in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Board sought to place this ad hoc arrangement on a permanent footing by establishing a Field Train Department. A Lieutenant-General of the Royal Artillery served as its Commandant and a Major-General as his Deputy, but otherwise its personnel were uniformed civilians: under a Senior Commissary based at Woolwich were Commissaries, Assistant Commissaries, Clerks of Stores and Conductors of Stores.
In peace time nothing more than a small cadre of officers was maintained, but in time of war they were supplemented by recruits from the Ordnance Storekeeper's department to serve in the field. Each recruit received special training in the handling of munitions. During the Crimean War a number of Sergeants were seconded from the Royal Artillery to serve as Military Conductors in addition to the civilian staff; the Board of Ordnance had its own military establishment. With regard to these troops the Field Train Department had additional responsibilities: it provided them with pay, medical supplies and camp equipment when deployed; the Field Train Department provided the Royal Engineers with their pontoon bridges and other specialist equipment, provided for the movement of artillery pieces in the field. For the duration of conflict the Department's personnel accompanied the Artillery and Engineer units in the field providing them with logistic support. Between 1795 and 1815, the Field Train served in campaigns.
In peacetime, the civilians and sergeants returned to their former duties, but the cadre of officers was retained. At the start of the Crimean War, the Ordnance Field Train was mobilized once again. An parallel supply corps within the Army had been disbanded as a cost-cutting measure in 1833, its responsibilities devolved again to the Commissariat (which was by now more att
The Avengers (TV series)
The Avengers is an espionage British television series created in 1961. It focused on Dr. David Keel, aided by John Steed. Hendry left after the first series, his most famous assistants were intelligent and assertive women: Cathy Gale, Emma Peel and Tara King. The series ran from 1961 until 1969; the pilot episode, "Hot Snow", aired on 7 January 1961. The final episode, "Bizarre", aired on 21 April 1969 in the United States, on 21 May 1969 in the United Kingdom; the Avengers was produced by a contractor within the ITV network. After a merger with Rediffusion London in July 1968, ABC Television became Thames Television, which continued production of the series, though it was still broadcast under the ABC name. By 1969, The Avengers was shown in more than 90 countries. ITV produced a sequel series The New Avengers with Patrick Macnee returning as John Steed, two new partners. In 2007, The Avengers was ranked; the Avengers was marked by different eras as co-stars went. The only constant was John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee.
Associated British Corporation produced a single series of Police Surgeon, in which Ian Hendry played police surgeon Geoffrey Brent, from September through to December 1960. While Police Surgeon did not last long, viewers praised Hendry, ABC Television cast him in its new series The Avengers, which replaced Police Surgeon in January 1961; the Avengers began with episode "Hot Snow", in which medical doctor David Keel investigates the murder of his fiancée and office receptionist Peggy by a drug ring. A stranger named John Steed, investigating the ring and together they set out to avenge her death in the first two episodes. Steed afterward asked Keel to partner him, as needed, to solve crimes. Hendry was considered the star of the new series, receiving top billing over Macnee, Steed did not appear in two episodes; as the first series of The Avengers progressed, Steed's importance increased, he carried the final episode solo. While Steed and Keel used wit while discussing crimes and dangers, the series depicted the interplay—and tension—between Keel's idealism and Steed's professionalism.
As seen in one of the three surviving episodes from the first series, "The Frighteners", Steed had helpers among the population who provided information, similar to the "Baker Street Irregulars" of Sherlock Holmes. The other regular in the first series was Carol Wilson, the nurse and receptionist who replaced the slain Peggy. Carol assisted Keel and Steed in cases, in at least one episode was much in the thick of the action, but without being part of Steed's inner circle. Hafner had played opposite Hendry as a nurse in one episode of Police Surgeon; the series was shot on 405-line videotape using a multicamera setup. There was little provision for editing and no location footage; as was standard practice at the time, videotapes of early episodes of The Avengers were reused. At present, only three complete Season 1 episodes are known to exist and are held in archives as 16 mm film telerecordings: "Girl on the Trapeze", "The Frighteners" and "Tunnel of Fear". Additionally, the first 15 minutes of the first episode, "Hot Snow" exist as a telerecording.
The missing television episodes are being re-created for audio by Big Finish Productions under the title of The Avengers - The Lost Episodes and star Julian Wadham as Steed, Anthony Howell as Dr. Keel and Lucy Briggs-Owen as Carol Wilson. Production of the first series was cut short by a strike. By the time production could begin on the second series, Hendry had quit to pursue a film career. Macnee was promoted to star and Steed became the focus of the series working with a rotation of three different partners. Dr Martin King, a thinly disguised rewriting of Keel, saw action in only three episodes produced from scripts written for the first series. King was intended to be a transitional character between Keel and Steed's two new female partners, but while the Dr. King episodes were shot first, they were shown out of production order in the middle of the season; the character was thereafter and dropped. Nightclub singer Venus Smith appeared in six episodes, she was a complete "amateur", meaning that she did not have any professional crime-fighting skills as did the two doctors.
She was excited to be participating in a "spy" adventure alongside secret agent Steed. Nonetheless, she appears to be attracted to him and their relationship is somewhat similar to that portrayed between Steed and Tara King, her episodes featured musical interludes showcasing her singing performances. The character of Venus underwent some revision during her run, adopting more youthful demeanor and dress; the first episode broadcast in the second series had introduced the partner who would change the show into the format for which it is most remembered. Honor Blackman played Dr Cathy Gale, a self-assured, quick-witted anthropologist, skilled in judo and had a passion for leather clothes. Widowed during the Mau Mau years in Kenya, she was the "talented amateur" who saw her aid to Steed's cases as a service to her nation, she was said to have bee
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Surrey is a subdivision of the English region of South East England in the United Kingdom. A historic and ceremonial county, Surrey is one of the home counties; the county borders Kent to the east, East Sussex and West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, Greater London to the northeast. Inhabited by about 1.2 million people, Surrey is the twelfth most populous English county, both the third most populous home county and the third most populous county in the South East. Guildford is considered to be the county town; however despite the town's designation, Surrey County Council has never been based there, being instead seated throughout its history in London. Since the borders of Surrey were altered in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 which created Greater London, none of these places are now in Surrey, marking an example of a de facto capital, located outside of its administrative area. Surrey is divided into eleven districts: Elmbridge and Ewell, Mole Valley and Banstead, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge and Woking.
Services such as roads, mineral extraction licensing, strategic waste and recycling infrastructure, birth and death registration, social and children's services are administered by Surrey County Council. The London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and small parts of Lewisham and Bromley were in Surrey until 1889. Since the 1965 reform the bordering boroughs of the capital have been those taken from it in 1965 plus Bromley and Hounslow; the form of Surrey which remains since 1965 is a wealthy county due to economic, aesthetic and logistical factors. It has the highest GDP per capita of any English county, some of the highest property values outside Inner London and the highest cost of living in the UK outside of the capital. Surrey has the highest proportion of woodland in England, having been rural since it was shorn in 1965 of the urbanised swathes of South London which had hitherto been part of the county, it has large protected green spaces. It has four racecourses in horse racing, the most of any Home County and as at 2013 contained 141 golf courses including international competition venue Wentworth.
Surrey has proximity to London and to Heathrow and Gatwick airports, along with access to major arterial road routes including the M25, M3 and M23 and frequent rail services into Central London. Surrey is divided in two by the chalk ridge of the North Downs; the ridge is pierced by the rivers Wey and Mole, tributaries of the Thames, which formed the northern border of the county before modern redrawing of county boundaries, which has left part of its north bank within the county. To the north of the Downs the land is flat, forming part of the basin of the Thames; the geology of this area is dominated by London Clay in the east, Bagshot Sands in the west and alluvial deposits along the rivers. To the south of the Downs in the western part of the county are the sandstone Surrey Hills, while further east is the plain of the Low Weald, rising in the extreme southeast to the edge of the hills of the High Weald; the Downs and the area to the south form part of a concentric pattern of geological deposits which extends across southern Kent and most of Sussex, predominantly composed of Wealden Clay, Lower Greensand and the chalk of the Downs.
Much of Surrey is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. It contains valued reserves of mature woodland. Among its many notable beauty spots are Box Hill, Leith Hill, Frensham Ponds, Newlands Corner and Puttenham & Crooksbury Commons. Surrey is the most wooded county in England, with 22.4% coverage compared to a national average of 11.8% and as such is one of the few counties not to recommend new woodlands in the subordinate planning authorities' plans. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in one of the oldest in Europe. Surrey contains England's principal concentration of lowland heath, on sandy soils in the west of the county. Agriculture not being intensive, there are many commons and access lands, together with an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways including the North Downs Way, a scenic long-distance path. Accordingly, Surrey provides many rural and semi-rural leisure activities, with a large horse population in modern terms; the highest elevation in Surrey is Leith Hill near Dorking.
It is 294 m above sea level and is the second highest point in southeastern England after Walbury Hill in West Berkshire, 297 m. Surrey has a population of 1.1 million people. Its largest town is Guildford, with a population of 77,057, they are followed by Ewell with 39,994 people and Camberley with 30,155. Towns of between 25,000 and 30,000 inhabitants are Ashford, Farnham and Redhill. Guildford is the historic county town, although the county administration was moved to Newington in 1791 and to Kingston upon Thames in 1893; the county counc