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Spotlight on the City of London

Have you ever thought about living in the Square Mile? It wasn’t too long ago that the City was almost a resident-free zone, with no life in the streets after working hours or at the weekend. Nowadays it’s a thriving residential district, with over 8,000 households.

The City has an ancient history, going back to the Roman occupation, and the street names are still redolent of the medieval trades and crafts that were carried on in the City, including fishmongers and goldsmiths. Some of the old livery halls are still standing.

Much of the medieval City was destroyed in the Great Fire of London 350 years ago, and the City marked this with exhibitions and events last year.

The City has over 600 listed buildings and every year it receives 10.5 million visitors. The weavers’ houses in Spitalfields are some of the oldest buildings in the City and Dennis Severs’ house, home to the silk-weaving family from 1724, is well worth a visit.

The City’s five postcodes are EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4 AND E1. It’s home to Clerkenwell, nowadays the favoured base for the design industry, trendy Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets, upcoming Whitechapel and Stepney, as well as the well-known legal districts of Temple and Fetter Lane, and Fleet Street, former home of the press industry.

The residential population of the City is growing, but there is no obligation to provide affordable homes. The City is intending to build over 3,500 new homes by 2025, but these will be on estates it owns outside the Square Mile in neighbouring boroughs.

The most populated development is the Barbican, the Grade II listed, brutalist residential development dating from the 1960s and 1970s. It is home to the Barbican Arts Centre and the Museum of London. The Barbican was originally built as social housing on land devastated by bombing in World War II, but now most of the flats are privately owned.

There are some converted warehouse homes around Farringdon, St John Street and St Bartholomew’s Hospital

There are many new, high-rise developments in the City, often combining commercial and residential space, but it could not really be described as ‘affordable’. According to Rightmove (as at 1 October 2016) the average cost to buy a 1-bedroom flat is £782,000, going up to £2.71 m for 3-bedrooms.

Renting isn’t a cheap option either, with average rent for a 1-bedroom flat an eye-watering £2,451 per month. Three bedrooms will set you back on average over £9,500 per month.

Renters tend to be young professionals working in the City who are able to walk to work and so save on commuting fares. It’s also popular with overseas students, who lean towards modern apartment buildings with a concierge service.

Even if you don’t need to travel to work, the City is very well-connected for public transport, with no fewer than six mainline stations in the City or just outside. It’s also connected to most tube lines.

The local authority is the City of London Corporation. This has a unique governance status, allowing its business community and residents to vote for aldermen and councillors. For 2016/17 Band D council tax in the City is £931.20. You can find out more on Wikipedia.

copy courtesy of @homesandproperty @wikipedia

Image courtesy of Christine Matthews



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