Metropolitan borough (London)
  • Also known as:
  • Borough
County of London, 1961.svg
CategoryLocal government district
Found inCounty of London
Created byLondon Government Act 1899
  • 1900
Abolished by
  • 1965
Number28 (as of 1965)
Possible status
  • City (1)
  • Royal (1)
  • Borough Council

The term metropolitan borough was used from 1900 to 1965, for the subdivisions of the County of London and were created by the London Government Act 1899.[1]


Parliamentary boroughs covering the metropolitan area were created in 1832. They were Finsbury, Greenwich, Lambeth, Marylebone, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster. Soon after their creation it was proposed that they should be incorporated for local government purposes[2] and this was also a finding of the Royal Commission on the City of London, but this did not happen.

The metropolitan boroughs were created in 1900 by the London Government Act 1899 which created 28 metropolitan boroughs as sub-divisions of the County of London. Their borough councils replaced vestries and district boards as the second tier of local government.

Some boroughs were formed as amalgamations of parishes, but most were continuations of existing units of local government, with the parish vestry or district board elevated to a borough council.[3] With the creation of the boroughs, the opportunity was taken to correct a number of boundary anomalies. All civil parishes in the County of London continued to exist, although their role was reduced to administration of the New Poor Law and they were amalgamated over time to become aligned with the boroughs.

In 1965 the County of London was abolished by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced with the much larger Greater London. The 28 metropolitan boroughs were also abolished and merged to create 12 of the 32 larger London boroughs[4] and are also known as Inner London boroughs.

List of boroughs

They were the following, all in the County of London, created in 1900, and abolished in 1965:

Metropolitan Borough


Population in 1961[5]

No. on map

Battersea Wandsworth 105,870 28
Bermondsey Southwark 51,860 8
Bethnal Green Tower Hamlets 47,078 6
Camberwell Southwark 175,304 10
Chelsea Kensington and Chelsea 47,256 29
Deptford Lewisham 68,829 11
Finsbury Islington 32,887 4
Fulham Hammersmith and Fulham 111,791 25
Greenwich Greenwich 85,546 14
Hackney Hackney 164,766 16
Hammersmith Hammersmith and Fulham 110,333 24
Hampstead Camden 98,844 20
Holborn Camden 22,008 3
Islington Islington 228,345 18
Kensington (Royal Borough) Kensington and Chelsea 171,272 23
Lambeth Lambeth 223,763 27
Lewisham Lewisham 221,753 12
Paddington Westminster 116,923 22
Poplar Tower Hamlets 66,604 15
Shoreditch Hackney 40,455 5
Southwark Southwark 86,249 9
St Marylebone Westminster 69,045 21
St Pancras Camden 124,855 19
Stepney Tower Hamlets 92,000 7
Stoke Newington Hackney 52,301 17
Wandsworth Lambeth, Wandsworth 347,442 26
Westminster (City) Westminster 85,735 2
Woolwich Greenwich, Newham 146,603 13

No. 1 on the map indicates the City of London. This was not a metropolitan borough, nor was it part of the County of London. It predated the metropolitan boroughs, was not abolished in 1965, and is still in existence.


  1. ^ London Government Act 1899 c.14, s.1: "Establishment of metropolitan boroughs in London"
  2. ^ The Westminster Review: Volumes 25-26, 1 January 1835, Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy - Publisher
  3. ^ "London's Boroughs". History Today. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  4. ^ London Government Act 1963 c.33, s.3: "the following administrative areas and their councils (and, in the case of a borough, the municipal corporation thereof) shall cease to exist, that is to say, the counties of London and Middlesex, the metropolitan boroughs, and any existing county borough, county district or parish the area of which falls wholly within Greater London"
  5. ^ "Vision of Britain | 1961 Census: County Report". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 30 September 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading