Royal Borough of Greenwich
Official logo of Royal Borough of Greenwich
We Govern by Serving
Greenwich shown within Greater London
Greenwich shown within Greater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Created1 April 1965
Admin HQWoolwich
 • TypeLondon borough council
 • BodyGreenwich London Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Labour)
 • MayorCouncillor Leo Fletcher
 • London AssemblyLen Duvall (Labour) AM for Greenwich and Lewisham
 • MPsAbena Oppong-Asare (Labour)
Clive Efford (Labour)
Matthew Pennycook (Labour)
 • Total18.28 sq mi (47.35 km2)
 • Rank245th (of 296)
 • Total289,254
 • Rank52nd (of 296)
 • Density16,000/sq mi (6,100/km2)
Time zoneUTC (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Area code020
ONS code00AL
GSS codeE09000011
PoliceMetropolitan Police

The Royal Borough of Greenwich (/ˈɡrɛnɪ/ , /ˈɡrɪnɪ/, /ˈɡrɪnɪ/ or /ˈɡrɛnɪ/)[1][2] is a London borough in southeast Greater London, England. The London Borough of Greenwich was formed in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. The new borough covered the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich and part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich to the east. The local council is Greenwich London Borough Council which meets in Woolwich Town Hall. The council's offices are also based in Woolwich, the main urban centre in the borough.

Greenwich is the location of the Greenwich prime meridian, on which all Coordinated Universal Time is based. The prime meridian running through Greenwich, and the Greenwich Observatory is where the designation Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT began, and on which all world times are based. In 2012, Greenwich was listed as a top ten global destination by Frommer's – the only UK destination to be listed.

To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Greenwich became a Royal Borough on 3 February 2012, due in part to its historic links with the Royal Family, and to its UNESCO World Heritage Site status as home of the Prime Meridian.


The London Borough of Greenwich was formed on 1 April 1965 under the terms of the London Government Act 1963. It covered the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich and the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich, except for North Woolwich which was north of the River Thames.[3]

The name 'Charlton' was briefly considered as the name for the new borough.[4] Greenwich Council applied for city status in 2002, but was turned down.[5]

To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, on 3 February 2012 Greenwich became the fourth Royal Borough, an honour additional to its historic links with the Royal Family, and its status as home of the Prime Meridian and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6][7][8]


The borough lies along the south bank of the River Thames between Deptford and Thamesmead. It has an area of 5,044 hectares. Because of the bends of the river, its waterfront is as long as 8.5 miles. Travelling south away from the waterfront, the ground rises: Shooters Hill in the east and the high ground of Blackheath in the west bookend the borough, Eltham to the south of these hills falls away slightly.

Greenwich is bounded by the London Boroughs of Bexley to the east, Bromley to the south, Lewisham to the west and across the River Thames to the north lie Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham.


Population pyramid of Greenwich in 2021

The borough's population in 2011 was 254,557.[9] 52.3% of the community defined themselves as White British. The largest minority groups represented were of Black and Asian heritage.

Approximately 44,500 international migrants arrived in the Royal Borough between the years 2001 and 2011.[10] Of these, 25% arrived from EU member states, 24.5% arrived from central and western Africa, and 18.9% arrived from southern Asia.[10] The most common country of birth in this period was Nigeria.[10]

The Royal Borough in 2015 had a general fertility rate of 72.7 live births per 1,000 aged 15–44, higher than the London average of 63.9 and the England average of 62.5.[10]

Population census
1801 16,866—    
1811 20,900+23.9%
1821 25,208+20.6%
1831 30,113+19.5%
1841 38,284+27.1%
1851 52,190+36.3%
1861 74,801+43.3%
1871 97,413+30.2%
1881 120,024+23.2%
1891 174,316+45.2%
1901 185,062+6.2%
1911 196,471+6.2%
1921 213,562+8.7%
1931 232,142+8.7%
1941 227,864−1.8%
1951 223,674−1.8%
1961 220,305−1.5%
1971 216,993−1.5%
1981 209,868−3.3%
1991 213,488+1.7%
2001 214,540+0.5%
2011 254,557+18.7%


Ethnic Group Year
1981 estimations[12] 1991[13] 2001[14] 2011[15] 2021[16]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 190,718 92% 181,193 87.3% 165,357 77.1% 159,002 62.5% 161,006 55.7%
White: British 151,291 70.6% 133,130 52.3% 119,665 41.4%
White: Irish 4,871 % 4,291 1.7% 4,230 1.5%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 430 0.2% 385 0.1%
White: Roma 882 0.3%
White: Other 9,195 4.2% 21,581 8.3% 35,844 12.4%
Asian or Asian British: Total 12,765 6.14% 17,118 7.98% 29,894 11.7% 38,028 13.1%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 7107 3.4% 9,389 % 7,836 3.1% 10,128 3.5%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 1251 1,909 % 2,594 1.0% 3,538 1.2%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 381 1,236 % 1,645 0.6% 2,395 0.8%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 1681 2,540 % 5,061 2.0% 7,125 2.5%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 2345 2,044 % 12,758 5.0% 14,842 5.1%
Black or Black British: Total 11,119 5.35% 23,787 11.1% 48,655 19.1% 60,602 21%
Black or Black British: African 3903 1.87% 15,312 7.3 % 35,164 13.8% 44185 15.3%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 5148 2.47% 6,782 % 8,051 3.2% 8724 3.0%
Black or Black British: Other Black 2068 1,693 % 5,440 2.1% 7693 2.7%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 5,850 2.7% 12,274 4.8% 17,297 6%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 2,175 % 4,011 1.6% 5,142 1.8%
Mixed: White and Black African 933 % 2,699 1.1% 3,302 1.1%
Mixed: White and Asian 1,353 % 2,361 0.9% 3,491 1.2%
Mixed: Other Mixed 1,389 % 3,203 1.3% 5,362 1.9%
Other: Total 2573 1.23% 2,378 1.1% 4,732 1.9% 12,132 4.2%
Other: Arab 1,069 0.4% 1,462 0.5%
Other: Any other ethnic group 2573 1.23% 2,378 1.1 % 3,663 1.4% 10,670 3.7%
Ethnic minority: Total 16,519 8% 26,457 12.74% 49,133 22.29% 95,555 37.5% 128,059 44.3%
Total 207,237 100% 207,650 100% 214,490 100.00% 254,557 100.00% 289,065 100%


The Royal Observatory at left and the Queen's House right of centre

Central Greenwich Town contains a UNESCO World Heritage Site centred on Christopher Wren's Royal Naval College and the Old Royal Observatory.

Civic affairs


The 1979/80 Mayor was Don Swan. The 2013/14 Mayor was Angela Cornforth. The 2014/15 Mayor was M Hayes. The 2015/16 Mayor was Norman Adams.[17] The 2016/17 Mayor was Olu Babatola, the first African born individual to be elected to the office.[18] The 2018/19 Mayor was Councillor Christine May.

Councillor Denise Hyland was appointed mayor for 2021 to 2022.[19]

Shaped like an astrolabe, the 18-carat gold badge on the Mayor's chain embodies the time-ball on the principal building of the old Greenwich Royal Observatory, the meridian line, and lines of latitude and longitude. The ‘time-ball’ is set with small rubies.


The Executive is composed of ten Labour members, led by Anthony Okereke (Woolwich Common ward) who has been Leader of the Council since 2022.

Coat of arms

Main article: Coat of arms of the Royal Borough of Greenwich

Arms were originally granted to the London Borough by letters patent dated 1 October 1965.[20] Although much of the 1965 design has been retained, the arms have been altered in 2012 by the addition of a representation of the Thames. In addition a crest and supporters were added to the arms.[21]

The Woolwich Buddy Bear


The Royal Borough of Greenwich is twinned with:


Main article: Politics of Greenwich

Woolwich Town Hall, the meeting place of Greenwich London Borough Council

Greenwich London Borough Council

Map showing the borders of London Borough of Greenwich and its 17 wards

Greenwich London Borough Council comprises 51 councillors. The Labour Party currently has an overall majority on the council, holding 43 seats, with the Conservatives holding 8. Labour has had a majority on the council since 1971.

There are 17 wards in Greenwich:

Westminster Parliament

The borough contains the constituencies of:

Since the 1997 General Election, all three are represented by Labour MPs.

Greater London representation

For elections to the Greater London Council, the borough formed the Greenwich electoral division, electing three members. In 1973 it was divided into the single-member Greenwich, Woolwich East and Woolwich West electoral divisions.[24] The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986.

Since 2000, for elections to the London Assembly, the borough forms part of the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency.



Main article: List of schools in the London Borough of Greenwich

Further education

Greenwich Community College is the main publicly funded provider of further education in the borough, offering a range of academic and vocational courses and qualifications. Anglian College London is a private college offering further and higher education courses to students from around London and overseas. In September 2013, The Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre – a partnership between Hadlow College and the Royal Borough of Greenwich – opened. At present it offers Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in horse care, as well as a range of part-time qualifications and a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.


The University of Greenwich main campus is located in the distinctive buildings of the former Royal Naval College. There is a further campus of the university at Avery Hill in Eltham, and also, outside the borough, in Medway. The Faculty of Music of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (formerly known as Trinity College of Music) is also housed in the buildings of the former Greenwich Hospital. Ravensbourne University opened its new campus in September 2010 and is located next to The O2 on Greenwich Peninsula.[25]

Sport within the borough

Greenwich Council owns many sports centres and these are operated by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). They also run an outdoor swimming pool, Charlton Lido.

The largest football club in the borough is Charlton Athletic F.C., a professional club playing in the EFL League One, There are three non-League football clubs, Bridon Ropes F.C. and Meridian F.C., who both play in Woolwich at Meridian Sports & Social Club and Cray Valley Paper Mills F.C. who play in Eltham at Badgers Sports Ground. There are several rugby clubs, most notably Blackheath F.C., who played at Rectory Field for 158 years, moving to Eltham in 2016. Blackheath Cricket Club still plays at Rectory Field.

Greenwich was one of the five host boroughs for the 2012 Summer Olympics and hosted 34 events in nine sports at three venues across the borough.[26] Greenwich Park hosted equestrian events and modern pentathlon; the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich hosted shooting events; and The O2 arena hosted gymnastics and basketball finals.


River crossings

There are foot tunnels under the River Thames between Greenwich and Island Gardens in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and between Woolwich and North Woolwich in the London Borough of Newham. The Woolwich Ferry takes vehicle traffic and links the North Circular Road to the South Circular Road which runs through the borough. A cable car crossing linking Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks opened on 28 June 2012.[27]

River transport

The Thames Clippers commuter ferry service runs from Woolwich to Canary Wharf and the City.

Railway stations

All stations except Woolwich are served by Southeastern. Woolwich is served by the Elizabeth line. Abbey Wood is served by both.

Tube/DLR stations

The only London Underground station in the borough is North Greenwich on the Jubilee line. It was opened in 1999 and it is close to the Millennium Dome, which is now The O2. The DLR serves Greenwich more extensively and a list of the stations is below:

Travel to work

In March 2011, the main forms of transport that residents used to travel to work were driving a car or van, 17.5% of all residents aged 16–74; train, 10.2%; bus, minibus or coach, 10.2%; underground, metro, light rail, tram, 9.7%; on foot, 4.1%; work mainly at or from home, 2.5%; and bicycle, 1.5%.[28]



Tourists at the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Observatory

Tourism is becoming an increasingly important factor in Greenwich's economy. In 2015, 18.5 million people were expected to visit the borough for a day or more, generating over £1.2 billion; this figure was expected to increase by more than 25% by 2018. Evidence of the tourism boom included the construction of a 452-room InterContinental Hotel near the O2 Arena (opening in 2015). Apart from the many museums and historic buildings in Greenwich town and Greenwich Park, the main tourist attractions are the Cutty Sark, The O2 Arena, the London Cable Car, Eltham Palace (which expected over 100,000 visitors in 2015), Charlton House and the Thames Barrier. In addition, the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich is starting to promote itself as a tourist attraction.[29]


Main article: List of districts in Greenwich

Parks and open spaces

Main article: Greenwich parks and open spaces

The borough contains the Greenwich Royal Park. A small part of the Metropolitan Green Belt is within the borough.

Entertainment district

The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) is located on the Greenwich Peninsula. It includes an indoor arena, a music club, a Cineworld cinema, an exhibition space, piazzas, bars, and restaurants.


The following table shows the religious identity of residents residing in Greenwich according to the 2021 census.

Religion 2021[30]
Number %
Christian 129,112 44.7
Muslim 24,715 8.5
Jewish 603 0.2
Hindu 11,647 4.0
Sikh 3,229 1.1
Buddhism 5,034 1.7
Other religion 1,802 0.6
No religion 94,208 32.7
Religion not stated 18,716 6.5
Total 289,068 100.0

See also


  1. ^ "Greenwich". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John, eds. (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (David Jones) (18th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ "London Government Act 1963". The National Archives. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Names for Nine New Boroughs of London" The Times, 14 September 1963
  5. ^ "Five new cities creates row". BBC News. 14 March 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Greenwich to become Royal Borough". Greenwich London Borough Council. 5 January 2010. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  7. ^ "Greenwich to become Royal Borough on 3 February". Greenwich Council. 9 January 2012. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  8. ^ Letters Patent dated 3 February 2012 "No. 60205". The London Gazette. 11 July 2012. p. 13300.
  9. ^ "Cenus Statistics". Office of National Statistics.
  10. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Greenwich: Total Population". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Ethnic minorities in Britain: statistical information on the pattern of settlement". Commission for Racial Equality: Table 2.2. 1985.
  13. ^ "1991 census – theme tables". NOMIS. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  14. ^ "KS006 – Ethnic group". NOMIS. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Ethnic group – Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  17. ^ Royal Borough of Greenwich (6 October 2011). "About our current Mayor | The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich". Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  18. ^ "About our current Mayor | The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich". 6 October 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  19. ^ "About our current Mayor". Royal Borough of Greenwich. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  20. ^ Briggs, Geoffrey (1971). Civic and Corporate Heraldry: A Dictionary of Impersonal Arms of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. London: Heraldry Today. pp. 184–185. ISBN 0-900455-21-7.
  21. ^ "The borough's coat of arms and crest". Greenwich Council. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  22. ^ a b c "Town twinning". Royal Borough of Greenwich website. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  23. ^ 'Ballet and new park as Greenwich celebrates 50 year twinning with Maribor' Archived 28 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine,, 26 May 2017.
  24. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Greater London Council Election results: Greenwich". United Kingdom Election Results. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ "A thrilling year ahead - What's in store for Greenwich in 2012 - Greenwich". Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  27. ^ "Thames cable car in London opens for passengers". BBC News. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  28. ^ "2011 Census: QS701EW Method of travel to work, local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2013. Percentages are of all residents aged 16–74 including those not in employment. Respondents could only pick one mode, specified as the journey’s longest part by distance.
  29. ^ Greenwich Time, No. 367, 29 September 2015, pp. 1, 4 (online text)
  30. ^ "Religion - Religion by local authorities, ONS".

51°27′N 0°03′E / 51.450°N 0.050°E / 51.450; 0.050