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City of Westminster, Greater London (England)

English City and Inner London Borough

Last modified: 2020-10-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: city of westminster | london borough | westminster abbey | greater london |
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Introduction: City of Westminster

The City of West Minister is one of 32 local districts that are a part of the Greater London Authority (GLA), which is the regional governance body of Greater London, with jurisdiction over both the City of London and the ceremonial county of Greater London. It is is governed by its own borough council, and one of four boroughs that do not have "London Borough" in their names in Greater London (City of Westminster, and the Royal Boroughs of Kingston upon Thames, Kensington and Chelsea, and Greenwich.) The London boroughs were all created in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and now make up Greater London. Twelve are designated as Inner London boroughs, and the City of Westminster is one of them. However, the title of "city" was first awarded to Westminster in 1540, predating all the modern changes to English districts and counties that seem to be an ongoing process in modern times. Of all the London boroughs Westminster has probably one of the greatest concentrations of tourist attractions in the area. These include Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, to name a few. It also includes London's principal areas of government, shopping, and entertainment, plus residential areas.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

Westminster City Council
City Emblems and Logos

[Westminster City Council Logo 1]     [Westminster City Council Logo 2]
images by Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

The Westminster City Council is the local governing authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London. Because of the award of the title of "city" to Westminster in 1540, it has a borough council that is entitled to call itself a city council, which is a rare distinction in the United Kingdom. The City of Westminster is divided into 20 wards and they elect the members of the city council.
There are reports of these these logos occasionally appearing unofficially on white flags, but no actual photo verification of this exists at the present time.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

City of Westminster Coat of Arms
and Old City Shield

[Westminster City Council Shield] old City Shield c1601   [Westminster City Council Coat of Arms] new Coat of Arms 1964
shield by Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020 / coat of arms from Heraldry of the World (cited below)

These arms were officially granted in 1964, but date back to Shield of c1601. In the center are the arms of King Edward the Confessor who started Westminster Abbey. The Tudor roses honor the Tudor dynasty who were instrumental in giving Westminster its City status. The Tudors established the palace in Westminster which became the site of Britain's parliament. The gate portcullis, also a popular Tudor emblem, is associated with Westminster. On the base of the shield is the Madonna and child. The two wolf heads come from from the arms of Paddington, which was merged with Westminster. The waves of blue at the base show the city's location next to the Thames.

Official Blazon

  • Arms: Azure between two Wolves' Heads erased argent and on a Base wavy Argent and Azure a female Figure affrontée vested and mantled and on her sinister arm a Child also vested around the head of each a Halo all Or on a Chief of the last a Pallet Azure thereon a Cross flory between five Martlets Or being the Arms of King Edward the Confessor between two united Roses Argent upon Gules.
  • Crest: On a Wreath Or and Azure a Portcullis Sable studded and chained Or between on the dexter side a united Rose the flower Argent upon Gules and on the sinister side a Lily both stalked leaved and erect proper.
  • Supporters: On either side a Lion Ermine the dexter gorged of a Mural Crown Azure charged with three Lily Flowers Argent the sinister gorged of a like Crown Or charged with two Swords in saltire Gules.
  • Motto: CUSTODI CIVITATEM DOMINE - meaning "O Lord, watch over the city"
Source: Heraldry of the World website.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

Westminster Abbey Church Flag

[Westminster Abbey Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

Don't confuse Westminster Abbey (Church of England) with Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic), they are different structures, but both located in the London area. Westminster Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "The Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066, and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. The church we see today was begun by Henry III in 1245. It is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, and has the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint at its heart." (Westminster Abbey website) Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries abolished the Roman Catholic abbey at Westminster, but the church continued to operate under the Church of England umbrella and continued to call itself Westminster Abbey.
If one looks high atop the right spire of the Westminster Abbey, you will see this blue church flag. Its design has the Tudor arms between two Tudor Roses, above the suppositious arms of Edward the Confessor. The red flag flown on the left spire is the Flag of Saint Peter.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

Flag of Saint Peter

[Westminster Abbey Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020
image based on this image of the Flag of Saint Peter.

As noted above the red flag flown on the left spire of the Westminster Abbey is called the Flag of Saint Peter. In ecclesiastical heraldry the crossed Keys of Heaven represent the metaphorical keys of the office of Saint Peter, who holds the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Hence the saying of "meeting Saint Peter at the gates of heaven" to be judged.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Flag

[Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Flag] image by Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020

The Archbishop of Westminster heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, in England. The diocese consists of all of London north of the River Thames and west of the River Lea, the borough of Spelthorne (in Surrey), and the county of Hertfordshire, which lies immediately to London's north.
Pete Loeser, 1 October 2020