The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.
Staple Inn is London’s only surviving sixteenth-century domestic building, situated on the south side of High Holborn
Its timber-framed façade overhangs the roadway.
The building was once the wool staple, where wool was weighed and taxed. It was an Inn of Chancery built between 1545 to 1549. It survived the Great Fire of London and was restored in 1886 and reconstructed in 1937. It was extensively damaged by a Nazi German Luftwaffe aerial bomb in 1944 but was subsequently restored once more. It has a distinctive cruck roof and an internal courtyard.
It was originally attached to Gray’s Inn, which is one of the four Inns of Court. The Inns of Chancery fell into decay in the 19th century. All of them were dissolved, and most were demolished. Staple Inn is the only one which survives largely intact.
It was later rebuilt by the Prudential Insurance Company, and is now used by the Institute of Actuaries and various other companies.
The historic interiors include a great hall, used by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The ground floor street frontage is let to shops and restaurants, required to use plainer signage than they do on less sensitive buildings.
tobacco was originally produced in an alleyway on the north side of Holborn
. Staple Inn formerly featured on tins and pouches of this product.
Staple Inn was an extra-parochial area until 1858 and then a civil parish. It became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn
in 1900 and was abolished in 1930.
On 1 April 1994 boundary changes meant that the Inn was transferred from the London Borough of Camden to the City of London (and the City ward of Farringdon Without).
It was designated a grade I listed building in 1974.
As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.
It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City
and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.
The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.
The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.
The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane
areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.