The map below shows the area covered by the Society. Hover over a parish/borough to see its name and click on it for more information. To see and download a more detailed parish map, click here. With this detailed map you can zoom in to see details of all but the smallest parishes.
RESEARCHING IN LONDON, WESTMINSTER & MIDDLESEX
Researching in our area not only requires a knowledge of whether your area of interest falls in it, but of the complex nature of London, its many place names and changes to administrative units over the years. Equally, finding baptisms can be complicated by the division of ancient parishes as the population grew and the huge rise in other denominations.
So unlike many rural places where the administrative town and church parish names and boundaries remain fairly much the same as they’ve always been, London is quite complicated. The first major upheaval was the creation of the London County Council in 1889, which absorbed all of Inner London into a single county authority, rather than being run separately by the old counties of Middlesex, Surrey and Kent, plus a number of unelected bodies like the Metropolitan Water Board. The LCC had 28 lower level Metropolitan Boroughs within in. The City of London remained a separate authority, as it still does today. Of those 28, 8 fell in what is now our area, namely:-
City of Westminster, Holborn, Finsbury, Islington, St Pancras, Hampstead, St Marylebone and Paddington.
The next major change came in 1965 when the LCC was abolished and the Greater London Council established. This absorbed much of the outer London suburbs in several counties. It comprised 32 London Boroughs, including the City of Westminster (which expanded to include St Marylebone and Paddington). The county of Middlesex ceased to exist and despite the more recent reintroduction of the concept of ‘ceremonial counties’ (each with a Lord Lieutenant), Middlesex has never been revived. While many continue to use it in their address, the Post Office takes no notice of county names when delivering post!
Further changes occurred in 1974, when the London Boroughs technically became District/Unitary Authorities but continue to use the title of ‘London Borough’.
Our area does not line up exactly with the existing London Boroughs. Our area comprises:
The City of London (Corporation of London, Inner Temple and Middle Temple) and the City of Westminster, plus the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Islington, Ealing (part) and Hillingdon (part). We also cover the parish of South Mimms (the principal town being Potters Bar), originally in Middlesex, but transferred to Hertfordshire in 1965.
By way of clarification, our area includes the following administrative units which existed until 1965:
The London Borough of Barnet, formerly:
The Urban Districts of Barnet and East Barnet Valley (both in Hertfordshire), the Boroughs of Finchley and Hendon and the Urban District of Friern Barnet (all in Middlesex).
The London Borough of Haringey, formerly:
The Boroughs of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham. (Note: South Hornsey is now in the London Borough of Hackney).
The London Borough of Enfield, formerly:
The Boroughs of Enfield, Edmonton and Southgate.
The London Borough of Islington, formerly:
The Metropolitan Boroughs of Islington and Finsbury.
The London Borough of Camden, formerly:
The Metropolitan Boroughs of St Pancras, Hampstead and Holborn.
The City of Westminster, formerly:
The City of Westminster and the Metropolitan Boroughs of St Marylebone and Paddington.
The London Borough of Brent, formerly:
The Boroughs of Wembley and Willesden.
Part of the London Borough of Ealing, formerly:
The Municipal Borough of Ealing, Uxbridge Rural District and Greenford Urban District and includes Greenford, Norwood, Perivale and Northolt.
The London Borough of Harrow, formerly:
The Municipal Borough of Harrow and includes Pinner, Great and Little Stanmore, Wealdstone and Harrow Weald.
Part of the London Borough of Hillingdon, formerly:
The Urban Districts of Ruislip and Northwood.
So much for the complexity of the administrative side of London. Family Historians will also be interested in the ancient church parishes which fall in our area.
The City of London is remarkable in containing around 97 ancient but mostly tiny parishes, reflecting the huge density of the population before it became mostly a business district. Of these, not all the churches survived the Great Fire of London and others were destroyed in the Second World War. Those that survive are listed here. A complete map of the parishes is here and an index to this map here.
Further complicating the situation is the status of the Inns of Court and other tiny ‘Liberties’ which were considered parishes in their own right. These were: Barnard’s Inn, Charterhouse, Ely Chapel, Furnival’s Inn, Grays Inn, Lincoln Inn, Liberty of Glasshouse Yard, Liberty of the Rolls, Liberty of Saffron Hill, Sergeants Inn, Staple Inn, Temple and Thavies Inn.
Prominent City churches from other denominations include:
- City Temple, Holborn Viaduct;
- Dutch Church, Austin Friars;
- Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Bevis Marks;
- Temple Church, Temple.
The present City of Westminster contains the following ancient parishes:
Westminster Abbey; St Ann, Soho; St Clement Danes; St George, Hanover Square; St James, Piccadilly; St John, Smith Square; St Margaret, Westminster; St Martin-in-the-Fields; St Marylebone; St Mary le Strand; St Paul, Covent Garden; St Mary, Paddington Green; and the Precinct of the Savoy.
Our area covering part of Middlesex and part of Hertfordshire* contains the following ancient parishes: Chipping Barnet*, East Barnet*, Edgware, Edmonton, Enfield, Finchley, Friern Barnet, Great Stanmore, Greenford, Hampstead, Harefield, Harrow on the Hill, Hendon, Hornsey, Ickenham, Islington, Kingsbury, Little Stanmore, Monken Hadley, Northolt, Perivale, Pinner, Ruislip, South Mimms, St Pancras, Tottenham, Totteridge*, Twyford Abbey and Willesden.
While each of these would originally have been served by one parish church, from the early 19th century many parishes started to acquire extra churches to serve the increase in population and some would become ecclesiastical parishes in their own right. So for example, Enfield was originally served by just St Andrew, Enfield, but then gained St James, Enfield Highway in 1831, Jesus Church, Forty Hill in 1835 and Christ Church, Cockfosters in 1839. Many more were to follow. Equally, in the late 20th century, many churches started to close as patronage reduced. The relevant Record Office can provide detailed information on when holdings start and finish.
Of course, many districts within Outer London don’t align with parishes at all. So here is a non-exhaustive list of places within London that are within our area (* indicates formerly in Herts):
Agar Town; Alexandra Palace; Arkley*; Arnos Grove; Battlebridge; Belmont; Belsize Park; Bloomsbury; Bounds Green; Bowes Park; Brimsdown; Brondesbury; Bulls Cross; Burnt Oak; Bush Hill Park; Camden Town; Canonbury; Canons Park; Childs Hill; Chipping Barnet*; Church End; Clerkenwell; Cockfosters; Colindale; Cricklewood; Crouch End; Dartmouth Park; Dollis Hill; East Barnet*; Eastcote; Edgware; Edmonton; Enfield; Euston; Finchley; Finsbury; Finsbury Park; Freezywater; Fortis Green; Forty Hill; Friern Barnet; Golders Green; Gospel Oak; Greenford; Hadley Wood; Hampstead; Harefield, Harrow-on-the-Hill; Harrow Weald; Hatch End; Headstone; Hendon; Highgate; Hillingdon; Holborn; Hooking Green; Hornsey; Ickenham; Islington; Kensal Green; Kentish Town; Kenton; Kilburn; Kingsbury; Kings Cross; Lisson Grove; Lyonsdown*; Maida Vale; Mayfair; Mill Hill; Monken Hadley; Muswell Hill; New Barnet*; Noel Park; Northolt; Norwood; Northwood; Oakwood; Paddington; Page Green; Palmers Green; Ponders End; Portland Town; Potters Bar; Primrose Hill; Queens Park; Rayners Lane; Regents Park; Roxeth; Ruislip; Sadlers Wells; Seven Dials; Seven Sisters; Somers Town; Southgate; South Mimms; St John's Wood; Stonebridge; Stroud Green; Great & Little Stanmore; St Pancras; Temple Fortune; Tollington Park; Tottenham; Totteridge*; Tothill Fields; Tufnell Park; Tyburn; Wealdstone; Wembley; Westbourne Park; West Green; Whetstone; Willesden; Winchmore Hill; Wood Green; Woodhall; Woodridings; Woodside Park.