The Various Names of London Throughout History
LONDON has been known by several names throughout its history and it also has different names all over the world based on the language spoken.
Londinium – This was the original Roman name for the city they founded on the banks of the Thames and the root of all the future iterations.
Lundenwic – The port on the Thames founded by the Anglo-Saxons in the 7th or 8th century about a mile away from the original Londinium settlement. It means literally ‘London settlement or trading town.’
Londontown – A colloquial and affectionate nickname for London. Not quite accurate as London has never been a town – it’s always been a city from its founding.
Londres – This is the French, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, and Filipino language name for London. The ‘r’ is silent and is pronounced as you would in Italian (see below).
Londra – Italian name for London.
The Big Smoke – London was given this label in the 19th century due to its choking smog and pollution caused by coal burning fires. It’s a name that stuck as another name for London. It’s also been known as The Old Smoke.
City of London – The Square Mile – This is the original settlement that forms the core of London. It’s about 1 square mile in size on the banks of the Thames and it has its own government structure separate from the rest of London.
Greater London Authority – The current overall government for all the various boroughs that make up London. It has a mayor and an elected assembly with 25 members. It’s only been around since the year 2000 when it was created by the Labour government. It is made up of the 32 boroughs in the historical London area along with the City of London (which has its own government).
London County Council – The former authority that governed London but it was abolished by Margaret Thatcher in 1986. Its grand building is now home to some of London’s most popular tourist attractions such as the London Aquarium and the London Dungeon.
Metroland – An informal name for a suburban area northwest of London, England, served by the Metropolitan Line on the London Underground. It now has come to represent the golden age idea of London suburban life in the pre-World War II era as London spread out into suburbia via the Tube and other rail lines.
LHR – The airport abbreviation for London Heathrow airport.
LGW – The airport abbreviation for London Gatwick airport.
London City – The small airport located in the Docklands that has short haul flights to the rest of Europe.
LDN – The new shortened version of London often used in marketing but also used by people sending text messages.