London, the metropolis of the British Empire and the largest city in the world, lies in the S.E. of England, on both banks of the river Thames, and embraces parts of the four counties of Middlesex, Essex, Kent and Surrey. At the census of 1881 the aggregate population of the metropolitan parliamentary boroughs (conterminous with the new County of the City of London) was 3,963,307; it is now about 4½ millions. The city has doubled in size within the last half-century, being now about 15 M. long from E. to W., and 9 M. wide from N. to S., and covering 122 sq. M. of ground. The area included in the Metropolitan Police District, extending for a radius of 15 M. from Charing Cross, amounts to 960 sq. M. and contains considerably over 5 Million inhabitants.
The principle and larger part of London lies on the N. bank of the Thames, and includes the City, or commercial and money-making quarter on the E., and the fashionable West End, with the places of the Queen and nobility and most of the sights frequented by visitors. The manufacturing quarters on the right bank of the Thames, and also the outlying districts to the N. and E. are comparatively uninteresting to strangers.