London borough boundaries

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Back in 2008/2009 we were using this wiki page (and this image) to track progress with adding London borough boundaries data to the map. Progress as of Oct 2008 is shown here. These days it's all a bit more finished!

London Borough Boundaries are the key admin boundaries within the greater Greater London statistic region, subdividing it into 33 "boroughs" or "cities" (administratively assimilated to unitary autorities in other English counties, but not subdivided into districts; for this reason, these boroughs are indifferently tagged in OSM as districts).

Classification and tagging in OSM

In these 33 subdivisions of the region:

  • Two of them (London, and Westminster) are qualified as "cities", and could be tagged with council_style=city; the 31 other subdivisions are qualified as "boroughs" (including the 2 "royal boroughs" of Greenwhich, and Kensington and Chelsea), and could be tagged with council_style=borough.
  • Only the City of London is also a ceremonial county (tagged in OSM at admin_level=6); the other 32 "boroughs" (tagged in OSM at admin_level=8) are grouped together in the separate ceremonial county of Greater London (also tagged in OSM at admin_level=6).
  • The node currently used in OSM for the place named "London" (tagged with place=city), and used for the national capital and region capital (Role admin_centre in relations), actually does not fall within the City of London, but in the City of Westminster.

Although these subdivisions are often named borough, their official status is a London borough (with the exception of the City of London which remains separated), because most of them are grouping several former boroughs (including today's City of Westminster); they all qualify as local authority districts'.

Before their merging into London boroughs, they were historically categorized by a inner (part of the former Inner London area) or outer (part of the former Outer London area) and had various status (metropolitan borough within Inner London, or municipal boroughs, county boroughs, and urban districts within Outer London) designation. The designation is still present in today's London boroughs (11 are inner including the City of London, 22 are outer), but gives no other functional distinction on the operation of their local council.

Boundaries between the London boroughs have been tagged boundary=administrative and left:district=name right:district=name but this is deprecated as we can determine them now using boundary relations in OSM.

List of London boroughs

A relation of relation London Borough Boundary relations is available for reference (it should include all the 33 boroughs, including the City of London which also inherits the designation of Inner London borough; but it is still incomplete, and also includes a member for the Greater London ceremonial county separated from the City of London).

Administrative area Council name (link to Wikipedia article) Designation OSM relation admin
Progress Notes
London (City of) (ceremonial county)  City of London Corporation[1] Inner London boroughs relation 51800 6 complete Subdivided into  25 wards.
See note on London Bridge below.
Westminster (City of)  Westminster City Council relation 51781 8 complete Subdivided into  20 wards.
Greenwich (Royal Borough of)  Greenwich London Borough Council relation 51902 complete
Kensington and Chelsea (Royal Borough of)  Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council relation 51793 complete
Camden (Borough of)  Camden London Borough Council relation 51827 complete
Hackney (Borough of)  Hackney London Borough Council relation 51806 complete
Hammersmith and Fulham (Borough of)  Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council relation 184484 complete
Islington (Borough of)  Islington London Borough Council relation 51821 complete
Lambeth (Borough of)  Lambeth London Borough Council relation 184710 complete
Lewisham (Borough of)  Lewisham London Borough Council relation 184724 complete
Southwark (Borough of)  Southwark London Borough Council relation 8450265 complete See note on London Bridge below.
Tower Hamlets (Borough of)  Tower Hamlets London Borough Council relation 51805 complete
Wandsworth (Borough of)  Wandsworth London Borough Council relation 51906 complete
Barking and Dagenham (Borough of)  Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council Outer London boroughs relation 185483 complete
Barnet (Borough of)  Barnet London Borough Council relation 51831 complete
Bexley (Borough of)  Bexley London Borough Council relation 51903 complete
Brent (Borough of)  Brent London Borough Council relation 75767 complete
Bromley (Borough of)  Bromley London Borough Council relation 152126 complete
Croydon (Borough of)  Croydon London Borough Council relation 51907 complete
Ealing (Borough of)  Ealing London Borough Council relation 181321 complete
Enfield (Borough of)  Enfield London Borough Council relation 51841 complete
Haringey (Borough of)  Haringey London Borough Council relation 51814 complete
Harrow (Borough of)  Harrow London Borough Council relation 181292 complete
Havering (Borough of)  Havering London Borough Council relation 185478 complete
Hillingdon (Borough of)  Hillingdon London Borough Council relation 183779 complete
Hounslow (Borough of)  Hounslow London Borough Council relation 51848 complete
Kingston upon Thames (Borough of)  Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council relation 51909 complete
Merton (Borough of)  Merton London Borough Council relation 51905 complete
Newham (Borough of)  Newham London Borough Council relation 185505 complete
Redbridge (Borough of)  Redbridge London Borough Council relation 65598 complete
Richmond upon Thames (Borough of)  Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council relation 151795 complete
Sutton (Borough of)  Sutton London Borough Council relation 17529 complete
Waltham Forest (Borough of)  Waltham Forest London Borough Council relation 65595 complete
Greater London (ceremonial county) N/A N/A relation 65606 6 complete
Greater London (region)  Greater London Authority N/A relation 175342 5 complete


Note that most online maps showing the position of the borders are copyrighted. Even supposedly open licensed maps on wikipedia are actually derived from copyrighted sources. As of February 2013, all the boundaries are mapped from the most accurate source which we can use at the moment - OS Boundary Line data. Ideally we'll keep it clean by surveying signs in the streets. Keep a look out for those "Welcome to London Borough of X" signs while you're out and about.

According to the OS Boundary Line data, the boundary between Southwark and the City of London is roughly the centre-line of the Thames. However the City of London Corporation controls (through Bridge House Estates) the whole of London Bridge so the boundary has been adjusted in OSM to cover the whole bridge. A similar situation exists at Blackfriars Bridge, although this is reflected in the OS data.

External links

  • The OSM Inspector tool is excellent for checking that a boundary is complete and that all the tagging of the ways and relation is correct.
  • Wikipedia has a rather comprehensive list of  boundary changes within London, which links to the relevant governmental orders which made the change. Although many refer to maps not included, the explanatory notes may assist mapping of both the Greater London and borough boundaries.


  1. officially and legally named the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London; changed in 2006 from the former London Corporation to avoid the confusion with with the wider London local government, the Greater London Authority.