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Orange Wednesdays: A History Of The City Of London

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Although many may assume that ‘the City of London’ is a collective term given to anything that lies within the boundaries of the M25, it is instead referring to the ‘city within a city’ that is London’s financial district.

‘The City’ (or as it is often called, ‘The Square Mile’) dates back to roman times, and remnants of the ancient walls still stand among the skyscrapers and modern office buildings that reflect the city’s current status as a centre of global finance.

It was in the 16th century that London became a major financial hub. Throughout the 16th century the city became a centre for international trade and commerce and saw the foundation of The Royal Exchange in 1565. In 1666, the Great Fire destroyed much of the city and it was rebuilt over the next two centuries, culminating in the industrial revolution and the City becoming the economic centre of the already colossal – and rapidly expanding – British Empire.
Over time the rapid expansion of London as a whole meant that, by the mid-19th Century, The City was a small, but extremely influential, part of a larger metropolitan area.

The City remains a quasi-separate entity today due to the failure of an 1894 plan to amalgamate The City with the rest of London. The German bombing campaign, The Blitz, seen throughout the Second World War had a similar effect to the Great Fire in that it devastated large areas of The City.

A major rebuilding project led to the construction of residential sites such as the Barbican, and spawned ongoing development that continues to this day.

So it is a genuine miracle that a building as old as Skinner’s Hall has survived to this day. Skinner’s Hall is home to the Worshipful Company of Skin
ners and dates back to 1670. It is symbolic of the power and influence of London’s guilds and liveries, of which the Fuellers are one of 109 currently based in The City.

Find out more about the Fuellers, London companies and the importance of networking in industry hubs such as The City in our brand new Yomp TV episode.

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