Where Is The Centre Of London? An Update

M@
By M@ Last edited 23 months ago
Where Is The Centre Of London? An Update

The centre of London is often given as the Charles I statue south of Trafalgar Square. It's a handy convention for measuring distances to and from London. But where is the geometric centre?

Back in 2010, we did a little experiment. We pasted a map of Greater London onto cardboard, cut out the map, and then tried to balance it on a pin-head. The balance point, also known as the centre of gravity, can be said to be the geometric centre of London. Turns out that Lambeth North tube station is the centre of the city. But our technique was a little crude, and we were unable to be any more precise than that.

Step forward Tom Hoban, who, in 2o14, refined the method and thinks he's found the centre of London to much greater precision. Rather than using cardboard and scissors, Tom traced an electronic map in AutoCAD software. He was then able to find the shape's centre of gravity digitally, removing the imprecision of our balancing-on-a-pin malarky.

He, too, concludes that the centre is somewhere close to Lambeth North. Indeed, using a map with exact borders determined by Ordnance Survey, he's able to pinpoint the location to a claimed accuracy of 40cm. For those who want it exactly, the point is at E 531331.025, N179645.831  Lat 51Deg,30' 1.806956"  Lon -0Deg, 6' 33.458418".

So, congratulations if you live in Greet House, off Frazier Street: your home is at the very centre of Greater London.

Map data © ODbL OpenStreetMap contributors. Map tiles © CC BY-SA 2.0 OpenStreetMap

Initial pinpointing in CAD software.
Initial pinpointing in CAD software.
The centre of gravity was found to be a few streets north of Lambeth North station, as recreated here in Open Streetmap.
The centre of gravity was found to be a few streets north of Lambeth North station, as recreated here in Open Streetmap.
A closeup of the centre of London.
A closeup of the centre of London.
Google Street View image of the centre of London, roughly where the silver car on the right is parked.
Google Street View image of the centre of London, roughly where the silver car on the right is parked.
Our own attempts to find the centre of London, back in 2010, involved paper and glue.
Our own attempts to find the centre of London, back in 2010, involved paper and glue.

Last Updated 06 October 2016