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?

A few years back, 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’s now 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 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

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  • DC

    I’d love to see such a “center” as weighted by population, income, and other factors!

    • Richard Harris

      *centre

      • Tom Hoban

        Here is population only. 2001 to 2010. These centres are on average 863M to the North. West of Hungerford bridge and in the Thames. 2005 has coordinates:
        E530591.7054
        ,N180107.8683

    • Tom Hoban

      Hi DC

      Not sure if it is clear but have attached weighted by population for the 2001 to 2010. Interesting to see its Journey. It seems reasonably balanced, 125M from the geometric centre in 2001 and 60M in 2010.

      Looking forward to seeing how far west the result will be for income or perhaps house prices.

      Tom

  • e

    Youz guyz have way too much time on your hands

  • trishcaseygreen

    Of course it is!! Its where I was brought up!

  • Alex Kachkaev

    Just to resolve a minor licensing issue in this post:

    Map data © ODbL OpenStreetMap contributors
    Map tiles © CC BY-SA 2.0 OpenStreetMap
    http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

    • MattFromLondonist

      Aha, cheers for that. Have added to the main body of the text.

  • Earl of Bedlam

    I’ve been saying this since forever that we live in the true, beating heart of London. Thank you so much for this. I love your method best – all those herded angels must have made it especially tricky.

    • Amanda Saunders

      You must be a neighbour of mine to have taken that moniker (unless you’re from the original, original bedlam).

      • Earl of Bedlam

        Hello neighbour We are the bespoke tailors of that name on Walnut Tree Walk and we take our name from the infamous institution that is now occupied by the IWM, yes.

  • Amanda Saunders

    So I live in Lambeth Towers, se11 6nj – turns out I haven’t been lying when I say ‘well, I live right in the centre of London’. (I got views too..!)

  • Jon B

    Good to see London Ambulance Service has its HQ pretty much dead centre of London

  • Tom Hoban

    Below is a new contender for geometrical centre. This one is based on “central London” which as far as I now is not defined precisely.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/londons-real-centre-point-is-next-to-bench-on-the-victoria-embankment-by-the-thames-9381800.html

  • Tom Hoban

    Posted as below in E.S.

    The best boundary I can find for Central London is the “Central Activities Zone” the boundary data for this zone is provided by The Greater London Authority can be downloaded (search CAZ gis data). The latest data is from Feb 2010. [i]The Central Activities Zone (CAZ) as shown in The London Plan Consolidated with Alterations since 2004, not finalized and therefore provided for illustrative use only. The Central Activities Zone is the area where planning policy promotes finance, specialist retail, tourist and cultural uses and activities. Use with caution as the boundaries are only indicative and could be refined.[/i] G.L.A.

    This boundary data puts the centre at Latitude 51.510244 Longitude -0.12571990. Or the corner of Bedfordbury and May’s court, just at the rear of The London coliseum.

    See below

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

  • james marney

    The centre of London is “often given as” the Charles I statue south of Trafalgar Square! “Often given as”? …I’d be interested to know of any references! I’d suggest there are probably many many more references to Charing Cross as the centre of London.

    • MattFromLondonist

      Many references do say Charing Cross but they’re being vague and imprecise. Charles I stands on the site of the original Charing Cross, and a plaque there confirms it as the central point of London.

  • james marney

    Londoners and those who measure distances from London invariably say CHARING CROSS. The position of the original cross is now occupied by the Charles I statue, south of Trafalgar Square! Too important a position for a man like Charles? (…who was directly responsible for more death and destruction in these isles than anyone else who ever lived here!)