The Business Districts in London

London and business go hand in hand. Thousands of people travel into the business districts of London every day to make deals and money. However, you may not know that these deals have been happening in these areas of London for hundreds of years. In fact, in certain business districts in London, deals have been taking place for thousands of years. If you work in one of the business districts in London, you may not realise the history that surrounds you every day. Below the beautiful modern building, you work in are centuries of business transactions, just like the ones you make daily. Let’s take a look at the business districts of London and find out some of the history of these areas, shall we?

The history of the business districts of London

The City

The City of London is, of course, the oldest part of London. The Romans built the City in the 1st century, nearly 2,000 years ago. There have been hundreds of archaeological digs in the City over the years. One of these digs found evidence of the very first business transactions in London. A dig found a stone tablet that was basically a receipt for some goods that were shipped from Rome to London around 50 AD. Considering that London was founded in 47 AD, this is probably one of the very first business acts in the City and shows that London has been a hive of business for almost 2,000 years! The City of London has also been home to the Vikings, Saxon and Tudors over the years too. The Vikings had a network of trade reaching the silk road and back. The Tudors were one of the wealthiest kingdoms in British history. So business in the City of London has never stopped. From the moment the Romans arrived, the City has been all about business.


After the fall of the Romans came the Saxons, who set up shop just outside of the City that the Romans had built. West of the City in what we now know as Westminster. This was known as ‘London Village’ or ‘London Port’. Wherever there is a port in ancient times, there is business. Ports were centres of business because travel back then happened at sea. Goods likely traveled from around the world to Westminster at this time, making it a hotspot for business people and trade.

Canary Wharf

The beautiful businesses of Canary Wharf sit on top of the West India Docks. At their peak, these docks were the busiest in the world. Boats from every corner of the globe would come into these docks to unload goods like sugar, gold and a great deal more. Canary Wharf’s legacy in London business stretches back to at least the 1800s and has been an important and valuable site to England and its business ever since. In fact, Canary Wharf is now one of the main financial centres in the world.

Camden & Islington

Camden and Islington may now be a busy business district in London. However, until about 150 years ago, these areas were actually on the outskirts of London. They were small villages that would have supplied London with goods and services. So, Camden and Islington may not have been a hive of business activity back then. Still, there were many villagers supplying London with all manner of things.

Lambeth & Southwark

Lambeth and Southwark have the shortest history of business out of all of the districts in London. This is because, for much of recorded history, Lambeth and Southwark were underwater! There is evidence of Roman life in Southwark, though. There was a bridge built here by the Romans. A bridge that would allow the Romans to take goods to anywhere in England. That is sadly the only connection to business from the history books we could find for this district.

So, when you travel to work in one of the business districts in London next time, just think, someone may have made that journey 2,000 years ago! Maybe not by underground, but they could have certainly been conducting business just like you! The business districts in London are vibrant, busy places, and as the info above shows, they’ve been this way for hundreds of years.