Thursday, 23 January 2014

London needs a flag!

First I apologise that all my last few posts have been British Isles related flags, I have been meaning to take a more wider outlook on Vexillology.
The capitol of England and the United Kingdom has no official coat of arms or flag. Now I know some readers are thinking something like "yes it does" and probably think it is these:
Well that is partly true. These are in fact the arms and flag of the City of London. However the City of London and London are different cities. If you look at a map of London you will see a white gap in the middle. This gap is the City of London:
To avoid confusion in this post I will call the city that surrounds the City of London "Greater London." You can tell when you cross the border between the two cities when you see the Guardians of the City of London. (a dragon statue supporting the City of London arms):

This video does a good job of explaining, despite its misuse of the word "crest":
The governing body of Greater London is called the London Assembly, this governs the whole city and also has some limited powers in the City of London. Each of the districts in Greater London known as boroughs  (some like Westminster even have the title of city) have a local council too. In fact by UK standards Greater London is more like a province or region, (hence the term assembly rather than council)rather than a city, a quick Google comparison the population figure with London (a city) and Northern Ireland (a province) NI's population is about 1.8 million compared to Greater London's 8.1 million.
 So Greater London a UK city has a larger population than a UK country.
Some of the boroughs even have their own flag and arms, for example Westminster:
All of this emphasises that Greater London needs its own emblem. In fact that used to be the case.
Greater London was originally the County of London, and had a county council its coat of arms were:

 The use of the mural cornet or crown while not unheard of is relatively uncommon in the UK. In 1965 the County Council was replaced by Greater London Council (combining the individual boroughs into one city), although it was dissolved by 1986, its coat of arms was this:
The flag was a banner of arms. However in 2000 the Greater London Authority (Office of the Mayor of London and London Assembly). was established, however it was never granted a coat of arms or flag. So I had ago:

My first idea for a flag was based on the previous flag, it feature the waves and lion (although in a different colour), from previous arms. It also features the Portcullis of Westminster normally associated with Parliament. While Westminster is only a small part of  Greater London it has some of the most important national buildings there, and the portcullis is also used on Greater London symbols like the coat of arms and logo of the Metropolitan Police Service:
And the badge of the London Regiment of the Army Reserve, which covers both The City of London, and Greater London:

 My next design features the two roses of England, and English lion along with the Portcullis and cross of St George:
Or alternatively without St George's Cross:
This flag is really a banner of my coat of arms proposal:

 The supporters feature two lions with flag staffs representing London's position as capitol of England (St George's Cross) and the capitol of the United Kingdom (Union Flag) as a whole.
The crest features a mural cornet (taken from the original County coat of arms) and two fish representing steadfastness as well as economy and science.
I hope you found this interesting and useful. If any place in the UK needs a flag and/or coat of arms it is Greater London.


  1. Nice designs. I think the Saxon crown (present, for example, in former Middlesex coat of arms), could be a nice add, but one can wonder if Saxon crown and porticullis could be combined in fitting way.

    1. Yes I had thought about using the Saxon crown, but decided against it as it might cause confusion between the portcullis here and the one on the badge of parliament which features a medieval type crown

    2. Indeed. Although the number of "arches" are different, it could cause confusion.

  2. Sam, I like your last design very much. I am Chairman of a London based club and am looking for a coat of arms to have in one corner of our logo and it has to represent London which, as you rightly say, doesn't exist. Perhaps you should approach Boris ?

    1. In the UK (minus Scotland) the College of Arms is the official body responsible for granting coats of arms, you could approach them however a new grant of arms is expensive to say the least. You probably (emphasise probably) could adopt an original design, however official terminology for that case would probably be "heraldic design" rather than coat of arms (as it won't have an official grant). Many of the individual London boroughs have their own coat of arms you may be able to use the relevant one for a club logo?

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  4. Oh Dear!

    The City of London is part of Greater London.

    The London Government Act 1963 abolished the Metropolitan Boroughs, the county of Middlesex and the administrative county of London and established 32 London Boroughs and the Greater London administrative area. In the same way that the Local Government Act 1899 had given the City of London the same powers and responsibilities as a Metropolitan Borough the 1963 Act gave the City the same powers and responsibilities as a London Borough (on both occasions in addition to the City's various other powers and responsibilities).

    The London Assembly is not an executive body, it does not govern anywhere or anything. Greater London is governed by the 32 boroughs and the City of London. The Mayor of London is responsible for public transport, fire and rescue services and strategic planning (zoning) throughout Greater London and policing in the 32 boroughs.

    1. Still no reason why London as a whole can't have a flag