London West End - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is an area of Central and West London.
Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross.
While the City of London, or the Square Mile, is the main business and financial district in London, the West End is the main commercial and entertainment centre of the city. It is the largest central business district in the United Kingdom, comparable to Midtown Manhattan in New York City, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, Shibuya in Tokyo, Sol in Madrid or the 8th arrondissement in Paris. It is one of the most expensive locations in the world in which to rent office space, just behind Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road.
Historically, medieval London comprised two adjacent cities - the City of London (cathedral: St. Paul's) to the East, and the City of Westminster (cathedral: Westminster Abbey) to the West.
Over time these cities came to form the centre of modern London, although each also kept its own distinct character and in a number of ways also their separate legal identity (for example, the City of London still has its own police force and is a distinct county).The City of London came to be a centre for the banking, financial, legal and professional sectors, while Westminster came to be closely associated with the leisure, shopping, commerce, and entertainment sectors, the government, and home to universities and embassies. The modern West End is closely associated with this latter area of central London.
Lying to the west of the historic Roman and medieval City of London, the West End was long favoured by the rich elite as a place of residence because it was usually upwind of the smoke drifting from the crowded City. It was also close to the royal seat of power at the Palace of Westminster.
Developed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, it was originally built as a series of palaces, expensive town houses, fashionable shops and places of entertainment. The areas closest to the City around Holborn, Seven Dials, and Covent Garden historically contained poorer communities that were cleared and redeveloped in the 19th century.