The Corporation of London is the local authority for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the City of London. It is committed to maintaining and enhancing the status of the Business City as one of the world's three leading financial centres through the policies it pursues and the high standard of services it provides. Its responsibilities extend far beyond the City boundaries in that it also provides a host of additional facilities for the benefit of the nation. These range from open spaces such as Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest to the famous Barbican Arts Centre.
The Corporation is older than Parliament itself and today combines its ancient traditions and ceremonial functions with the role of a modern and efficient local authority looking after the needs of its residents, City businesses and over 320,O00 people who come to work in the City every day. Among local authorities the Corporation is unique; not only is it the oldest in the country but it operates on a non- party political basis through its Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Members of the Court of Common Council. The Lord Mayor in particular plays an important diplomatic role with his overseas visits and functions at the historic Guildhall and Mansion House for visiting heads of State.
In addition to the usual services provided by a local authority such as housing, refuse collection, schools, social services, environmental health and town planning, the Corporation performs a number of very special functions. It runs its own police force and the nation's Central Criminal Court, the old Bailey. It provides four Thames Bridges, runs the Quarantine Station at Heathrow Airport and is the Port Health Authority for the whole of the Thames tidal estuary. Three premier wholesale food markets (Billingsgate, Spitalfields and Smithfield) which supply London and the South East with fresh produce also belong to the Corporation. Many of these services are funded from the Corporation's own investments at no cost to the public.
The Corporation of London: a unique authority for a unique City.