Royal Exchange midweek

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth in the late 16th Century London flourished as a centre of trade and commerce. A steady increase in the resident population reflected the ‘Golden Age’ being enjoyed at this time. The remarkable ‘doubling’ of the population during the Elizabethan period, was in stark contrast to the mass exodus that occurred over 250 years later.
The City had already lost some of it’s lustre for some traders during the Georgian period, as Westminster became an increasingly attractive place to relocate. The rapid expansion of Greater London during this period, into the leafy suburbs, caused others to consider their future existence within the old city. The introduction of the first railway into the city, and the new lifestyle opportunities it presented, tempted many thousands to buy a one-way ticket to greener pastures. Fenchurch Street Station was the first to open within the Square Mile in 1841. Within 30 years the population had reduced by nearly 50,000, and by the outbreak of the 1st World War in 1914 over 90% of the resident population had abandoned the city. As premises emptied they were increasingly taken over for commercial use.
Population        Year

   50, 000             1558  Start of Elizabethan era

 100, 000             1603  End of Elizabethan era.

 128, 000             1801

 125, 000             1850

 107, 000             1861

   75, 000             1871

   51, 000             1881

   27, 000             1901

   11, 000             1914

   14, 000             1921

     9, 000             1939   

     4, 000             1971

     7, 000             2001

   11, 000             2010

The Future:        The recent small expansion of the City boundaries to the North of the Barbican, which has incorporated some residential properties into the area, together with recently built apartment blocks, will inevitably begin to increase the resident population once more. However, it is hard to imagine the city population ever returning to the numbers reached before the industrial revolution.

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