Middlesex is the smallest English county after Rutland but the third most populous in Britain. Middlesex is certainly the most urban county, being almost wholly covered by London and its outgrowths. Middlesex has been called “the Capital County” as the home of the capital city (whether you think that is London or Westminster).
Unbroken townscape stretches from one side of the county to the other. This does however just link town to town without always erasing the distinctiveness of each Middlesex town and village. Most distinctive are the City of London and the City of Westminster adjoining it, the former housing the financial institutions of the kingdom and the latter its social, cultural and political institutions, and of course the top shops. The City of London is unique in being governed mainly by the business community which are, after all, its main inhabitants. London, by whatever definition, is a unique city and for all its faults the greatest, and most wondrous in the land, and second only to Edinburgh in any honest list of favourites.
The change of perceptions, the growth of London and its monolithic grip on the imagination, has confined the name of Middlesex in many minds to the outer suburban fringe. Here there is a distinct suburban life. This is a mixture of calm communities, small towns and the commuter belt. Within it towns such as Enfield, Ruislip and Uxbridge are distinct and loathe to call themselves “London”.
Middlesex is bounded on three sides by rivers; the Lea forms the eastern border with Essex, the Colne forms the western with Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and the great River Thames is the southern border, against Surrey and Kent. Hertfordshire lies to the north. Some rural life survives along the Colne Valley forming Middlesex’s western border and the northern stretches surrounding Potter’s Bar. Potters Bar itself it a town separated from the conurbation, if individually urbanised in its own way.
County Town: City of London
Main Towns: Acton, Brentford, Camden Town, Chiswick, Edgware, Edmonton, Enfield, Fulham, Golders Green, Hackney, Hampstead, Hanworth, Harrow, Hendon, Highgate, Hounslow, London, Mill Hill, Millwall, Pinner, Potter’s Bar, Soho, Staines, Stanmore, Tottenham, Uxbridge, Westminter, Whitechapel.
Main Rivers: Brent, Crane, Lea, Colne, Thames.
Highlights: Buckingham Palace; Harrow on the Hill; Hampton Court; Hampstead Hill; Hyde Park; Lord’s Cricket Ground, Westminster Abbey; Syon House; St Paul’s Cathedral; Tower of London; Houses of Parliament.
Highest Point: High Road, Bushey Heath, 509 feet.
Area: 285 sq miles
County Flower: Wood Anemone
County Day: May 16th (Middlesex Regiment “Diehards”, Albuhera 1811)