The Metropolis

Resource: the best sites for data about London

Mike Pollitt | Thursday 18 April, 2013 12:43

This post is a way of gathering together links to the best and most useful sites and resources for data (“facts”, in old money) about London.

If the right question to be asking is “what is really going on out there?” then these sites have a lot of the answers.

This page will be updated over time. All suggestions for additions are welcome.

Best sites for London policy data

The London dashboard

The London dashboard at the Greater London Authority’s datastore site was introduced in August 2012. It contains rolling updates of the latest data in nine categories:

Jobs and economy, transport, environment, policing and crime, fire and rescue, communities, housing, health and tourism.

It’s not perfect (why are cable car passenger numbers not published in the transport category, for example) but there’s a lot there, it’s updated regularly, and the information is presented clearly and with context. All in all it’s pretty good.

There’s also a release schedule which tells you when new data will be added.

LSEO labour market indicators

The datastore has also recently (March 2013) taken over publishing some labour market indicators which where previously available on the site of the London Skills and Employment Observatory (LSEO). There’s a useful monthly PDF cribsheet with graphs and charts for things like employment rate, number of benefit claimants, number of NEETS, and so forth.

Ward by ward data visualisations

How do house prices/knife crime/GCSE results/life expentancy/etc compare between one London ward and another? How do they compare in each ward over time? This ward by ward visualisation tool lets you see for yourself. On the map above, the mean house price in Knightsbrige and Belgravia in 2012 was £3.8m. Isn’t that nice?

There’s also a make your own map function, which deserves a wider airing.

UK Polling Report

Takes us well beyond the city border, but you can’t beat the opinion poll aggregation and commentary at the UK Polling Report if you want to find out what people are thinking. Or say they are thinking, anyway.

Londony Maps

Mapping London

Hours of fun here with the guys from UCL who make their own maps and share the best of the rest. It’s amazing.

One example out of many, this reworking of Charles Booth’s Victorian deprivation map.

National Biodiversity Network

Copyright © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved NERC 100017897 2004

The red squares on this map show recorded eel sightings in east London (sightings in the wild, not in a pot of jelly). Oh look, there was once an eel in Victoria park lake.

The map is from the National Biodiversity Network, which uses London data from Greenspace Information for Greater London.

Perhaps this site is most useful for would-be foragers. Say I want to get hold of some wild garlic but I don’t know where to find any…well I could search for alium ursinum on this map and then do a bit of…omnomnomnomnom

English Heritage

A searchable map of all listed buildings, world heritage sites, scheduled monuments, etc. Useful for showing cool old things under your nose.


Old Bailey online

All of London life is here, in the transcripts from the Old Bailey 1674-1913.

The online resource turned ten in spring 2013, and celebratory blogposts using the site for inspiration include the story of a 17th century coin fiddler, the 18th century theft of Swearus Sandestrom’s watch and the punishment of some 19th century will forgers.

Snipe also dipped into the archives to tell the story of Mary Rainbow and her nameless murdered child.

NW3 weather

This site is where a thousand snippets of weather-based office small talk can be swiftly disproved. Is this an unseasonably cold spring? When did it last rain this much in a day? Bit blustery, what? You’ll find the evidence on this simple local weather site.

UCL’s City Dashboard

UCL’s one page info-fest is perhaps more impressive than it is useful but it’s still cool. Do i need to know how deep the Thames is right now? No. Do I want to know? Sure.

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