This is the first full account of the evolution of the government of London from the tempestuous days of the Commune in the late twelfth century to the calmer waters of Tudor England. In this three-hundred-year period Londoners learnt how to construct, and to manage, 'self-government at the king's command'. They had to develop ways of negotiating with demanding and very different kings and to devise ways of raising money from citizens which were seen to be fair.
London's elected rulers had also to resolve conflicting economic interests, to administer common resources and to protect and enhance the health and well-being of all those who lived in the city. London was by far the most populous and wealthy city in the kingdom, and its practices were widely copied
throughout England. It was, as the Londoners claimed in 1339, the 'mirror and example to the whole land'.