The Metropolitan Green Belt has effectively prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, originally developed to resettle Londoners following the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been significantly developed and expanded.
Epping Forest also acts as a protected barrier to the further spread of London.
The county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford.
Before 1938, the council regularly met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts of the county close to that point and the dominance of railway travel had been more convenient than any place in the county. Before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100.
Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth.