Saturday, January 20, 2018

The First Modern Map of London


Do you know how many roads there are in the City of London?

None - there are no roads in the City of London.

The reason there are no roads in the City of London is because all those streets paved with gold were named a long time before the word 'road' came into use about 250 years ago.

If you don't believe me then you can search this 1682 map of London for any streets with a 'road' place-name. The London Time Machine is an interactive version of William Morgan's map of London. If you explore the map you will find lots of streets, lanes, alleys and yards. You won't find any roads.

William Morgan's map was the first properly surveyed map of the city released after the 1666 Fire of London. After the Fire of London the city had to be rebuilt and this new city needed a new map. The survey for the map took 6 years to complete. The finished map was made up of 16 copper engravings and is eight feet by five feet in size. Along the bottom of the map is a panoramic view of the city created by Robert Morden and Phillip Lee. The panorama shows a view of the city as seen from south of the River Thames.

Luckily for map fans William Morgan's map was featured in the BBC's great The Beauty of Maps series.

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