To live in a city with such a distinguished history as London causes the mind to often whiz back in time. One way of doing that is to muse over the city’s streets, court, gardens, palaces, etc, that have gone up and down over the centuries. I like maps, and not any maps; the older, the better, I say. They tell stories, some that may still be told, others that have turn to stone. Here are two of my favourite maps, and, nisi fallor, some of the most detailed representations (if not the most) of London before the Great Fire of 1666.
Showing London from the Tower to the East to Gray’s Inn to the West. Taken from John Norden’s Middlesex, dated 1593. Each map is 9½ inches by 6¾ inches. Click to magnify.
Same as above. Showing the city of Westminster from the Strand to the East to Westminster Abbey to the West.
This map generally goes by the name of Faithorne, the engraver, but in reality the credit is due quite as much to Richard Newcourt the elder (d. 1679), who was the draughtsman. It is selected for a place here because, the date being 1658, it shows the City as it was before the Fire. Showing the heart of the City, with St Paul’s cathedral at the centre and going as north as Bunhill. One may even count the houses on each street. And I live right there, off Charterhouse square. Click to magnify