So much London – and time to wrap up the comprehensive overview and move on to other things. For the last post, similar to New York, I’ve compiled a fun summary of the maps, depicting hidden hydrology and others, that existing in London. Some maps and mapping projects have already been discussed in the previous posts, either in the plethora of books, as well as some of the art & explorations. The article from the Londonist entitled “The Best Old Maps of London” is a good starting point, which highlights the quintessential map, John Roque’s map of 1746
Close ups reveal the detail of this map, which is widely cited as a resource of locating lost rivers. For locating these historic maps, there’s no better resource that Locating London’s Past, which “This website allows you to search a wide body of digital resources relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London, and to map the results on to a fully GIS compliant version of John Rocque’s 1746 map.”
Going back a bit is a great Agas Map depicting “Civitas Londinum is a bird’s-eye view of London first printed from woodblocks in about 1561. Widely known as the “Agas map,” from a spurious attribution to surveyor Ralph Agas (c.1540-1621), the map offers a richly detailed view both of the buildings and streets of the city and of its environment. No copies survive from 1561, but a modified version was printed in 1633…” An online version of the map, offers the ability to zoom in and highlight specific features. An excerpt of the map shows the level of detail (and lots of boats).
A fun and more clear version is this map Underground London, which does include items like “Underground River” and Sewer, takes a different graphical style. “This light-hearted map, originally produced for Heritage magazine, charts the secrets under London’s streets in the style of Frank Beck’s famous tube map. It has since been taken up by Metro, the Independent on Sunday and thetube.com. Illustrative rather than definitive, it includes the (now-closed) Post Office Railway, a selection of the capital’s buried rivers, Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer system and some of the curiosities of the Northern Line. In a similar style is a Beck-style map of London’s canals and navigable rivers, currently not publically available pending discussions between British Waterways and Transport for London.”
The hand-drawn versions are also fun, including this one of the Fleet River, via Londonist, shows a version involved “…a bit of research to trace the path of the lost River Fleet as it meanders under the streets of London. As you can see the map is completely hand drawn in pencil as well as the street indicators. The river is indicated by the rubbed out streets.”
As I’ve mentioned previously, the aerial perspectives are fun, and this on from the British Library of a “Balloon View of London, from the North” from 1851 provides a nice snapshot of the rapidly industrializing city.
Other locations for online maps come in a diversity of sources, including Subterranea Britannica, Layers of London, from the National Library of Scotland, (NLS) In the broader context, the Ordnance Survey (OS) is a great resource for modern and historic maps, and also check their GB1900 site that is an effort to “We need help in collecting all the names of places and features in Britain from the Ordnance Survey’s six-inch to a mile maps of around 1900”. A version of London here from the NLS site, shows a highly detailed OS map from 1888-1913 timeframe, and below a 1:25000 version from the 1937-1961 range, depicting a similar level of detail as USGS maps.
And the realm of climate change would not be complete without one of Jeffrey Linn’s Spatialities view of sea-level rise inundated transformation of the Thames into “London Bay”.
A few outside the realm of hidden hydrology, but worth a reference, you can read about British maps and map-makers as well as check out some other maps. An interesting initiative for London National Park City, which is an interesting endeavor that hits on corridors and green spaces. Some background via Geographical “‘The only difference really between a national park and a national park city,’ explains Daniel Raven-Ellison, Chief Exploration Officer of the National Park City Foundation, ‘is the acknowledgement that the urban environment, the urban habitat, the urban landscape, is just as important as rainforest, or polar regions, or a desert area. It’s not more important, it’s not less important, but we shouldn’t alienate ourselves from nature just because we are the dominate species within this landscape. “
Another that’s pretty interesting is London North/South, which shows a color coded split at the Thames, along with some reference points like stations. Not sure the usefulness, but it’s a beautiful map.
Another resource is the London Tree Map “This map is an initial attempt to visually present London tree data. The majority of the data is for street trees but also includes some park trees. The map shows the locations and species information for over 700,000 trees. The recent London iTree report estimated that there are over eight million trees in London, so the map is only a partial illustration of trees in London.”
An interesting bit of history, in terms of practical mapping, and a precursor to our handheld maps we use today, a post from The National Archives, a “…leather glove painted with a map of London landmarks and was designed to help fashionable ladies find their way to and from the Great Exhibition held in London’s Hyde Park in 1851.”