London: A Life in Maps

Newcourt map of London 1658

If you are in London between now and March next year I would recommend a visit to British Library exhibition “London: A life in Maps“.

This is a great treat for anyone who loves maps like the famous Newcourt map of 1658 (above) illustrating London pre the Great Fire. Other maps of great interest include Charles Booth’s map of “Wealth and Poverty” – a early neighbourhood or geodemographic classification layer produced 100 years before GIS.

Full marks to the British Library for making the most of modern mapping techniques, within the exhibition it is possible to see the London maps overlaid onto Google Earth, and on the British Library website there is a Google Maps mash-up indexing a range of the maps.

It is a shame modern OS mapping could not have been more prominent, no doubt some confusion over licensing.. it interesting actually how unimportant OS mapping has been in the development of London, as for much of its history the OS was underfunded and it maps not suitable for urban mapping.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

3 Replies to “London: A Life in Maps”

  1. Pingback: Londonist
  2. We visited “London: A life in maps” yesterday and loved it. Pure nirvana for a map junkie! Free is just the icing on the cake.

    By the way, the British Library is well worth a visit even without this exhibition – it has a wonderful collection of ancient books and documents on display.

  3. Booth’s maps and other documents from his survey can be viewed online alongside a modern map (interestingly, not an OS map 😉 ) at the LSE’s Charles Booth Online Archive.

    Its a facinating exercise to view the location of Booths ‘vicious semi-criminal’ residents against a modern map.
    What a shame there’s no WMS for it there though.


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