This map is the 17th century equivalent to the London A-Z. During the 1600s, London expanded rapidly. The population had ballooned, and the capital was by far the largest city in the country. Streets were crammed with hackney coaches, and the Thames packed with river traffic. As merchants and traders flocked to the city, and new buildings were constructed, coffee houses and theatres were increasingly buzzing with activity. London was evolving into the chaotic commercial metropolis we know today.
This map was designed to help 'country men' find their way round the capital's tangled streets. The inscription reads: 'A guide for Cuntrey men In the famous Cittey of LONDON by the helpe of wich plot they shall be able to know how farr it is to any Street.' Note the strange spellings used in an age of few dictionaries. Just 13 years later, the whole structure of the city would be completely transformed after much of it was destroyed in the Great Fire.
The list of street names at the bottom of the map includes Grub streete, Gutter Lane, Milke streete, Thredneedle street, and Pie Corner. These wonderful names give a vivid insight into the chaos of smells, textures, and products of the city.