This map gives an idea of the degree of urbanisation in Lambeth at the end of the 18th century. The road where Catherine and William Blake lived, Hercules Buildings, is clearly shown, with the orphanage at the end of the road. The orphanage’s regulations stated that the girls were to be given new clothes every year on the anniversary of the founding of the institution, so the orphan residents would have been clearly recognisable.
Also shown on New Road, towards Westminster Bridge, is Astley’s, an indoor circus owned by Philip Astley; he was a neighbour of the Blakes, and the two had a violent argument after Blake had seen a boy employed by Astley wearing a shackle in the street.
13 Hercules Buildings was a three storey building, the first residence where the Blakes had a garden, in which they planted a fig tree and a grape vine; indeed garden scenes appear in Blake’s illuminated poems from the early 1790s. Yet it was also a few minutes’ walk from the riverside wharves ‘near where the chartered Thames doth flow’.
- Full title:
- A new pocket plan of London, Westminster and Southwark : with all the adjacent buildings. Also a correct lift of upwards of 300 hackney coach fares.
- 1797, London
- Map / Image
- William Darton
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Maps Crace Port. 5.181
- Article by:
- Andrew Lincoln
- Power and politics, Romanticism, Poverty and the working classes
The French Revolution inspired London radicals and reformers to increase their demands for change. Others called for moderation and stability, while the government tried to suppress radical activity. Professor Andrew Lincoln describes the political environment in which William Blake was writing.
- Article by:
- Michael Philips
- Childhood and children's literature, Romanticism
Michael Phillips compares the title page of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence to an earlier children’s book, in order to reveal Blake's progressive views on the importance and power of childhood.