Map of London, showing where William Blake lived


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

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