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London: A Life in Google Maps

2. London life in the 18th century

In the wake of the Fire a spate of visionary proposals for the rebuilding of the city were submitted. The cities of London and Westminster grew and spread northwards, with the population and social life increasingly concentrated outside the City. After two further fires, court life moved to the increasingly prestigious new suburb of St James's.

The wealthy and the middle-classes mingled in pleasure gardens, like Vauxhall and Ranelagh, elegant shops and the numerous theatres. The great estates (Mayfair, Portman and Portland, Bedford and Grosvenor) were developed and have remained prestigious. By 1746 London had overtaken Paris as Europe's largest city, its wealth buttressed by profits from the City.But still looking enviously from the grime and stench of the rookeries were the destitute, gin-sodden and short-lived poor.

Click the pins on the Google Map above or follow the links below to view some of the key maps from this period in our Online Gallery.

Porter's Newest and Most Exactest Mapp, 1654
St James's Palace and Park, 1710
Map of the Grosvenor Estate, 1723
John Rocque's Exact Survey, 1746
Drawn plan of the estate of Lord Berkley, 1767
Robert Adam, Gateway to Westminster at Hyde Park Corner, 1778
Drawing of the inside of the King's Theatre Pantheon, 1791

Next section:
Sweet and salutary air: London's surrounding villages

Discover more:
Virtual exhibition
From Roman urbs to Stuart city
1. Roman urbs to Stuart City
London life in the 18th century
2. Life in the 18th century
Sweet and salutary air
3. Sweet and salutary air
Out of sight: the East End
4. Out of sight: the East End
The age of improvement
5. The age of improvement
Victorian London
6. Victorian London
Vox pop
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