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London: A Life in Google Maps

1. From Roman urbs to Stuart city

London was founded by the Romans in about 50 AD and acquired its walls between 190 and 225. Despite some expansion London remained essentially within these walls until 1550. The city had several generally-accepted set images at this time – particularly as a walled city and as a city on the Thames - before the creation of the standard view from Bankside dating from the 1540s. William Smith's 1588 panorama for example remains an iconic image of London.

The earliest surviving printed maps of London portray a bustling, prosperous and well-ordered city. Wenceslas Hollar was completing what would have been a magnificent map when the Great Fire of 1666 intervened. But in reality there had always been more industry (and noise, discomfort, disease and smells) than was reflected in the printed maps.

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

Caesar's camp at Pancras called the Brill
View of London c.1250, in Matthew Paris's Book of Additions
Charles of Orleans in the Tower of London, 1483
William Smith's Panorama of London, 1588
John Norden's Guide for Cuntrey men in the... Cittey of London, 1653
Plan for Rebuilding the City by Christopher Wren, 1666
Ogilby and Morgan's Map of London, 1676

Next section:
Life in the 18th century

Discover more:
Virtual exhibition
1. Roman urbs to Stuart City
Hans Christian Andersen, the outsider
2. Life in the 18th century
Hans Christian Andersen, the struggle to belong
3. Sweet and salutary air
Genius of Hans Christian Andersen
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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