on 15 April 2002
I found this book fascinating in a number of ways. Firstly, as someone who has worked in, and lived in or around, London for much of my life, the development of London as a city, from a collection of towns and villages, is interesting in itself. The thought of Kensington or Chelsea as outlying villages, for instance, rather than suburbs, or the idea of rough tracks through forest and moorland where now we have Underground lines and motorways: to realise that this was London, only a few hundred years ago, is extraordinary.
Secondly, this book is fascinating for the way it shows the development of maps themselves. The introduction of more accurate measurement, the development of printing techniques, the increasing value of easy-to-use maps to the London dweller as well as the visitor - all of these come across as you trace the history of London.
Thirdly, it gives some nice insights into the life of Londoners, the events - such as the Great Exhibition - which changed the city and the social change which accompanied the increases in traffic, the arrival of the railways and so on.
Anyone with an interest in the history of London will enjoy this book. If you like maps (as I do!) you will also find it hugely interesting.
on 5 February 2009
Starting with the earliest known maps of London (mid-Tudor)this book tells the cartographers story of how London developed up to the end of the last (20th) century. The social and architectural illustrations were particularly interesting. Analysing the maps discerns how the layout of the central city has, until relatively recently, followed very old patterns. The devastation of the Great Fire is well documented by detailed maps before and after. The wide range of illustrations and (later) photographs accompanying each period put flesh on the bones making it possible to visualise living in historic London.
on 22 August 2012
This book certainly contains a lot of maps dating back to some of the earliest available through to the 20th Century. Though the book is quite big (approx A3 size), in many cases, this simply doesn't allow for the sufficient readable detail needed in order to fully appreciate the maps - however, this is more a constraint of the format than a deficiency of the book, per se. That said, this book does provide a fairly detailed and interesting overview of the city through time - though you may want to invest in a decent magnifying glass in order to enhance the experience. Overall, very good value at the £7.79 delivered that I paid.