London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details

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Date of Creation:

16-- - 198-

Reference Code:


From Collection:


Scope and Content:
  • This series consists of an extensive and significant collection of mainly printed maps documenting the growth and development of the City of London and the 28 Metropolitan Boroughs which formed the County of London. The maps vary in size and scale from small single sheets, folding pocket maps, to large rolled maps and are limited to covering an individual Metropolitan Borough or within a Borough a single place, parish or small area. They are often very detailed, giving street names (and sometimes property numbers) as well as the site of new or proposed developments.

    Amongst the highlights of this series (of which there are many) are some of the City of London Ward Maps by Benjamin Cole (1725–1813), the third generation of a family of engravers, publishers, mathematical and optical instrument-makers, whose maps of the administrative areas known as Wards in the City capture not only the street lay-out but also pictorially represent notable buildings and include exterior illustrations (for example, SC/PMMB/01/01/066 for Cheap Ward). Other highlights include a detailed plan of the Dock Yard at Deptford and the surrounding area by Thomas Milton which is decorated with a magnificently engraved view of the River Thames showing vessels and river traffic (SC/PM/MB/01/07/009); and maps which document particular events such as that created by the artist William Frazer depicting the area in Ratcliffe devastated by fire in 1794 (SC/PM/MB/01/25/032).

    The maps have been catalogued in chronological order as defined by the date that the map depicts. By viewing the maps of a particular area in this order the collection provides a wonderful visual resource of the often rapid changing nature of some areas, one notable example being the development of the area around St. George’s Circus, Southwark. An area which was transformed from rural and marshy countryside into a major thoroughfare linking the City, via Blackfriars Bridge, with the Elephant and Castle and beyond.

    Further details regarding the maps of each borough can be found in the sub-series scope descriptions.

Extent: 5.75 linear metres
Classification: COLLECTIONS
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Format Type: map or plan
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • This series is part of the Metropolitan Maps collection which has its origins in the library and record office of the London County Council (LCC) established in 1889 as the principal local government organisation for the County of London, the archive holdings of which form a major part of the core collections at LMA.

    This series is an extensive and significant collection of mainly printed maps documenting the City of London and the 28 Metropolitan Boroughs, as established under the London Government Act 1899, as administrative sub-divisions of the County of London. The Metropolitan Borough system was abolished by the London Government Act 1963; the existing Metropolitan Boroughs were merged to create 12 of the 32 larger London Boroughs within the Greater London area. However, the Metropolitan Borough divisions have been retained for the structure of this series to reflect the original cataloguing order established by the London County Council record office and later the Greater London Council Record Office (both of which now form part of the London Metropolitan Archives).

Access Restrictions: Available for general access