A city of meat eaters
By BOWLES, Thomas , 1719

A New and Exact Plan of Ye City of London and suburbs thereof, With the addition of the New Buildings, Churches &c. to this present year… (Not extant in any other) Laid down in such a method that in an Instant may easily be found any Place contain’d therein.

British Isles London
  • Author: BOWLES, Thomas
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed & Sold by Tho: Bowles next to the Chapter-house St. Paul's Church Yard; Sold by John Bowles at the Black Horse in Cornhill
  • Publication date: 1719.
  • Physical description: Engraved map on three sheets, joined, parishes picked out in outline colour, extending north to south from Clerkenwell to Southwark, and west to east from Buckingham House to Stepney, list of streets and squares to left and right margins, trimmed to neatline, a few nicks and tears and some minor loss, skilfully repaired.
  • Dimensions: 610 by 1475mm (24 by 58 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1512


Large and detailed plan of London.

The map bears grid lines for ease of reference, the major public buildings such as Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham House, and the Tower of London are represented as birds-eye views.

The text upon the map gives the extent of London as “7500 Geometric paces, that is above 7 English Miles and a half” from west to east and “2500 paces, or 2 miles and a half” from north to south. There are about 5000 streets. The number of houses is calculated to be 110,000. The population is guessed at “by what is eaten”: “There were in one Year, when it was less by two thirds [ie. in the mid seventeenth century], 67500 Beefs, 10 times as many Sheep, Besides Poultry &c. also every Year is brought into the River 400,000 at least Charldon of Coales”. Also the number of “Buryings” was said to number 26,000 per year. The amount of ale and beer produced is said to be 20,000 barrels. Bowles acknowledges the source of these numbers as Sir William Petty (1623-1687), who through some crude statistical analysis calculated the population in the mid-seventeenth century. He estimated that there were 115,846 families and 695,076 souls; more than Paris, Rome, Rouen or Amsterdam, which were said to have some 500,000 souls. To the left of the text is a list of watermen and hackney carriage rates.

Scale: 11 inches to 1 statute mile.


  1. Howgego 63 (1).