Manuscript map of Victorian London: "the largest city in world..."

[Manuscript map of London]

British Isles London
  • Author: ANONYMOUS
  • Publication place: [London
  • Publication date: c1858-62].
  • Physical description: Pen and ink and colour wash on paper, keys to the central oval plan pasted to border, some loss to centrefold and text.
  • Dimensions: 550 by 790mm (21.75 by 31 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14477


The plan extends from Kensington Palace in the west to Rotherhithe in the east, and from St Pancras in the north to Walworth in the south.

Surrounding the plan are 14 keys listing: Public Squares; Museums and Institutions; Hospitals and Asylums; Arcades and Bazaars; Parks; Public Baths and Wash Houses; Colleges; Bridges; Public Markets; Public Meeting, Music and Concert Rooms; Railway Stations; Public Buildings; Exhibitions; and Theatres.

Above the centre of the plan is a brief description of the City:

“London is the largest city in the world, with its suburbs comprising an area of 35 square miles, it contains 3,000,000 inhabitants, nine railway stations, 7 cemetery companies, 6 parks, 300 Churches [ ] 22 Foreign Chapels &c. &c. &c.”

All though the plan is not dated, a date can be ascertained from the marking of post codes first introduced in 1858, and the marking of James Wyld’s Great Globe in Leicester Square, which would be demolished in 1862.

Manuscript plans of London on this scale are highly unusual. We are unable to trace another similar example appearing on the market since the Second World War.

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