London: from rural patchwork to urban sprawl

  • Map-WestHam.JPG

    British Metropolis, 1854

    Davies’s New Map of the British Metropolis and boundaries, 1854 edition. 97 x 98 cm. Peter Barber: ‘London effectively stops at Regents Park, Hyde Park and Battersea (no park yet). This represents the physical reality of how little London there was.’

    Alex Werner: ‘What’s interesting with this is how you can begin to see the railways, and how they are becoming new networks that the future development of London will depend very much upon. So the area around Wandsworth was about to become an area of massive growth and a similar map 50 years late would show a city as big south of the river as it was north. If you took it over five-year intervals, you could trace the development along the railway lines and also, earlier in the eighteenth century, along the roads that span off from the new bridges – the river was starting to lose its impact as a means of division. But the main reason this map goes so far south is to show the Crystal Palace. It had only just moved there.’

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