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An image of the oldest map of London
Photograph: London Metropolitan Archives, Civitas Londinium, 2022

The oldest complete map of London is finally going on display

‘Magnificent Maps of London’ is a new free exhibition opening in April

Chiara Wilkinson
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Chiara Wilkinson
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Calling all map maniacs and lovers of latitude and longitude. The oldest complete map of London is going on display for the first time – and in even better news, you can see it for free. 

Dating back to the 1570s, the Civitas Londinium map shows how the capital looked in Tudor times, with the city stretching along the Thames from Southwark and towards the hills of Hampstead and Highgate. You’ll see no tube lines or skyscrapers – but you will spot bear-baiting pits in Bankside and livestock-grazing fields near the Tower of London. 

Also known as the Woodcut or Agas map, the artefact has undergone a hefty amount of conservation, allowing it to be displayed for budding cartographers to goggle over as part of the ‘Magnificent Maps of London’ exhibition at the London Metropolitan Archives, opening on Monday April 11.

Starting with the first attempts to draw the streets of the City of London, the exhibition details follows changes in the capital from the late sixteenth century all the way to the present day. You’ll also get to see nineteenth-century maps, charting the spread of diseases like typhoid, cholera and smallpox, and the Ruins of London survey, commissioned by the City of London Corporation to rebuild the city after the 1666 Great Fire. 

Magnificent Maps of London is on display at the London Metropolitan Archives, Apr 11-Oct 26. Free entry. 

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