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Thread: Map of London from 1572 discovered – and the roads are the same

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    Map of London from 1572 discovered – and the roads are the same

    Source: Metro

    An extremely rare example of the earliest surviving map of London has been discovered. The 1572 city plan, by engraver Frans Hogenburg, provides a fascinating bird’s eye view of the underdeveloped capital city. It reveals there was a large settlement north of the River Thames, but south of it was sparsely populated. The colourful map depicts many boats weaving their way down the river, which could only be crossed by the solitary Old London Bridge.

    Recognisable landmarks include the Tower of London, the Charterhouse monastery and the old St Paul’s Cathedral, while Westminster is marked as ‘West Mester’. In a nod to a bygone age, bear baiting is shown in Southwark, and there are drawings of Queen Elizabeth figures around the map’s edges.

    The map captures London in a way very similar to how William Shakespeare would have known it: a cosmopolitan city of about 100,000 people whose ranks included royalty, nobility, merchants, artisans, labourers, thieves and beggars. Dutch, Belgian and German traders established themselves there as they sought to take advantage of the budding economy. The map was commissioned by the merchants of the Hanseatic League, who had significant commercial interests in England. They benefited from tax and customs concessions on wool and finished cloth, allowing them to control that trade.

    Their base in London was the Steelyard, which is now the site of Cannon Street station. The 13ins by 19ins map, which was printed in Cologne, Germany, is being sold by Atlea Gallery, an antique map dealer in London, at an upcoming rare books fair. It is valued at £11,000. Tom Guest, of Atlea Gallery, said: ‘This is the earliest available printed map of London, here shown in the elusive first state. ‘It is fascinating to see how small London was in 1572, especially south of the river, but the large number of boats give an indication of the importance of the city.’ The Firsts London rare books fair takes place in Battersea, south west London, from Friday to Sunday.
    “Every integral man has inside him, in his heart of hearts, a mystic center around which all else revolves. This mystic whirling lends unity to his thoughts and actions; it helps him find or invent the cosmic harmony. For some this center is love, for others kindness or beauty, others the thirst for knowledge or the longing for gold and power. They examine the relative value of all else and subordinate it to this central passion.” - Nikos Kazantzakis, 'Report to Greco'

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