Rocque’s Map of Georgian London, 1746

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Mapping London has always been most interested in modern maps of London, however we are happy to make the occasional exception, and so when this reproduction of a map that was over 250 years old crossed the desk at Mapping London Towers, we were keen to take a look.

The original map was surveyed by John Rocque, engraved by John Pine and first published in 1746. It was the most detailed map of London in its time, with over 5000 street and place names. Modern publisher Old House has been to the National Archives to retrieve the twenty four sheets, take high quality imagery of them, and produce a modern reproduction on four large sheets.

The presentation of the reproduced maps is excellent. They come in an attractive card box, which folds out like a book (see photo below) with a short history of the map on the inside cover. The history notes some details of the map’s cartography, such as the inclusion of the infamous gallows at Tyburn. Because the map is back and white, symbols are often used rather than colours, to denote features. For example, orchards and small woods are shown as groups of individual trees, each shown with a shadow. There are many tiny alleyways, most with a name, although the smallest ones’ names are not always readable on the reproduction, which is slightly blurry in a few places.

Each of the four sheets forming the map are folded to A5. Each sheet is over a metre wide once folded out. Although the map obviously looks suitably old, it is, slightly surprisingly, printed on glossy paper, which gives it a slightly less antiquated look and feel. You’ll need to trim the edges if joining the four sheets together to make a huge map – and you’ll need a 200cm x 120cm space on your wall!

The map, and particularly its presentation in the box, makes for an attractive present for a map-loving Londoner, particular one who lives in Zone 1-2 and so can find their modern location on an old map – London of course having been much smaller 260+ years ago.

See Old House books for full details, and here is a direct link to the map on Amazon. Note that, at the time of writing, the alternative sellers on Amazon are selling the map for £10 cheaper than Amazon is itself. Old House have produced other reproduction maps of London too, such as Elizabethan London in 1572 and Victorian London from 1863.

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Thank you to publisher Old House for the review copy.



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