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Posts Tagged ‘Horwood's Map’

Inquiring readers, I can’t gush enough about this website, which started out as a research project by Matthew Sangster “to explore the life and culture in London in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.” I discovered the site when I wanted to trace Jane Austen’s trip from her brother Henry’s house on Henrietta Street to Carlton House, the home of the Prince Regent, after the Prince’s librarian, James Stanier Clarke, invited her to visit in 1815, just as she was completing the final touches on Emma. I found the route in Horwood’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster in the Borough of Southwark, and Parts Adjoining Shewing every House (1792-99).

Logo of the title

Horwood’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster in the Borough of Southwark, and Parts Adjoining Shewing every House (1792-99).

Romantic London, the website, is divided into a number of topics of vast interest to historians, lovers of Jane Austen and the Regency era, authors, researchers, and teachers and students. In addition to Horwood’s Plan, Sangster offers tabs entitled Harrris’s List (1788), Antiquities (1791), Picturesque Tour (1792-1801), Modern London (1804), Microcosm (1804–10), Life in London (1821), and Wordsworth’s Prelude (1850). He includes a blog and provides an email address for those with questions.

It is worth your while to read the introduction to each section, starting with Introducing Romantic London. I’ll describe a few of the wonderful features on this site, and will leave the rest for you to discover on your own.

Horwood’s Map (1792-9):

Image of the full Horwood Map

Notice the 32 pages that comprise Horwood’s Map. Image from Sangster’s website.

The entire map, as drawn, is composed of grids or 32 sheets. All one needs to do with this digital map is to place a cursor over an area. I chose one near Mayfair, and pressed “+” until I honed in on Carlton House. Click anywhere on this map and explore to your heart’s content.

Closeup of Carlton House and surroundings, with pale coloration of grass, trees, and squares

Detail of Carlton House, Carlton House Gardens, St. James’s Square, and Kings Mews.

The level of detail in this close up image is simply amazing. We see Carlton House and Carlton House Gardens in a bird’s eye view. All houses, with their back yards, stables or mews, common areas and gardens are delineated. Pale colors mark squares, grassy areas, and trees.

Included in this tab is a history and texts that show how Sangster uses Horwood’s Map for his and our benefit. As an example, let’s study the tab, Modern London, which is an 1804 guide to the city, published by Richard Phillips.

Modern London (1804):

While the guide was written by Richard Phillips, the 22 views of key buildings and landscapes were engraved from designs by Edward Pugh and images of street traders and seller by William Marshall Craig. Many of us are already familiar with these images, but where were they exactly located? This tab answers that question in detail.

Orange markers and gray arrows superimposed over the entire Horwood's Map

Markers showing the locations described in Modern London

Superimposed on Horwood’s entire map are orange hiker tabs and gray arrow tabs. Hover your cursor over one, and the location is identified with a title of the images created by Pugh or Craig.

Black and white engraving of Greenwich Park with crowds celebrating Easter

Greenwich Park with the Royal Observatory on Easter Monday, Modern London, Edward Pugh

A street trader image:

Image of woman, dressed in red and blue, pushing a wheelbarrow with new potatoes past Middlesex Hospital

New Potatoes, Middlesex Hospital, by William Marshall Craig

Other tabs of note:

All the tabs lead to information for those of us interested in Austen’s era. In this section, I will detail only a few—those with images of and information about London created during Austen’s life. Each tab is designed like the one described in Modern London. You will first see Horwood’s Map with corresponding tabs, and then the engravings or lithographs and their descriptions (if they exist).

  • Antiquities (1791-1800) by John Thomas Smith shows plates of buildings, architectural details, and objects found in London.
  • Malton’s Picturesque Tour (1792-1801) consists of black and white engravings of major buildings and thoroughfares. 
  • Microcosm of London features images of Rudolph Ackermann’s famous Microcosm of London (1808-10). 
  • Select Views, or Select Views of London; with Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Some of the Most Interesting of its Public Buildings (1816) compiled by John B. Papworth and published by Rudolph Ackermann. 

In conclusion:

One reason this site excites me is that with Horwood’s map I can trace Austen’s visits to the places she and her family mentioned while staying with Henry in London, such as the Wedgwood Shop in Regent’s street. In the accompanying images that sit at the bottom of the various tabs, I can view how London looked in her day, and read contemporary accounts about these locations.

I am struck by how quickly London turns from city streets to rural surroundings; how closely houses are stacked together in the city’s center, each with their own chimneys and need for refuse removal. I can imagine how, on dry windy days, the dust from unpaved streets must have settled everywhere, and the smell of urine and feces from horses and cattle driven by drovers to Smithfield Market must have permeated through every nook and cranny, and windows and door cracks on hot summer days.

This map and the accompanying images, along with current accounts and subsequent histories, provide us (as readers and authors), with a way to follow the movements of historical and fictional people who resided in the largest city in Europe. It will also allow me to map my next visit to London, and choose specific locations to visit as I learn more about the time in which Jane Austen and her contemporaries lived.

Resources

British Library: Online Gallery: Plan of the Cities of LONDON and WESTMINSTER, Richard Horwood, 1795, includes a zoomable image, full size printable image, and a short history.

Layers of London: London Maps: Choose historical maps of London, and overlay them with information about a range of topics and themes.

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