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The Agas Map of Early Modern London (uvic.ca)
48 points by MarcScott 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

Fantastic, this is absolutely stunning. A few things stand out:

* What an incredible transformation that London has seen; the city then was surrounded on all sides by fields. But still through this transformation - and also through the Great Fire, the civil war, the World Wars - it's still recognisably London.

* Notice several casualties that the city's been dealt, including 1. the old - and imho far more beautiful - London Bridge (https://www.golakehavasu.com/london-bridge), 2. the old city wall with all the gatehouses still intact, 3. Baynards Castle which was destroyed during the Great Fire.

* The two arenas at the bottom of the image were for bull and bear baiting - for betting and entertainment. We've come a long way as a society.

* Charing Cross monument was still there, which surprised me. A quick search shows there's been a cross there since the 13th century (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_cross).

The Great Fire should have been an opportunity to fix it all, but it turned out to be too much of a mess to clean up the property rights. So even in places that were completely flattened, they re-built it exactly as it was before -- a complete mess of a map, but very distinctively London.

Just north of Moorgate, there are some people with bows. This is roughly where the buildings of the Honourable Artillery Company stand today (although on the other side of the road).

Civitas Londinum is a bird’s-eye view of London first printed from woodblocks in about 1561. Widely known as the Agas map, from a spurious attribution to surveyor Ralph Agas (c.1540-1621), the map offers a richly detailed view both of the buildings and streets of the city and of its environment. No copies survive from 1561, but a modified version was printed in 1633.

First thing that struck me was how empty it was on the south side of the river, so I zoomed in and saw two little stadium-like buildings; “The bolle bayting” and “The bear bayting” and a quick search confirmed their grisly purpose was entertainment: https://www.mylondon.news/news/nostalgia/corner-london-blood...

See also: http://www.historictownsatlas.org.uk/atlas/volume-iii/city-l...

You can get a print copy which is a nice gift.

Why did it stop being practice to put buildings on bridges? Seems like a great way to generate extra space in a city. You need the bridge anyway. Might as well put extra things on top of it. Imagine offices and housing all the way along the SF Bay Bridge. Could have a little electric train to take people along it.

It was never really all that common. It was mostly done in the Middle Ages, when cities were really space-constrained due to the need for city walls.

It phased out during the Renaissance; when they failed they were rebuilt without houses. Remaining ones, like the ones in Venice and Florence, have been kept around more as tourist attractions than real sites of commerce.

Does anyone know what the various numbers and letters on some of the church towers represents?

It's a key which is not shown - if you click on the churches, most of them are labelled

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