the late eighteenth century both London and the map trade
were in the midst of a spectacular growth. The city itself
was expanding, particularly westwards and northwards, with
new estates being built every year. During a period that
featured war with the American colonies as well the French
Revolution, these new estates came replete with such nationalistic
names as 'Patriot Square' and a panoply of streets named
after kings, regents, queens and princes. These carefully
planned estates may have beautified the capital, but they
didn't do much to save the colonies.
land surveyors as well developers and gentlemen owners were
in desperate need of a new, accurate and, above all, detailed
plan of the city and its environs. The last good plan of
London had been John Roque's Plan of 1740, and this was
now utterly outmoded.
Horwood, of whom very little is known and who published
only one other map of note (a six-sheet plan of Liverpool),
determined to provide the surveyors and gentleman owners
with such a plan. He probably intended to make his fortune
from the endeavour, although regrettably this did not eventuate.
know Horwood was planning his map by the very late 1780s,
and by the early 1790s had garnered enough subscriptions
to begin the survey. By the mid-1790s he had at least £4,000
in ready cash from his subscriptions, but this was still
not enough to pay for the surveying and production of the
plan, and Horwood eventually managed to secure a loan from
the Phoenix Fire Office in Lombard Street in return for
dedicating the map to the company. The Phoenix Fire Company
also spent the grand total of £20 on promotion (a
not inconsiderable sum at that time)
actual foot-slogging surveying was a tedious nightmare.
Horwood and his surveyors were sometimes refused entry to
back alleys and private estates, and occasionally to more
noteworthy areas. Horwood's frustration at not being allowed
to provide any detail of the interior of the Tower of London
(then a closed military site during a period of war and
revolution, equatable to military bases today) is clearly
evident on the plan.
Plan was a landmark for its day. Horwood intended
the plan to show every house, every street, lane and alleyway,
every feature, and many gardens in order to serve the needs
of the gentlemen landowners, surveyors and public officials
of the day. It was to be the first map since 1676 to show
every individual property, and it remained the largest scale
map of London for decades to come. It took Horwood and his
team of surveyors over a decade to complete. Today it stands
as one of the most magnificent examples of eighteenth-century
cartography, and it is with great pride that we are able
to bring it to you. For the historian or genealogist, Horwood's
Plan provides unprecedented access to late Georgian
hope you enjoy it, and appreciate the trouble Horwood took
in order to craft one of the most finely produced maps ever
produced of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
eventually wanted to incorporate views and scenes in the
margins of the map. He never managed it ... but we hope
to complete the task for him. By the end of 2006 the Horwood
map at Old London Maps, and the accompanying Cary map for
London's satellite villages, will be fully interactive,
providing contemporary commentary and views, using thousands
of engraved images of London and its environs of the time.
Please bookmark this site and visit often ... Georgian and
Regency London of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
will shortly be revealed in its stunning entirety.