Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London's Historical Communities, Social Structure and Sewers

With the London Olympics ongoing, I dug out some interesting old maps of London from the Probert Encyclopaedia. This online encyclopedia has an excellent collection of maps that are free to the public at low resolution and available for purchase at higher resolutions.

This colorful map, the County of London Plan; Communities and Open Space Survey from 1943 provides a nice illustration of places you've heard about from literature or from lyrics by the Rolling Stones, Squeeze, the Clash or the Kinks.The Olympic Park is in the purple industrial area at the northeast edge of this view.

This is an odd looking map - a Social and Functional Analysis, also from 1943 showing the communities with a high proportion of "obsolescent" property highlighted (lowlighted really) in gray. I think this map inspired the Lava Lamp.

When I tell people what I do for a living I often mention mapping the sewer systems. At this point my wife will remind me to tell them about the "interesting" things I do. I think sewers are interesting even if others don't. Here's a detail from map of London's main intercepting sewers from 1865.

As indicated on the title block these sewers were constructed out of concern for the water quality of the Thames - even back in the 1860's this was an issue.
The main lines empty into outfalls well east of the city to keep sewage away from the population centers.

Ending further back in time, here is London in 1574, a slightly smaller city than today.


Joshua said...

Now is that the City of London or Greater London? The mystery explained here:

Dug said...

Good video!

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