A wonderful online presentation of the 1893-95 Ordnance Survey sheets for London are available from the National Library for Scotland. At this astonishing scale the detail is exquisite, even within some buildings such as the train stations (predating Google by over 100 years). On the streets individual trees are drawn. And the map is a salutary reminder of the ultra high density back to back ‘modern housing’ around Bingfield Street that was replaced by even more modern housing in the 1960s. A fascinating lunchtime browse.
Also a reminder of the phase when competition in mapping drove higher and higher quality. Stanfords, whose shop still thrives on Long Acre and other commercial map makers competed fiercely to keep the state funded Ordnance Survey out of London producing from the 1850s fabulous large scale Library Atlases of the fast growing city, where maps were a vital tool in the burgeoning public administration. There was intense lobbying from both sides captured a little by the Library as they describe the genesis of this map. The OS mapped much of the rest of the country, leaving London almost until last, when blockbuster publications such as this would have dealt a heavy blow to private sector competitors.