The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:

15 Annotations

Philip Meers  •  Link

There is an excellent chapter in the book "London: As it might have been", Barker, F. and Hyde, R., 1982 (ISBN 0-7195-3857-2, John Murray Publishers) dealing with the designs that Inigo Jones created for the redevelopment of Whitehall Palace. These would have been reconsidered during the time that Pepys knew the site, as Charles II was as interested in his father in building a palace more in keeping with his position.

Philip Somervail  •  Link

Christopher Hibbert in his 1969 book, ‘London: Portrait of a City’, gives a vivid account of Whitehall Palace, "the halls and chambers of the royal palace … which … covered acres of ground on the river front between Charing Cross and Westminster Hall. Here had once stood York Place, the London residence of the Archbishops of York, where Cardinal Wolsey had lived in the 1520s in a style as grandiose as that of the royal Court itself…. When Wolsey fell from power, after failing to arrange a speedy divorce for Henry VIII from Catharine of Aragon, York Place, although it belonged to the See of York and not personally to the Cardinal, was taken over, like Hampton Court, by the King. Magnificent as it already was, Henry immediately set about making it finer. He bought additional land from the Abbot of Westminster and other neighbours and extended the grounds behind the Palace to take in acres upon acre of land for his new gardens. He built a new flight of steps to the river, and since the various buildings of the Palace were split in two by the road from London to Westminster he built two splendid bridges across the roadway.

“The beauties of Whitehall Palace, as it now came to be called, were further enhanced by three lofty galleries – the Privy gallery, which had been removed from Wolsey’s mansion at Esher, the Stone Gallery, where the guests at royal banquets could look down upon the river, and the Long Gallery with a ceiling painted by Holbein. In the grounds below were four tennis courts, a bowling green, a cockpit and a tilt yard.” In the tiltyard, to quote from the Encyclopedia of London (1983), “tournaments and bear baiting were arranged as royal entertainments.”

To continue from the same source, “the new property was connected to the old by the Holbein Gate and the King Street Gate which spanned the street. Whitehall became the chief London residence of the court…. During James I’s reign, Inigo Jones and John Webb drew up plans for a huge new palace, but only the Banqueting House was ever completed. Even so, by this time the palace comprised some 2,000 rooms…. In 1698, apparently through the carelessness of a Dutch laundry woman, the old palace was burned to the ground, with only the Banqueting House surviving.”

To this I would just add that there is a superb model of Whitehall Palace at the Museum of London, showing it in its heyday.

language hat  •  Link

Whitehall Palace:
This book looks like the thing to read if one is interested in further detail:

Here's an online history:

The Blue Guide to London says, of Henry VIII's taking over York Place, "He renamed the palace 'Whitehall', a name then generally applied to any centre of festivities," so it had nothing to do with the color of the walls.

And let's not forget Shakespeare:

You must no more call it York Place, that's past:
For, since the cardinal fell, that title's lost;
'Tis now the King's, and call'd Whitehall.
--King Henry VIII, IV, i.

hazel-mary  •  Link

Whitehall Palace - According to the works accounts of 1623-4, Isaac de Caus, a fashionable garden designer, grotto builder and engineer, was paid to create a shell grotto in the cellars of Inigo Jones's Banqueting Hall around this time. This was a Privy cellar or private drinking den for James I and his cronies. It is not clear when it was removed. Maybe Pepys visited it. It certainly sounds like his sort of thing.

Emilio  •  Link

Here's Macaulay's description of Whitehall in 1685. The passage gives a vivid impression of the place as Pepys knew it, and can be found at .

"Whitehall naturally became the chief staple of news. Whenever there was a rumour that anything important had happened or was about to happen, people hastened thither to obtain intelligence from the fountain head. The galleries presented the appearance of a modern club room at an anxious time. They were full of people enquiring whether the Dutch mail was in, what tidings the express from France had brought, whether John Sobiesky had beaten the Turks, whether the Doge of Genoa was really at Paris These were matters about which it was safe to talk aloud. But there were subjects concerning which information was asked and given in whispers. Had Halifax got the better of Rochester? Was there to be a Parliament? Was the Duke of York really going to Scotland? Had Monmouth really been summoned from the Hague? Men tried to read the countenance of every minister as he went through the throng to and from the royal closet. All sorts of auguries were drawn from the tone in which His Majesty spoke to the Lord President, or from the laugh with which His Majesty honoured a jest of the Lord Privy Seal; and in a few hours the hopes and fears inspired by such slight indications had spread to all the coffee houses from Saint James's to the Tower."

Esme  •  Link

There are pictures of Whitehall Palace in the fantastic collection of London pictures on the historic Guildhall Library's Collage website at

You can search in various ways including putting dates into the "Advanced Search", or drilling down through the "Places" category.

Just give yourself plenty of time, as there are lots of interesting leads to follow.

Pauline  •  Link

Matted Gallery
from L&M Companion entry for Whitehall
On the first floor, roughly parallel to the river, immediately above the Stone Gallery, running from the e. end of the Privy Galley to the staircase leading down to the Bowling Green. For those with business at the palace, it was a convenient semi-private walk. The Duke of York’s closet and chief apartments were reached from it in the ’60s, with subsidiary rooms belonging to him on the floor below.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Plan of the White hall palace showing it to be a large complex, it even shows where Carlos Rey would sneak over to the apartment No. 32 [of Palmer] down the hallway from No. 7 L. Albermarle [Moncke]. Carlos Rey would enjoy the trip thru the privey across two streets, lots of work.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Hollar, Wencaslas (Czech/British, 1607-1677)

Whitehall Palace; view W, from an inlet of the Thames, with part of Lambeth Marsh on the left, Whitehall Palace, the Banqueting House and Whitehall stairs on the opposite bank, the tower of old St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the SW turret of Suffolk (Northumberland) House on the right, with numerous wherries on the river
Pen and grey ink, tinted with watercolour

Inscriptions: Inscribed by the artist in grey and brown ink: "White Hall Palatium Regis" and in grey ink: "Thamesis fluvius"

Dimensions: Height: 98 millimetres, Width: 293 millimetres

Curator's comments
From Hollar's first period in London 1637-43. Possibly connected with Hollar's etching 'Palatium Regis prope Londinum vulgo Whitehall' (Pennington 1039).

Image and additional descriptive text:

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.