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


The area shown on the map is based approximately on the location of the Roman walls.

10 Annotations

Phil  •  Link

The arrow on the map indicates the rough centre of the area known as the City of London. "The City" does not refer to London as a whole, but a small part of it, what was the historical centre of the city (since Roman times). It is the financial centre of London and its government and independence retains many anachronisms of history. The offical site is here:

Bored  •  Link

The City has the Tower Of London at its eastern extreme, and extends almost as far as the Law Courts at the west, and the Barbican to the north. To the south is the Thames.

The curve of the roads around the City suggests that the mediaeval street-pattern formed by the city walls still survives, as it does in many other British towns and cities (and sometimes the walls themselves).

There is still one city gateway surviving to the north, as far as I recall it is also called the Barbican.

A more inclusive view of the City can be obtained by moving one square west on the Streetmap link above. I would say the centre of the City nowerdays, at least, is where the several roads join together at the Bank Of England.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

In Pepys' time, would they still consider "The City" to be only that area contained within the Romano-Medieval walls? If so, Liverpool Station looks a bit north to be the centre . . .

Glyn  •  Link

The Heraldic Symbols of the City of Westminster was and still is the Portcullis; and that of the City of London was and is the Griffin (1/2 eagle, 1/2 lion). If you walk down Fleet Street you will see a statue of a Griffin defending its territory: and the lampposts there bear either a portcullis or a griffin to show where you are.

Here are some pics of City of London Griffins:

Phil  •  Link

Bored is probably right - I've moved the pointer on the map to point at the junction by Bank.

Steve  •  Link

The City is the area enclosed by the old Roman wall. It starts in the East at the Tower of London, which was built by William the Conqueror where the wall joined the Thames, in order to control the independant minded Londoners. From the Tower it goes due North (you can see it just outside Tower Hill Tube and there is a really good bit 100yds North in a hotel courtyard) and runs just West of The Minories. It then sweeps Westwards along London Wall to the Barbican, where you can see another bit, but not up close. It then heads South again to the river, doing a bit of a dog-leg to include St. Paul's (St. Paul's is on one of two hills included within the City walls, and there has been religious activity there for a couple of thousand years; the Romans had their main sports arena between St Paul's and the river). The wall hits the river just East of Balckfriars Bridge.

There were a number of gates, including Bishops Gate, the Barbican and Crosswall. Bank Tube is more-or-less the geographic centre of the City. From here, if you walk East along Lombard Street, you will be walking along one of the original Roman main streets to the North side of the central Forum. If you stand at the corner of Lombard Street and Gracechurch, you can look South across the forum to the Monument, which commemorates the starting point of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Ismail Mazzara  •  Link

The heraldic symbol of the City of London is not the Gryphon but the Heraldic Dragon -as seen at Holborn Bar,the Embankment,and the site of the old Temple Bar on Fleet Street,near the Royal Courts of Justice. The reason I know this is because I'm on the Corporation of London's City Guides course where they have hammered this distinction into us for months.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech/British 1607-1677)
London [the long view]
Cornelius Dankerts: Amsterdam, 1647
(also re-printed and re-issued in 1661 by Justus Danckerts).

Sheet 1 / 7: printed from a single plate on one sheet: plate 1 showing Whitehall to Durham House with a figure of Law and cherubs one wearing a lion skin; plate 7 showing the region east of the Tower with a river god and putti dressed as an American Indian with an ostrich. 1647

Sheet 2 showing the area of the Strand from Salisbury House to Baynard's Castle, with the Globe theatre in the foreground; three cherubs in the sky with books and one holding a caduceus. 1647

Sheet 3 showing the area with old St Paul's in the centre and Winchester House in the foreground; River Thames in between; in the sky a figure of Mercury. 1647

Sheet 4 showing the area of the city from Bow Church to St Peter's, with Southwark in the foreground; in the sky a cartouche flanked by lions with the title "LONDON" and surmounted by the city arms. 1647

Sheet 5 showing London Bridge and the east of the city from St Magnus to Barking; in the sky a winged genius blowing a trumpet. 1647

Sheet 6 showing the Tower of London and the east end of the city, with St Olaf in the foreground; in the sky three putti with a parrot, jewel chest, crown and chain. 1647

Bill  •  Link

City (The), the general name for London within the gates and within the bars. Originally the City of London was wholly within the wall, which served at once for defence and boundary. Dwellers within the wall were citizens, those without foreigners. But as the wall became too restricted a boundary for the increased trade and population dwellers within defined districts outside the wall were recognised as citizens. Generally these districts were annexed to the nearest wards, and designated Without, as Farringdon Without, Cripplegate Without, Bishopsgate Without. As the gates marked the boundary wall of the City, bars were set up to mark the limits of the liberties on the great thoroughfares leading from them. Thus, as Ludgate marked the western boundary of the City within the wall, Temple Bar marked the western limit of the City liberties without the wall; with Newgate corresponded Holborn Bar; on the north-west were Smithfield Bars, beyond Aldersgate was Aldersgate Bar, Bishopsgate, the bars at Spitalfields; and Aldgate, Whitechapel Bars, by Petticoat Lane, the boundary of the City on the east. On the south the Thames served as the boundary of the City within the wall; the borough of Southwark being an out-liberty under the designation of Bridge Ward Without.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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