A new digitised 18th century map of greater London

Part of Faden's Map

William Faden's 1788 map of London and its Environs, which stretches from Tring in the north-west to Tunbridge and Yalding in the south-east, has been recreated digitally and printed onto six separate sheets by Andrew Macnair, who says 'William Faden’s map, The Country Twenty Five miles round London planned from a scale of one mile to an inch, gives us an idea of the landscape close to the metropolis in the last third of the 18th century. It shows the extensive commons, downs and heaths which were soon to disappear with Parliamentary Enclosure as well as the estates of the landed gentry who wanted to enjoy the countryside but who also wished to live close to the capital'. Andrew's digital redrawing of Faden's London map is taken from the third imprint published in 1790.

In 2005, Andrew published a digitised version of Faden's 1797 map of Norfolk (see the two page article in Local History Magazine No.103, July/Aug 2005) which he tells us has turned out to be immensely useful in all manner of unexpected ways. Not least to local authorities now having to undertake 'land characterisation exercises' prior to planning decisions. He has since been working with Tom Williamson, Professor of Landscape Studies at the University of East Anglia, 'who has been able to unearth evidence of much earlier landscape patterns from the (Norfolk) map'. Together, they are currently putting the finishing touches to a book about the late-18th century Norfolk landscape as seen through the map, which they expect to publish in 2010. There is now an excellent website devoted to Faden's Norfolk map and Andrew's digitised version (, where you can explore the landscape in detail and hop from map to map with a single online 'click'.

Part of Faden's Map

Andrew makes the point that Faden's map of London and its Environs is 'an amalgam of several county maps that Faden, through his publishing business, acquired and details the (greater London) landscape over a ten to forty year period, from 1755 to 1783'. Because of this, Andrew is the first to acknowledge that 'it is not such a valuable piece of evidence'. What is missing is the detail you find on Faden's own maps. Nonetheless, the map is visually very appealing and will keep an interested viewer occupied for hours ― as we hope the two extracts which accompany this story well demonstrate. There are six separate sheets, all printed on high quality 180g matte paper, each measuring 85x104cm, to a scale of 2” to 1 mile. Each sheet costs £25 plus c£6 p&p, with discounts when you buy more than one sheet. Customised versions of the map are also available. This map also has its own website.

Never a man to sit back and bask in the glory of what he has already achieved, Andrew is now busy digitising Joseph Hodskinson's map of Suffolk from 1783, which he hopes to finish next year. In the meantime you buy both his new London map and the previously published Norfolk map online via his two websites, or you can contact him direct for more information: Dr Andrew D Macnair, Ivy House, Market Hill, Foulsham, Dereham, Norfolk NR20 5RU, tel: 01362 683372, email:

23 October 2009

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