Fancy checking out what London’s streets looked like while Henry VIII was humming along to Greensleeves in Hampton Court Palace? Well, you can get pretty damn close — around 13 years after his death, to be more exact.
A map of London, dating all the way back to the 1570s, is set to go on display in London next month as part of an all new “Magnificent Maps Of London” display at the London Metropolitan Archives. Known as Civitas Londinium, or the Woodcut/Argas map, is the oldest complete map of London known to exist.
Civitas Londinium was created in the 1570s, though the three prints in existence all date to 1633. It gives a view into London during the tumultuous times of the Tudors, and spans from Southwark to Highgate, and even illustrates boats sailing through the Thames.
In the exhibition, visitors can also expect to view some other eye-opening historical documents, including a survey that followed the Fire Of London, called Ruins of London. This was commissioned by the City of London Corporation after the tragic 1666 disaster that struck on Pudding Lane and spread around the city.
The survey was finished in 1667 and speaks of the destruction to 13,000, around 90 churches and landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral. Other documents even outline the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and smallpox