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London plan

The shape of the City of London

London knew a rapid development, from the Tudors to the Windsors. It was also a free haven for immigrants or asylum seekers.
Religious persecution in the Low Countries forced Jodocus Hondius (1584), Petrus Kaeris with many others, to take refuge in London, where they established themselves. The great Czech engraver Wenceslaus Hollar, was working out of the city.
The French Huguenot John Rocque, who moved to London at the beginning of the eighteenth century to avoid religious persecution made one of the most important plans of London on one, four, eight, 16 and 24 sheets.

Below an overview of antique plans and views of London currently available.
They show the development of the City from the earliest available plan by Frans Hogenber of 1572 until plans of Victoria London.

The Great Fire
At the time of the great fire, plague was still present in London. Early in the morning of Sunday 2nd September 1666, a baker's shop in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge caught fire. The houses nearby were overcrowded and made of wood, and the fire quickly spread to the riverside where large quantities of highly combustible materials were kept. The early destruction of the water wheel at the bridge meant that the areas round about had no water supply with which to fight the fire. The fire spread rapidly into the heart of the City and was soon threatening the Royal Exchange, Lombard Street and Cornhill, a very wealthy area.

Rebuilding the City
The fire was to change the character of London forever. Sir Chistopher Wren and John Evelyn drew up plans to redesign the city but ultimately the existing street plan had to be followed, due to a lack of government funding. Four kinds of houses were specified by the Rebuilding Act of 1667, to be built only of brick and stone. The new city gradually grew up with wider streets and regular brick houses.

19th century London
Admiral Nelson's triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 enabled Britain to attain naval supremacy in Europe, which led to the confidence and prosperity which characterised the nation and, in particular, 19th century London. The triumphal Nelson's column, surrounded by Landseer's massive lions and set in Trafalgar Square in 1839, epitomised this mood. Other great building work, which shaped the London we know today, had started at Buckingham House in 1826. George IV had changed his plans to have his parents' London home merely reconstructed, and decided to transform it into a Royal Palace. The architect, John Nash, took so long to finish the building that, upon the King's death in 1830, he was quickly replaced. Edward Blore completed the Palace and later added the present east-wing for Queen Victoria (the facade was altered in 1913).

The prosperity of the City of London led to a rapid increase in land prices. The City's population started to move to the suburbs. In turn, the suburbs regrouped along existing class structures. The Upper and Middle Classes moved to areas such as Hampstead and the West End.

Below an over view of antique plans and views of London currently available.

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