London after the Great Fire

By LEAKE, John, 1723 

An Exact Surveigh of the Streets, Lanes and Churches Comprehending within the Ruins of the City of London. First Described in Six Plats, 10 Decemr. Ao. Domi 1666, by the Order & Directions of the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, & Common Councell of the Said City, Iohn Leake, Iohn Iennings, Willm. Marr, Willm.Leybourne, Thomas Street, Richard Shortgrave, Svrveyors. & Reduced into One intire Plat.

British Isles London
  • Author: LEAKE, John
  • Publication place: [London
  • Publisher: Engraved by George Vertue for the Society of Antiquaries]
  • Publication date: 1723.
  • Physical description: Engraved plan on two sheets, joined, hand-coloured in outline, a few old tears skilfully repaired.
  • Dimensions: 500 by 1200mm (19.75 by 47.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1519

Notes

Large and detailed plan of the City of London after the Great Fire.

Title on banderole across top. The map overlaps the banderole at top centre. Inset close to the top of the map are seven views of City buildings and streets. On the right is a map of London, Westminster and Southwark showing the burnt area of the City. On a banner below this the lines appearing on the map are explained. Scale-bar at bottom right. The map shows the extent of the Great Fire; the widening of some streets (e.g. Newgate, and Gracechurch Street to London Bridge); the creation of King Street and Queen Street and a Thames embankment; and the canalisation of the Fleet River.

Within days of the fire’s extinguishing, new street layouts were being submitted to the king by architects including Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, and the cartographer Richard Newcourt the elder. But before any plan could be implemented, accurate surveys were needed to chart the extent of the destruction. The king commissioned Wenceslaus Hollar and Francis Sandford to survey the City, and the corporation commissioned a team of surveyors, whose results were submitted on a plan drawn by John Leake. The plan was completed in March 1667 and engraved by Hollar, who also produced the seven inset views of important buildings and streets affected by the Fire: the Royal Exchange, Guild Hall, Cheapside & the Cross, St. Pauls, Temple Gate Fleet Street, and Baynards Castle.

The king put in place two principal measures to prevent future catastophic fires; namely, that all newly constructed buildings were to be built of brick and stone, and that streets were to be widened, so that if one side were on fire, the width of the street would prevent the other side from catching fire.

Scale: approx. 17 1/2 inches to 1 statute mile. 

Bibliography

  1. Howgego 21 (a).
    • Howgego, J. (1978). Printed maps of London, circa 1553–1850. Folkestone: Dawson.