1893-6 Ordnance Survey map of London appears online

1896-9 OS map London

I’ve been following the track of the River Thames on this 1893-6 Ordnance Survey map, and found various features that interested me for one reason or another.

My favourite pub of some years ago, Deptford’s Dog and Bell, is clearly in evidence (I wonder whether it’s the one celebrated in some of the old songs?), and The Gun in Docklands (where Nelson reputedly had assignations with Lady Hamilton) is marked.

The now-threatened Bugsby’s Reach is clearly marked.

The Thames Police have a police station in the form of a vessel (presumably, if it was on a map it was permanently moored). At Woolwich the Royal Dockyard and Royal Aresenal are blank (presumably for security reasons).

There’s also a wonderful range of works of different kinds – there are barge building works, a ropewalk, the wonderfully-named India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works and the Thames Candle and Soap Works,  the intriguing Foreign Cattle Market, various shipbuilding and graving yards, and many more drydocks and docks than we know today – and, of course, the home of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company’s home, Leamouth Wharf, can be found by the side of Bow Creek.

There are also many causeways – I guess they were previously used by watermen for ferrying passengers, goods and packages.

There were more ferries back then – the Woolwich Ferry still carries vehicles and foot passengers for free, but in the late 19th century there were also ferries at Greenwhich (now long replaced by the foot tunnel), at Limehouse and at Deptford. The Rotherhithe Tunnel was then known as the Thames Tunnel.

PS – I forgot to mention how this came up. My thanks go to think tank Kings Fund chief economist John Appleby, who posted the link and explained that these urban maps were created by the Ordnance Survey, not for the purposes of warfare as the organisation’s name suggests, but as part of 19th century efforts to understand and control communicable disease.

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