Above: Small scale representation of the whole map. Details easy to identify are – Lincoln’s Inn Fields on the far left (with High Holborn above them and Strand below). St Paul’s Cathedral towards the centre. Part of London Bridge is shown at the bottom of the map. The Tower of London is shown in the bottom right-hand corner.
This is one of the important maps of London, made just after the Great Fire of London (1666) and published in 1677. Its name relates to two men – John Ogilby and William Morgan. John Ogilby was born about 1600 and did not turn his attention to surveying until he was aged 66 years when he secured the appointment as ‘King’s Cosmographer and Geographical Printer’. He died in 1676, a year before his map was published. He was assisted in producing the map by William Morgan, his wife’s grandson. Most of the actual engraving of the map was carried out by Wenceslaus Hollar.
It is essentially a map showing the City of London, with the streets and houses shown rebuilt by 1676. The original is an enormous map, printed on 20 sheets, forming a map about eight feet wide and four feet high when the sheets are laid out. The whole map features the title along the top, the City arms and a dedication to the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen and Sheriffs of the City. When first published, it was the first accurate and detailed map of the City of London, with all the buildings represented in plan rather than a bird’s-eye-views. For accuracy and detail, the map is unrivalled, particularly bearing in mind that it was produced at the early date of the mid-17th century.
For those who study the City of London – including historians and archaeologists alike – the map is probably one of the most important of all the maps produced up to this date. The early 16th century maps are useful but all the details appear as a bird’s-eye-view which does not help in establishing the exact scale of a building. The Ogilby and Morgan map was carefully surveyed and, therefore, acts as the first accurate record of the dimensions of the streets and buildings in and around the City.
In passing, it should be mentioned that there is also another much smaller scale map of the City of London, showing the extent of the Great Fire of London. The map was made by John Leake but the engraving for printing the map was also made by Wenceslaus Hollar.