Mapping London’s history

London, map, heritage
A 17th century map of London (W.Hollar)

Huge heritage project to bring together the city’s historic archives on one website wins funding.

London, map, heritage
A 17th century map of London (W. Hollar)

Records covering the capital’s long, rich and diverse history could soon be available at the touch of a button after an ambitious mapping project received more than £100,00 in key funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Layers of London, a project led by the Institute of Historical Research, part of the University of London, and including The British Library, London Metropolitan Archives, Historic England, The National Archives and Museum of London Archaeology, aims to link all their data on a website and mobile app, which will allow the public to delve into many different layers of London’s history, from the Romans right up to the present day.

London, city, map
The eastern edge of city (Braun Hogenberg, 1572)

The resource hopes to create a multi-layered map of London drawing upon a wide variety of maps and archival materials, which are currently held in different collections, from maps and records to video and photographs.

And it’s not just official institutions which will be involved. Volunteers, interns and schools will be able to create and upload new content, including photos, film clips, personal memories and audio recordings, ensuring the project presents a vibrant and ever-changing social document.

London, map, heritage
Coronation Carnival in 1953 (Historic Barking and Dagenham)

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Stuart Hobley, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “From maps to ‘apps’! If you enjoy exploring London’s history then this fascinating project will allow people to delve into the past, and bring fresh perspectives to the streets and buildings we see every day.”

The project will start on 1 May 2016,  initially focus on the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, working with the borough archives, schools, and with local community groups.

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