History Hoydens

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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

23 February 2007

Maps

How do you know where you’re going, or more specifically where you characters are going? It’s one thing to make up a town and do with it as you will, but it’s something else entirely when you simply need to know the layout of a real city at a specific point in history.

Luckily, many antique maps are now available on the web. I set my novels in the late Georgian period, and some of the action takes place in London. I’ve walked the streets of Mayfair, so I know about how long it takes to stroll from Grosvenor Square to White’s. What I don’t know from my modern walking tour is what the street names were in back then, what streets existed and which ones are new, If the house I want to use had mews, etc.

So, I must search out a period map (ok, I don’t really have to, but I’m anal this way). The maps that have been the most useful to me are Richard Horwood’s map of Westminster and Southwark, c. 1792, John Rocque’s London, Westminster and Southwark, c. 1746, John Fairburn’s London, Westminster, & the New Docks, c. 1802, and J. Cary’s 15 Miles Round London, c. 1786.

Have you found any terrific maps out there for your period/place of interest?

5 Comments:

Blogger Keira Soleore said...

Brilliant!! Thanks a bunch for posting those links!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

John Snow's 1818 map of London is wonderful. The link I gave you is the whole map. You can get sections by clicking on the rectangles. Someone once wrote that she downloaded the pieces together and photoshopped them into a wall map, but mine is just printed section by section and taped together.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Michelle Pillow said...

Thanks for the links!

I know this isn't the period you were talking about, but...

In my research, I've used an older book I found in a used bookstore (so not sure if it's still in print) "The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History" by Colin McEvedy. I normally try to check at least two sources on facts, but this breaks down the regions by time period (not so much the towns) if anyone was looking.

Also "Atlas of the Medieval World" by Rosamond McKitterick is a newer book and is great because it looks at a wider area--not just European society.

Great blog ladies!
Michelle

9:33 AM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

Thanks, Michelle.

Pam, I too have printed out the sections and taped them together. Then I coloured in the homes I chose for various characters in pink, and actual places (Almack's, White's, etc.) in blue. It's very handy.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Thanks for the links, Kalen. I can't get a good feel for my setting without maps (and house plans). Towns and City Maps of the British Isles by Roy Strong has been helpful, though the map I usually need is of a more modern time than my story. :(

1:10 PM  

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