Layers of London

About

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Layers of London project will bring together, for the first time, digitised  historic maps, photos and other information provided by key partners across London including: the British Library, London Metropolitan Archives, Historic England, The National ArchivesMOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). These will be linked in an innovative new website which will allow you to create and interact with many different 'layers' of London's history from the Romans to the present day. The layers include historic maps, images of buildings, films as well as information about people who have lived and worked in London over the centuries.

Detail of a London Bomb Damage Map. The London Bomb Damage Maps recorded the damage to buildings caused by WWII airstrikes. The darker the colour, the more serious the damage. Few people realise how extensive the damage was. This map shows Forest Hill in South East London. (London Metropolitan Archives)

Detail of a London Bomb Damage Map. The London Bomb Damage Maps recorded the damage to buildings caused by WWII airstrikes. The darker the colour, the more serious the damage. Few people realise how extensive the damage was. This map shows Forest Hill in South East London. (London Metropolitan Archives)

These materials provide unique access to all aspects of the history of London; they provide architectural, historic, economic and scientific information on the city and its people; and are important records of everyday life, work and culture in the capital.

The project seeks to unlock the potential of this heritage for stimulating large-scale heritage engagement across London at a time of unprecedented change for the city, whether in its communities, its economy or in the physical environment.

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"Prospect of London as it was flourishing before the destruction by fire" This map dates from 1675. The view of the city at the top of the map represents it as seen from St George's Church, Southwark, looking north towards the Thames. The bridge that can be seen is London Bridge.

A major element of the project will be work with the public at borough level and city-wide, through crowd-sourcing, volunteer, schools and internship programmes. Everyone is invited to contribute material to the project by uploading materials relating to the history of any place in London. This may be an old photograph, a collection of transcribed letters, or the results of local research project.

Guides and skills-training will be provided for volunteers to learn about what’s involved in researching the history of places (and their buildings and people) either individually or in groups, as well as to gain some experience in the creation of digital historical resources.  If you are interested in this please contact us at: [email protected] or fill in our online form.

We hope that Layers of London will launch new local heritage projects across the 32 boroughs of London and we would love to hear from you if you have ideas to share.

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An early ordnance survey map showing Dagenham in the 1850s - then just a small village!

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