Agas Map

A highly reduced representation of the whole of the Agas map

Earliest Maps of London

The earliest street maps of  London date from Tudor times - between about 1550 and1561. The first known map of Central London is a 'bird's eye view', engraved on copper sheets, dating from about 1550. Sadly, only three of the sheets from the original map have ever been found. The earliest complete representation of Central London, also a 'bird's eye view' is attrbuted to a mapmaker called Agas. It is known that Agas was not the originator but the name has 'stuck' and become a useful short-hand way (even if it is incorrect) of referring to the map. This map is a wood-cut and it is estimated that it was published about 1561. A very small version is shown at the top of this page. For the serious student of the City of London, studying the Agas map is a 'must'. It may look rather simplistic but it tells us a great deal about how London looked at the time of the Elizabethans.

 


Full-size sample of the Agas map, showing the Guildhall


The Agas Map in Print

The original wooden blocks, used to print the map, are not known to exist. The only reason we know of the map is that three paper imprints remain. One of them is in the Guildhall Library. In the early 1900s the London Topographical Society (LTS) published a facsimile of the map but that has been out of print for a very long time. The map covers eight sheets, approximately A3 in size. It is in great detail, printed in black on a white background. A sample is shown above which is approximately actual size.

In 1979 the LTS published the map in sections in book-form, called 'The A-Z of Elizabethan London', including an index compiled by Adrian Prockter. The map is reproduced actual size in grey with a red overlay, labelling places of historical interest.



Digitised and coloured  version of the Agas map

A Digitised Version of the Agas Map

Since that time, our knowledge of London has moved on and the technology to reproduce maps and distribute them electronically has been dramatic, thanks to the advent of computer technology. Adrian Prockter has continued to research the map and has also coloured the places of interest to make them 'stand out'. The result has been published electronically with labels beside each item of interest. The chosen scale is about three times the original size which means that the reader 'almost feels part of the picture' due to its clarity.

If you look again at the whole of the map (shown at the top of this page) you will see that the bottom right-hand sheet shows the River Thames, London Bridge, part of the City of London, the Tower of London and a small part of Tooley Street (on the south side of the river).

The sheets on the Agas map are traditionally numbered 1 - 4 along the top row and 5 - 8 along the bottom row. The whole of Sheet 8 is included here for you to take a look at. Just 'left click' your mouse pointer on the link below to see Sheet 8 displayed in the 'PDF Reader'. Once you are in the 'PDF Reader' you can magnify each page by a single 'left click' of the mouse. You can also 'drag' the large sheet around the screen to inspect it. One more 'left click' will return the view of a page to a smaller size.

Note: There is a Help File explaining how to use the PDF Reader. It can be downloaded on one of Reference pages.




Agas Sheet 8

The page is fully labelled. Because of its very large size, it is divided into four segments, each one is just over A2 in size. The segments are presented in booklet format. This page is at the bottom right-hand corner of the map and shows the SE part of the City of London, including the Tower of London, along with London Bridge and the riverfront to its east. Part of Tooley Street is shown on the south side of the Thames.

IMPORTANT: This pdf document is VERY LARGE. If your Internet connection is slower than 3 Mbits/sec, each page will take some time while loading - but it is well worth the wait.

 

If you have a comment to make about the Agas map or you would like more information about when the other Sheets will become available, then please email Adrian Prockter using the address shown below. ( PLEASE NOTE: For security reasons the email address cannot be copied. The email address is shown using an image ).



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