Project Information

Detail of the area around St Paul's Cathedral indicating crimes tried at the Old Bailey between 1740 and 1749, both in relation to parish population figures, and as balloons for groups of crime locations.Detail of the area around St Paul's Cathedral indicating crimes tried at the Old Bailey between 1740 and 1749, both in relation to parish population figures, and as balloons for groups of crime locations.

Project Partners and Funders

This project is a partnership between the University of Hertfordshire, the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and the University of Sheffield. Geo-referencing of the Rocque map and index were carried out by Museum of London Archaeology, and the search interface was created and website front end implemented by the Humanities Research Institute (University of Sheffield), using designs provided by Mickey and Mallory. See below for Project staff.

The project was made possible by a grant from the JISC e-Content Programme 2011. We are also grateful for assistance from the Universities of Hertfordshire, London and Sheffield.

Technical Methods

Points plotted from existing index of places following, georeferenced on a per-sheet basis. Points plotted from existing index of places following, georeferenced on a per-sheet basis.

The project was carried out in a five step process.

First, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) created geo-referenced versions of John Rocque’s 1746 map of London and the 1869-80 Ordinary Survey map. See Mapping Methodology.

Second, place names in all the datasets (except the archaeological datasets of clay pipes and ceramic shards which were already geo-referenced) needed to be linked to the indexed place names on the maps. The Old Bailey Online and London Lives datasets, consisting of XML tagged files, contain approximately 1.7 million tagged place-name instances (including variants). The Centre for Metropolitan History's structured datasets included 65,000 place-names identified from the Hearth Tax, and from the Bills of Mortality. Using the Geocoder, specific coordinates were added to all identifiably individual place names in all these datasets, excluding place names that could not be disambiguated, at the most specific level possible (street, ward, parish, city).

Third, to enable per-capita statistics to be compiled, population data were compiled for all of London's parishes. See Estimating London's Population.

Fourth, a new web-based user interface was created using a Google maps container. The design and layout of the site were produced by Mickey & Mallory on the basis of wireframes produced by the project. The interface allows data retrieved from all four main project datasets plus demographic data to be mapped as layers onto the 1746 Rocque map, the 1869-80 OS maps, and Google maps. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) and mapping environment use a Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) and open source AJAX-style data display techniques. Small, discrete web APIs were developed for each dataset which enable the mapping service’s GUI to query, retrieve and visualise data items. The APIs are written in Java (server-side) with client-side communication using RESTful HTTP standards.

Final Report

A copy of our Final Report, including conclusions, recommendations, and implications for the future, will be available for download in 2012.

Advertising Policy

Locating London's Past is a not-for-profit project whose sole objective is to facilitate the incorporation of geographical analysis into research on the history of London. Access to this website is free to all users. Since it costs money to maintain the site, and the grant which funded its creation has ended, it is necessary to obtain separate funding to ensure its continuation. For this reason, the site includes advertising. All profits derived from advertising will be devoted to maintaining and upgrading the site.


Street lines expanded to polygons based on recorded width. Street lines expanded to polygons based on recorded width..

Since Locating London's Past is a free resource with no recurrent funding, and advertising revenue can only fund part of the running costs of this website, we welcome donations to help us keep this website free and available to all users. All donations will be devoted exclusively to maintaining and upgrading the site. To make a donation click here. Payments may be made using Gift Aid: for every £1 donated to Locating London's Past, Gift Aid adds an additional 28p. Donations are made through Google Checkout, and details of its secure payments service can be found here.

Future Plans

This website is designed to be expandable. Additional maps of London and relevant mappable datasets concerning any aspect of London's medieval, early modern, and modern history will be added as they become available. If you would like to suggest an additional map or dataset please contact us at Charges will be levied to cover relevant costs.

Staff at the Centre for Metropolitan History are currently working on a linked project, Mapping London, which will create a geo-referenced version of William Morgan's map of London of 1681/2. This will be available initially as part of a set of downloadable tools for use within a desktop GIS environment, but in due course it is hoped to add it and other datasets to the Locating London's Past website.

Project Staff


We would like to acknowledge the assistance of:

  • JISC staff, particularly Alastair Dunning and Paola Marchionni
  • Patrick Mannix of MOTCO: UK Directory and Image Database-Antique Maps, Prints & Books, for providing a high resolution digital copy of John Rocque’s 1746 map of London.
  • Our Advisory Panel (Miles Ogborn, David Green, Cynthia Wall, David Thomas, Ian Archer, Peter Barber, David Bowsher, Tony Morris, Alastair Dunning).
  • Sarah Charlton of Mickey & Mallory for advice on web design and usability.
  • Amy Stone of the University of Sheffield Media Office.
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