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Title: London: a brief history


1
London a brief history
  • Alan Powers
  • University of Greenwich
  • 5 October 2004

2
Roman London
  • Roman wall built c.200 AD. The names of the
    gates still exist as street names.

3
Roman cities were all laid out to the same basic
plan
  • It was a map of the four parts of the heavens, at
    the intersection of the paths of the sun and the
    stars. They called this the umbelicus or navel
    of the city. An offering to the gods of the
    underworld was placed here in a mundus, a
    double chamber below ground.

4
  • A section of the London wall at Tower Hill.
  • The lower courses are Roman.
  • The wall was built into later houses rather than
    demolished.

5
  • A reconstruction of London in 1400, with St
    Pauls Cathedral, London Bridge and the Tower of
    London

6
Power relations in mediaeval London
  • London was still mostly contained within the
    Roman walls, although these were not very strong
    for defence. The King used London merchants as a
    source of money, and his Tower prevented
    rebellion.
  • The Court was based at Westminster

7
  • The Tudor palace at Greenwich, a favourite
    residence of King Henry VIII (1491-1547), close
    to the shipbuilding yards of Deptford and Woolwich

8
The 1500s
  • Historical events Englands break with the
    Church in Rome causes international conflicts.
    Monasteries in London dissolved.
  • Printing increases the circulation of knowledge.
  • Growth of public performances

9
  • Moorfields and Bishopsgate, map of c.1559

10
The beginning of suburbs
  • London began to grow outside the walls, where
    there was more space and freedom from regulation.
  • Royal edicts tried to stop this growth, but it
    was ultimately impossible. Moorfields was used
    for drying cloth and for recreation.

11
  • London in 1560

12
  • W. Hollars view of London, 1647, showing Globe
    Theatre

13
  • Water supply in 1613.
  • The New River Head in Clerkenwell, south of
    Sadlers Wells Theatre.

14
  • Water supply in 1613.
  • The New River Head in Clerkenwell, south of
    Sadlers Wells Theatre.

15
The New River
  • The New River was one of the first major public
    works projects for London, privately financed
    although given royal support by James I. Water
    comes 36 miles by gravity from Hertfordshire. It
    is still one of the sources of water supply in
    London.

16
  • St Pauls Church, Covent Garden, designed by
    Inigo Jones, 1631, as the centre piece of the
    piazza, called The Handsomest Barn in Europe

17
  • The Covent Garden Piazza, engraved by W. Hollar,
    1640

18
The importance of Covent Garden
  • Covent Garden showed a new attitude to
    development
  • 1.An aristocratic landlord took a planning
    initiative and a commercial risk
  • 2. There was a coherent design, with unified
    fronts, linking individual properties together
  • 3. New public space was created.
  • 4. The London square was born.

19
  • London fortified by Parliament, 1642-3

20
  • Sir Christopher Wrens plan for rebuilding London
    after the Great Fire, 1666

21
Planning London after the fire
  • Wrens plan shows the influence of mathematics
    and theatrical scenery combined.
  • The radial streets were based on ideas first used
    in Rome in the 1560s.
  • It is a city of sightlines and efficient
    circulation.
  • John Evelyn and Robert Hooke, both friends of
    Wren, proposed simpler grid plans.
  • In the hurry to rebuild, the old streets and
    property divisions were largely retained.

22
  • A coffee house in London in the 1680s - the
    beginning of the modern office?

23
The importance of coffee
  • Coffee that makes the politician wise
  • And see through all things with his half-closed
    eyes Alexander Pope
  • It has been claimed that without coffee, it would
    not have been possible to have a scientific
    revolution or a modern commercial economy,
    because coffee makes people think in a rational
    rather than emotional way.
  • Can food and drink really affect the course of
    society?

24
  • Soho Square, first built 1677-91, all the houses
    replaced 100 years later. Shown here in the 1820s

25
Food supply in London
  • Before canned food (c.1900) and refrigeration
    (which for most people meant before 1950), much
    of Londons economy was concerned with food
    supply. Animals were brought to London for
    slaughter close to the markets.
  • Fruit and vegetables were grown around London and
    brought in by cart or boat.
  • Cows were kept in London to provide milk.

26
  • Beer Street by William Hogarth, 1751
  • Physical contact is part of the good society.

27
  • William Hogarth Gin Lane, 1751. Lack of
    contact creates disorder in social space?

28
Beer Street and Gin Lane
  • The artist William Hogarth was appalled at the
    misery caused by lethal cheap gin. Partly as a
    result of his print, it was brought under
    control.

29
  • The Bedford Estate in Bloomsbury. Projection of
    future streets, 1795
  • Aristocratic houses give way to streets and
    squares for professionals.

30
  • Extending polite London plan for the Bedford
    Estate, 1800
  • Note the alignment changes in the street grids
    owing to old roads and different property
    boundaries.

31
  • Drury Lane Theatre, from Ackermanns Microcosm of
    London, 1808-10. Mass entertainment and spectacle
    in Regency London.

32
  • St Lukes Hospital, from Ackermanns Microcosm of
    London, 1808-10

33
  • Regent Street, designed by John Nash, 1822

34
  • John Nashs Regent Street, stretching from St
    Jamess Park to Regents Park.

35
  • The March of Intellect cartoon of 1827

36
  • Gas light in the streets, c.1822

37
  • Euston Station, opened 1837, the first London
    mainline station.

38
  • Building the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park for the
    Great Exhibition, 1851

39
  • Urban poverty, from The Builder, 1854

40
  • Railways in outer London opened between 1852 and
    1875

41
  • Developers houses for the middle classes the
    Eton College Estate, Chalk Farm

42
  • Bye-law houses, built after 1870. Close rows,
    back yards, no trees.

43
  • First underground journey on the Metropolitan
    Line, 1862

44
  • Regeneration in 1900 the Old Nichol becomes the
    Boundary Street Estate, LCC Architects

45
  • Shiplake House, Boundary Street Estate, 1895

46
  • London Electric Railways map, 1906

47
  • Suburban semi-detached housing grows - Hendon and
    the Great North Road in 1939

48
  • Bomb damage around St Pauls Cathedral

49
  • The growth of built-up London, seen as a reason
    to halt expansion, reduce population in the
    centre, and move population into new towns
    further away from London, such as Harlow,
    Stevenage and Crawley.

50
  • Traffic segregation. Illustration from The County
    of London Plan, Penguin Books 1945

51
  • Before and after zoning County of London Plan
    1945

52
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53
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54
  • West Hill, Wandsworth. Council housing. Safe,
    respectable, boring?

55
Trellick Tower, 1967
  • Heroic landmark or urban hell?
  • Architect Ernö Goldfinger
  • Now a listed building and a fashionable address

56
  • 1972 Can Britains capital survive the onslaught
    of the developers?

57
  • Warning of 1666 cartoon from How Should we
    rebuild London?, after the Second World War

58
The Official End of Zoning, 1999
  • The concept of zoning is increasingly losing its
    meaning.With the barriers between home, work, and
    leisure continuing to break down, the future
    emphasis of development plans should be on
    promoting flexible designations which enable
    mixing of uses and the ability to change the mix
    over time
  • Towards an Urban Renaissance, 1999

59
Some questions
  • What are the forces that shape cities? Geography
    and commerce? (material causes)
  • Ideas about right living and right behaviour?
    (Ancient Roman, Christian, Socialist, Ecological)
  • Professional expertise? (planners, architects)
  • The people who live there? (struggle for a better
    life, political action)
  • How can London become a sustainable city?
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