Rocque map 1746

Locating London's Past spatial data research project

Project partner: 
Jisc, Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire
Date: 
2011

Locating London’s Past is a Jisc funded online resource devised by the Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire. The interactive website allows users to search the locations of crimes as recorded at the Old Bailey between 1674 and 1913. MOLA was asked to provide spatial data in the form of a comprehensive list of all street and place names shown on a map of central London and its surrounding parishes c.1746.

"The development of a fully articulated version of the 1746 Rocque map of London was central to the Locating London's Past project, and was beautifully implemented by MOLA."

Tim Hitchcock, Professor at Hertfordshire University

Our Geomatics team’s considerable experience in manipulating digital images, relating historic maps to the modern landscape and building databases was called upon. A map of the period was carefully pieced together and used to guide the location process. By scanning John Rocque’s 1746 map of central London and removing the edges, we created a seamless version of the entire map, and were able to relate it to the modern City. Early edition ordnance survey mapping of the area was then used to define a connected network of streets, resulting in a street plan of London as of 1746. Contemporary parish and ward boundaries were captured, and place name information processed. These data sets were amalgamated and unique points given for each place name, parish and ward.

The Locating London’s Past website is widely used by historical researchers and won the 2014 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies' (BSECS) Prize for Digital Resources.