There are a bunch of really interesting Google Map mashups but this one really caught my attention. Google have teamed up with the Ordnance Survey to allow you to explore old London maps directly within Google Maps. While the infrastructure is pretty much unchanged in central London, the suburbs a really interesting. My house doesn’t even exist (as it was built in the 1930’s) and the local park was a watercress filter bed back then to clean the poo out of Muswell Hills sewage. Its name changed from Dirthouse Woods (nice) to a far more middle-class Cherry Tree Woods.
Similarly, the area around Old Street, now a hive of digital startups, was clearly a very seedy place back then (and arguably still can be if you know where to look). It’s hard to spot a corner without a pub (P.H) or a block without a brewery. Similarly, public urinals are encouragingly numerous too. We could learn a thing or two from that. It’s interesting to think that Old Street was once dominated by a large Vinegar Works. Must have gone well with the cockles on a Friday night.
Can’t help thinking this rather undermines the Ordinance Survey’s side-line in supplying printed maps to adorn people’s toilet walls at home. I’ve bought a few over the years as I’m mildly curious in my local area’s history. Would have expected a ‘Buy this’ button on the Google interface at least. Who isn’t going to take a few screenshots and save a few quid. I guess the ‘partnership’ deal takes this into account to some extent.
Anyway, check out the 1890’s OS Google Maps for yourself.