London Topographical Society

Richard Cavendish visits an organisation devoted to the maps and plans of the capital's past.

Behind today's bustling familiar London stand the shadows of earlier Londons: the city that Jack the Ripper stalked, the teeming slums of Dickensian London, the rollicking London of Johnson and Boswell, the raffish London of Hogarth, the London that welcomed Charles II back to his throne with oratory, flowers and wine. These Londons of the past, though faded, have not disappeared. They survive in much of the city's layout, in its traditions and its atmosphere. They also survive in old maps and views, hidden from sight in the recesses of museums.

Or hidden they would be if it were not for the London Topographical Society. For more than a hundred years the LTS has been reprinting maps, plans and panoramas of London in high quality facsimiles for its members and the general public.

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