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London Street View before the Fire

Even centuries ago, London had a unique role in the life of England. Not only was it the capital city, with by far the largest population of any settlement there, but it attracted streams of migrants from the rest of the country and beyond. Therefore, most modern people of English descent probably have forebears who lived in London during the decades before the Great Fire of 1666.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk the streets and see the sights that greeted our ancestors? A video produced by six students at De Montfort University Leicester gives us the best opportunity yet to make that journey.

The production alternates between a “street view” and overhead view of three dimensional images of various parts of the city. It gives a vivid sense of the tight enclosure found in most of this densely populated area. Houses, churches, shops, docks and even flies can all be seen. The only inaccuracy I spotted was the relatively modern design of some tombstones. The main surprise is an almost total lack of people along the way – a major difference between 21st century vision and 17th century reality.

You can see the film free of charge on YouTube - an excellent way to pass three minutes or so.

If you wish to delve deeper into how the production was conceived and took shape, you can explore the details at this link.


Francis Howcutt
FFHS Archives Liaison

27 November 2013

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