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Ancient Topography of London by J. T. Smith - £5.99

Go to the Shop This is a brand new paperback facsimile of John Thomas Smith's Ancient Topography of London, first published in 1815. It was produced by Taro Editions and printed by Strand Press of Petersfield in 1985 but not distributed. A few copies were sold by the Guildhall Library Shop but it has never been available before on general release.

Reduced in size from the original 14 x 11 inch plates with text from the 1892 edition, this book measures 8½ x 6 inches with 82 pages plus 32 beautiful illustrations by the author.

See the further details and read the caveat below, then buy this book for £5.99 including UK postage*

or visit the shop.

ISBN 0 947670 02 5

John Thomas Smith was born in 1766 and devoted his life to making detailed drawings of London and Westminster. A year after this book was published he was appointed Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, a post he held until his death in 1833.

The frontis states "Not only views of buildings, which in many instances no longer exist, and for the most part were never before published, but some account of places and customs either unknown, or overlooked by the London Historians."

The book is equally divided between Sacred, Public and Domestic architecture. The detail on the drawings is stunning, and his prints are also alive with real people, recorded as they go about their daily business. He is particularly fond of depicting men working up ladders and disabled passers-by (presumably ex-servicemen from the Napoleonic wars).

There are descriptions of how things were built, who built them and where to get the best available materials. His xenophobia and other facets of his character inadvertently become apparent and the whole is entertaining and informative on many levels. A perfect companion to Lockie's Topography of London from 1810.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger versions of four of the illustrations.

Sacred Architecture
Leadenhall Chapel, May 1812
Public Architecture
South-west view of Bethlem Hospital and London Wall, August 1814
Domestic Architecture
North-east view of an old house lately standing in Sweedon's Passage, Grub Street, July 1791
Domestic Architecture
Winchester Street, London Wall, May 1804

Now available to buy for instant download.
High resolution scans of all 32 plates for £ 2.99    or visit the print shop.

CAVEAT: I am proud of the high quality of everything on this site, but I did not make this book and do not want you to be even slightly disappointed. Whilst every one is new, in that it has never been used, they have all been stored in cardboard boxes for over 25 years and are not absolutely pristine. There are no defects, foxing or anything that affects readability, but some have a feint brown tint on the edge of some pages (not the face) where they were in contact with a slightly damp box and a very vague 'mustiness', commensurate with their age.

Reproductions of other such rare works are much more expensive and so the price allows for these tiny flaws. This is an opportunity to own a fascinating piece of London's history, but please click the photographs below to check before you buy. There is a limited number, once they're gone, they're gone.

Airing, ready to be checked
Occasional feint brown marks or tints (on the outside edge only)
These are the worst cases
No foxing or defects on the text pages
No foxing or defects on the illustrations

* Royal Mail have dramatically increased overseas postage rates.
With apologies, this book is therefore now only available to UK residents.


Roger Bilham, a visitor to this site, has compiled an index to this edition of the book and kindly allowed me to put it here for others to use.

A range in italics indicates a plate between these pages.
As with any book of this age, some names are not spelled as they are now.

Adam brothers78
Aldgate, Gate of40
Aldgate House, Bethnal Green40, 74
All Hallows, church of, Lombard Street74
Anne, Queen, state coach76
Audley, Sir Thomas18
Babington, Anthony51
Ballad singers43
Barberesses of Drury Lane38, 63
Barbers' poles38
Bartholomew Fair21, 56 et seq.
Bassampierre, Monsieur de52
Bear, King's white22
Bedford Street31
Ben Israel, Menasseh19
Bethlem Hospital28, 29-30, 32, 74
Bethlem Hospital, New, St George's Fields32
Bethlem Prison House31, 75
Bethlem Tokens31
Bevis Marks19
Billet moulding1
Blanche, Queen of Navarre8
Blyborough, Suffolk75
Boleyn, Ann50
Bolton, Prior3
Book sellers31
Boxing62, 63
Bridewell Hospital35
Bridge, Mr, organ maker3
Bridgewater Town Hall75
British Museum43
Broughton's Amphitheatre62
Brutus (Brute)80
Carfax, Oxford75
Carleton House78
Chancery Lane & Fleet Street, corner of48, 52-53
Charing Cross30
Charles I61
Chatham Place27
Cherries on sticks42
Chicheley, Sir Thomas9
Chivy Chase57
Christchurch, Priory of, Aldgate18
Christ's Hospital30
Cibber, Caius Gabriel32
Cipriani, painter77
City ditch31
Clarenceux King of Arms55
Clinch, Joseph43
Clocks, projecting75
Coach makers31
Colebrand and Brandamore80
Collett, Nicholas76
Conway, William61
Cook's Court, Carey Street65
Copper gilt paper20
Corineus, Corinius49, 80
Creechurch Lane19
Creuse, Mr50
Cromwell, Oliver14, 19
Crowle, John Charles43
Davies, Jeremiah50
Deep Ditch28
Digby, Sir Everard23
Dog fighting60
Doll, the Pippin Woman24
Drawbridge, London Bridge26
Duck Lane54
Duke Street, West Smithfield54, 60-6
Duke's Place, Aldgate18, 20, 20-21
Dutch Metal20, 60
Edward Earl of Lancaster, Leicester & Derby8
Edward I16, 27
Edward II27
Edward III15, 16, 30
Edward IV36
Elizabeth I11, 22, 30
Elizabeth I, progresses48, 50
Exeter Change75
Fairfax, Sir Thomas, General67
Fawkes, Guy23
Fig tree65
Finsbury Square (Finsbury Fields)64
Fire of London4, 26
Fitz Alwine, Henry18
Flax dressers31
Fleet Street & Chancery Lane, corner of48, 52-53
Flying Barber37
Flying pieman, Holborn24
Frost fair24
Garrick, David60
Geoffrey of Monmouth80
Gibbons, Grinling74
Gifford, Humphry39
Glazed tiles37
Gog & Magog49, 75, 76, 79, 82
Gold lace men31
Gold recovery20
Golden (or Golding) Lane65
Gordon Riots40
Grape Street67
Grass Street12
Grey, Lady Jane22
Grotesque carvings44
Grub Street24, 64
Guildhall75, 78
Hanover Court, nr. Grub Street66, 68-69
Harp Alley31
Hart Street, Crutched Friars44, 52-53
Henrietta Maria61
Henry II22
Henry III17, 22, 71
Henry V71
Henry VIII30, 34
Heydon House9
Heydon Square8
Hobson, Cambridge carrier51
Hogarth33, 46
Hollar, Winceslaus4
Holy Trinity, church of, Minories73
Holy Trinity, Priory of, Aldgate18
Horse racing60
Horsey, Samuel50
Horsham church76
Hosier Lane, Smithfield56, 60-61
House numbers44
House of Commons, wall paintings14
House signs44
Howard, Philip, Earl of Arundel22
Inlayed floors47
Jack of the Clock (Jack o' the Clockhouse)75, 76
Jews (incl. Dutch & Portuguese)19
Jews' Fair20
Johnson, John (Guy Fawkes)23
Jonson, Ben57
Killigrew, Charles43
King's Gate19
Leaden Hall12
Leadenhall Chapel12, 12-13, 20-21
Leadenhall Street13, 48, 52, 60-61
Leake, John4
Leathersellers' Company Hall73
Liquorpond Street Barber24
Little Moorfields64, 68-69
Little St Helen, church of, Bishopsgate Street73
London Bridge5, 24, 29-30
London Bridge chapel25
London Bridge Square26
London Wall27, 28, 29-30, 32, 36, 44-45, 60-61, 68
Long Acre31
Long Lane, Smithfield67, 68-69
Long Meg of Westminster37
Low Layton, church at74
Mandeville, Sir John82
Mary, Queen of Scots51
Matilda, wife of Henry I18
Mayor of London, first18
Milton, John37
Monk, General67
Monmouth Street31, 34
Mopp Gate19
Mouette, Samuel77
Mulberry trees64
Nonesuch House25
Norden, John25
Norfolk, Thomas, Duke of19
Nowell, Dean11
Office of the Revels43
Oil paint recipe18
Old Bethlem28, 31, 34, 42
Old Vinegar61, 62
Orford Church1
Osalinskie, Count Palatine of Sindomerske 46
Paternoster Row31
Pembroke, Earl of71
Pennant, Pyers, arms of55
Pindar arms51
Pindar, Sir Paul, house of45, 50, 52-53
Plymouth Hoe (Haw)81
Portugal Street74
Poultry Compter39, 44-45
Pritchard, Sir William9
Punch, Mr21
Purim, Feast of21
Pye Corner, boy at76
Quarter Jacks75
Rag Fair34
Rake's Progress33
Roman burying place9
Rope dancers43
Rosemary Lane34
Russell Street, Covent Garden65
St Bartholomew the Great, church of2, 4-5
St Bartholomew the Less, church of3
St Botolph, church of, Aldgate75
St Catherine by the Tower, church of71, 74
St Clare, Convent of8, 12-13
St Clement Danes, church of7
St Dunstan in the East, church of10, 12-13
St Dunstan, church of, Fleet Street75, 76
St Edmund, church of, Lombard Street75
St Ethelburga, church of, Bishopsgate Street73
St Giles in the Fields, church of74
St Giles, Cripplegate, church of36, 44-45, 74
St Helen, church of, Bishopsgate Street73
St James, church of, Piccadilly74
St Margaret's Westminster, church of7
St Martin, church of, Coleman Street74
St Martin, church of, Oxford75
St Mary at Hill, church of7
St Mary le Bow, church of, Cheapside75
St Mary Overy, church of70
St Mary Woolnoth, church of75
St Olave, church of, Hart Street74
St Paul's Cathedral7
St Swithin, church of, Cannon Street75
St Thomas, chapel of, London Bridge25
Sassafras Tea21
Schmidt, Bernard, organ maker7
Shakespeare in 15 minutes21
Shaving brush38
Ship carving76
Shutters, sliding68
Siddons, Mrs54
Siggs, Ann50, 54
Sign painters31
Spanish chestnut41
Statues of madness32
Street ballads68
Sweedon's Passage, Grub Street41, 44-45, 67
Tapestries47, 68
Temple Bar50
Temple Church1, 4 et seq., 4-5
Tesselated wooden floors47
Thornhill, James76
Tiddy Doll24
Tower of London20-21, 22
Traitor's Gate, London Bridge25
Trumpet Major of England43
Tyburn gallows53
Verdion, Count69
Waldron, Mr, actor77
Wall paintings11, 13
Waltham Abbey1
Wastell bread32
Watch tower, Ludgate Hill26, 29-30
Westminster - Painted Chamber12, 47
Westminster Abbey71
Westminster Hall71
White Hart Tavern, Bishopsgate Street42
Whittington's Bells38
Whittington's Palace67
Winchester House68, 69
Winchester Street28, 68, 68-69
Windmill, Strand25
Witchcraft, protection from34
Wolsey, Cardinal Thomas46
Wooden sculptures70
Wooden World35
Wren, Sir Christopher10


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