Time Travel London: Wren’s Plans Realised

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Fancy meddling with time and space? We recently asked you to merge the past, present and future of our city in imaginative ways. It could be a drawing, painting, manipulated photograph, or even a map.

James Macdonald sends us this map of the Square Mile. At first glance, it looks like any humdrum professional map of the City, but look closely. The financial heart of the capital seems now to be based on a grid system, with long boulevards stretching from Ludgate to Leadenhall and Tower to Barbican. The River Fleet has re-emerged to the west, and Fleet Street has become a piazza, with new arteries radiating away.

The map is a combination of the modern City, including transport links and newer landmarks, and famous plans by Christopher Wren, drawn up in the wake of the Great Fire in 1666. Wren’s scheme was never realised, as land-owners were quick to rebuild their property and businesses along the pre-fire medieval street pattern, which still largely survives today. But this is a glimpse of what might have been.

The map was originally put together by James for Insight Guides, and you can learn more about the inspiration here.

We’re welcoming further entries to the Time Travel London competition for the foreseeable future. Perhaps you’ll depict Shakespeare pedalling a Boris Bike through Southwark, or Nicholas Hawksmoor sketching out plans for the Shard. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest artist or photo-manipulator…it’s the idea that counts. Thinking caps on! Send images to matt@londonist.com to be considered for entry. We hope to show the most imaginative entries at a future exhibition.

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  • jg fc

    This project is also a quick alternative to time travel youtube.com/watch?v=N3-6ydgoAuY

  • Joe

    Shame… Would’ve looked a lot better!

  • Gary

    Looks very french

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.s.smith Rob Smith

    Love this map – really well made. I often feel sorry for poor Wren – hehad the plans, but as is often the case money won out. Mind you the River Fleet was far too foul to allow onto the surface even by Wren’s time. At least we still have most of Wren’s City churches to enjoy.