Fly Through 17th Century London

A group of students at De Montfort University created this fly-through of 17th century London (skip to 0:50 in the video to get to the juicy stuff). The model focuses on the area around Pudding Lane and the bakery of Thomas Farriner, where the Great Fire of 1666 started.

Although most of the buildings are conjectural, the students used a realistic street pattern and even included the hanging signs of genuine inns and businesses mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary. More information on the source material and processes can be found on the team’s blog.

The project is an entry in the Off The Map competition, in which students were invited to build 3-D digital models based on maps at the British Library, and using software by Crytek. We’re impressed, and hope the model is developed into something playable, or perhaps a 17th century version of Street View, which historians could hone and add to.

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Article by Matt Brown | 4,929 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • ZDF

    That was really lovely, beautifully done, wonderfully atmospheric and very believable to me (as a Londoner). Thank you.

  • Grace Smith

    An amazing and evocative piece of work, guys. Really like the development suggestions and will be watching this space………..:)

  • vikitzi

    What a wonderful work. Just beautiful!

  • Keely Bryant

    Amazing and beautiful!!

  • hazyj

    The great fire started in Pudding Lane down where Momument is today. Pudding Mill Lane is near Stratford. Nice video still.

    • Lindsey Clarke

      Corrected, thanks

  • Mihai Margoi


  • Bev

    so good, in fact, brilliant. I loved the music, t’was perfect.

  • Herenotv

    This just makes me want an Assassin’s Creed game set in London.

  • Sarah Milton-Lomax


  • Finsbury Gal

    Wow! Fabulous – really amazing. Felt like you could have got out and walked around. Bet it smelled rank though!

  • Patricia A. McGoldrick


  • Bambic

    I certainly hope that someone can respond to this: was it a typo or was his name REALLY King “Carles” II or was the “h” accidentally omitted?

  • Stoney Compton

    Superbly done. Thank you for the visit to the past.

  • Bjørn Tennøe

    I really like the artwork! The camera movement, however, is too haphazard for my taste. Slower, more determined movement and a few (near) still images should add to the overall atmosphere and impression.

  • Bethany

    As a historian, it is truly amazing. It bought chapter four of my doctoral thesis to life. Wonderful stuff!!

    • Hayley

      I agree, but I’m surprised that at doctorate level you either don’t know that it’s ‘brought’, not ‘bought’, or you didn’t double check your post.

      • c’est moi

        It’s a post. How superior you must feel to be snide at someone who made a typo. Especially someone at a doctorate level. God. Get a life.

        • Scott

          I’m with Hayley here. If someone can boast about doing a doctoral thesis in a post, then I reckon they should make sure they type carefully and then proof-read. It’s not hard!

          • c’est moi

            Good for you Scott! You get to be on the Petty Issues Team! Enjoy.

          • Zippo

            Mentioning their doctoral thesis is not boasting. Inferiority complex much?

  • numpty

    Rather reminds me of playing Assassin’s Creed 2 on the Xbox (which was set in 15th century Florence):

  • HKA

    brilliant – love the 3D recreation – well done!

  • Andrea Berens

    Enjoyed the tour

  • Ben

    Great but London is much better now!

  • MartinNYID

    I find this much more appealing than the hard concrete prison the city has become.

  • CBA

    Really interesting – mucho thanks.

  • Philippa Doran

    No horse manure? The streets look much too clean. Where is all the traffic?
    What looks like trousers on the washing lines. Had they been invented in the early 17th Century?
    Perhaps they should do the same with the London of the 1930s, before the war and the rebuilding after the Blitz. I remember the London of those days.
    And of course in either days the streets would be crowded with people.

    • MamaRaven

      Trousers have been worn regularly since the 8th century, but have been recorded as early as the 6th century :)

      • MamaRaven

        As early as the 4th century that should say, sorry.

  • Amarpal Biring

    Skyrim let you do this a long time ago.

  • Mimi P Louiso

    How marvelous-

  • Suzi

    Wonderful! x

  • Nick Dedman

    Is this the same 3D engine used in Crysis 3? and if so could the map be downloaded and explored if you own the game?

  • curliegirlie74

    Wonderful job by all those who put this video together, I really enjoyed it!
    Do you have another copy of it somewhere where the video is slowed down a whole lot more? I’d love to see that format so I can really admire your graphics and gain a new perspective on your video.
    Thank you so much, beautiful job!

  • Gerald R. Lucas

    Great work. Now, if we just had a holodeck.

  • Josephine Siedlecka

    This is really beautiful. I hope you make more films like this. I could watch them for hours.

  • c’est moi

    So beautiful. As Grace Smith commented, “An amazing and evocative piece of work”….very true. I actually felt ….homesick, while watching it. Perhaps an odd choice of words, but I was THERE as I watched this. Great job.

  • TCP1960


  • Doktor Vok

    Please make this into a game

  • Jennifer Johnson Jennings

    Amazing job. Thank you for posting this.

  • Christiane

    Wonderful job ! Congratulations. Christiane

  • TorontoisRoy

    Period musik would’ve been much better.

    • disqus_4Fw8t5kzKY

      I respectfully disagree. I think the chosen music worked wonderfully well, and I’d love to know the name of piece and who played it.

  • mam1018


  • pleisch

    It’s beautiful and the detail is amazing. I wish it went just a bit slower. It was a little dizzying and I wanted to look around more at the detail.

  • Jamie

    This is AWESOME!!! I will be using it, along with the London Fire video, with my kids history lessons this week! We homeschool and I loved that I could show them the difference in then and now!

  • Dave Arendash

    I do hope they make this available as an Oculus Rift demo

  • Tony Durrant

    Excellent. Now, here’s a thought: a series of similar projects (to be sold to schools) on Roman, Viking, Tudor street scenes (or whatever ends up in the curriculum), including ‘pause and click’ interaction to teach lifestyles, cultures, language, maths and so on.

  • Marian Alison

    Well Done to everyone involved in the production. This realistic interpretation helps us to understand better life at the time. The music was relaxing and perfect to accompany the flying theme. I could have watched so much more!

  • Alex

    very cool

  • J Bin

    Moved too quickly for me. I like to savor what I’m chewing on. Other than that I thought it was terrific!

  • Olga Ruocco Daley

    This is totally amazing. I felt like I was there. I hope to see the ideas developed further. Well done!

  • Vicki Sue Stone

    Thank you, that was terrific. I thought there would be more gardens and vegetation.

  • MacNutz2 .

    That is wonderful. While the streets and places were much cleaner than the streets of the time would have been, it’s a great treatment.Time travellers dream stuff. Glad you cleaned it up. :)

  • disqus_4Fw8t5kzKY

    This is so beautiful and yet somehow sad, as though I can feel the passage of the centuries.

  • Congestion Zone

    Amazing! What I wouldn’t give to be able to walk the streets during that time too!

  • Jerry Morris

    Outstanding.Thanks for posting..

  • liptonius

    Amazing. In Sweden Malmo we ave a running concept built upon FAS3 unemploees. The gouvernment pays for everything, they wont ever come close to your level, though thev’e spent years of “work” on it with about 100 perons in the group. Applause to the Pudding Lane Group.

  • liptonius

    Not even colose.

  • Michelle

    Fantastic, well done

  • Lindy

    Absolutely brilliant.

  • Tiggy

    Nice artwork, but would have been more enjoyable if the camera didn’t go through so fast! I missed half of it and felt sick by the end :(

  • Keith Parkins
  • RollingHerEyes

    Remarkable, brilliant, and I thank you for the privilege of viewing it.

  • Sue Chartres

    Fabulous!! I really enjoyed it – it certainly gave you a sense of conditions in London at the time.

  • Mariano Mendez

    Hmmm, I have to learn the English.

  • Pole

    Looks similar to the Witcher scenery.

  • jvb

    Lovely, but a ghost town. It would have been heaving with people, animals and means of transport.

  • Paul Le Clercq


  • Geronimo

    Very wonderful

  • Cat Marcuri

    Beautiful work! I felt as though I was there! For a medieval historian like myself, I sincerely hope that this project continues in full speed, and brings to life more places I have studied but can never hope to see in real life. Unless they invent a time machine, of course! 😀