Museum Of London Seeks Help With Victorian Street View

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John Tallis was 170 years ahead of Google Street View. The pamphlets he published between 1838 and 1840 show London’s street elevations in peerless detail. The plans were intended to help people find shops and businesses. Today, they serve as a unique resource for historians and anyone interested in the Victorian cityscape.

The Museum of London has posted 35 of Tallis’s West End elevations on its website, with similar navigation to Google Street View. Shown above, for example, is Rathbone Place. Some of the buildings are linked up to annotations (orange boxes), which provide more details about the business at that address. The museum would like interested readers to help annotate the remaining buildings, by referring to the business directory Tallis published alongside the elevations.

The project is off to a good start, and the museum hopes to embed location-specific references to important objects in its collection. We’d love to see it go even further. Imagine if users could upload historic photographs and paintings, and match them up to locations in the Tallis street view. A slidebar could then allow one to time travel and view different eras on the same spot.

See also: Detailed Victorian map superimposed on Google Maps.

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  • Baldwin Hamey

    Anyone interested in learning about the actual shops and the people behind the facades In Tallis’s Street Views should take a look at my blog londonstreetviews.wordpress.com *said he modestly*
    Thanks,
    Baldwin

  • Nigel Tallis

    Yes, well, matching photography with the elevations is quite interesting. I’ve done this in the past when I did a panorama of Oxford Street for a museum display, if I recall correctly. Seemed to me that some form of optical aid was used to draw the frontages. There’s nothing about it in John Tallis’ papers of course.

  • Nigel Tallis

    The MoL may not be aware that the business directories in the Street Views have already been transcribed, there’s a CD available (from New Zealand, I think?)

  • Andrew Brown

    I have wanted to see Tallis’ street views superimposed on Google Street View for as long as I have known that both existed. Well done Museum of London for making this a reality. Also yes there is a CD – I’ve got it. It comes with the book published by the London Topographical Society. Is it too much of a stretch to upload the entries to a spreadsheet and assign xml. data to each one?