Londonist: Time Machine Opens Its Archive For Easter

By M@
Londonist: Time Machine Opens Its Archive For Easter
Front page of Londonist Time Machine

Have you discovered our sister publication Londonist: Time Machine? As an Easter treat, you can now enjoy some of the best bits for free.

Londonist: Time Machine does something different with the capital's history. Each instalment peeks into the past from a slightly jaunty angle, in a way you won't find elsewhere. There's a lovely community of history fans and London-lovers building up, and we're getting such wonderful feedback:

"I love maps and I love all the quirky things about London. This fills me with glee." - Antonia S

"Your notes, history and recommendations are unique. Thank you for going beyond the first layer of what we see and for providing unique insight into London." - Sarah G

"It’s all focused, relevant, current, interesting and fabulously nerdy. " - Ian S.

"It's so damned good!" - Jess R

It's free to get the main weekly newsletter (8,500 people and counting have signed up). And for just a fiver a month, you get two bonus newsletters a week, full access to the archive and invitations to our site visits and other member events.

Our features from six weeks ago or earlier are archived, though paying subscribers get full access to roam around the whole collection. But with Easter coming up, we've lifted the paywall on a handful of our archived and paid subscriber features to offer you some reading for the long weekend.

Currently free to access till Tue 2 April are: the oldest known map of London... coloured in; one from our Past Futures series where we look at Victorian predictions for their future/our present-day; some remarkable women from the second world war; and a map of every location mentioned in every Dickens novel.

London's oldest map... now in colour: parts I, II and III

Colour copperplate tudor london map

Sketched in the 1550s, before Elizabeth I took the throne, the Copperplate map of London is the earliest cartographic representation of the capital. The Tudor map is rich in detail, including many street names, accurately drawn churches and public buildings, and even tiny figures of Londoners going about their business. The map, printed from copper sheets, has always been in black and white. We spent many hours restoring the faded images of the three surviving panels, and then coloured the whole thing in. London's oldest map is now clearer than ever, and in full colour.

Access part 1 (Spitalfields and Moorfields) and part 2 (St Paul's and environs) of the map, which are normally behind the paywall. Part 3 (north of London Bridge) is currently still available for free, along with its Gazetteer.

London women of the second world war

Air raid damage in London during the second world war. Image: Imperial War Museums, Wikimedia Commons.

With March being Women's History Month, it felt like a good time to cover some extraordinary stories of war service by London women.

Parachuting into occupied France to gather intelligence behind enemy lines, smuggling arms across the Polish border on skis, performing concerts in air raid shelters as bombs rained down during the Blitz — these are just a handful of war service stories that stand as examples of countless more... most of which get less airtime than they deserve. Read them for free in the archive, and add any others you know of that deserve more attention in the comments.

How Victorian Londoners predicted 21st century tech

Two gents in a victorian cinema

The newsletter is called Londonist: Time Machine for a reason. We're not content to glance only backwards; we frequently bounce back and forwards through the time-streams within one article. A good example is our ongoing series called "Past Futures", which looks at how Victorians and Edwardians imagined the future of London. Instalments so far have included predictions of 21st century dining, 19th century thoughts on the future of transport, how London was surely doomed, and a look at how people imagined London specifically in the year 2000. Yet another article, currently free to view in the archive, revealed the tech dreams of the era. Video conferencing, transatlantic sports broadcasts, mobile phones…all of these were predicted while Queen Victoria was still on the throne. Read it for free in the archive here.

Everywhere in Dickens... mapped

Dickens map

Want to see every location in London mentioned by Charles Dickens? Another ongoing strand of Londonist: Time Machine is a form of mapping we've developed called the 'geobibliome' — that is, a complete mapping of all the locations in a book, or series of books. The Charles Dickens geobibliome, as you'd imagine, is huge. We read every one of in his 15 novels, four Christmas books and Sketches by Boz and then mapped every location in each. We've done the same for Sherlock Holmes, as well as Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography, but it's the Dickens map we've released from the archive as an Easter treat.

If, like Oliver Twist, that leaves you asking "Please Sir, I want some more," then simply click through to Londonist: Time Machine and hit the subscribe button. The main weekly newsletter is free, or support us with the small monthly paid subscription to get bonus newsletters, invitations to site tours and full archive access.

Londonist: Time Machine is the history read you've been looking for... and it's about time.

Last Updated 27 March 2024

Continued below.