What we do

Founded in 1880 the London Topographical Society is a registered charity (No 271590).  It concentrates on publishing books and sheet material illustrating the history, growth and topography of London of all periods. The Society remains true to the vision of its founders by making available maps, plans and views, as well as publishing research, to assist the study and appreciation of London.

Several of the Society’s publications will be of particular interest to genealogists and these include our series of A-Z books which enable researchers to identify streets, courts and alleys, and sometimes even individual houses. This is particularly useful where ancestors’ addresses have subsequently been swept away or re-named. Other key resources are the two parish boundary maps – one covering the City of London (now out of print but available in the Guildhall and other libraries) and another, first published in 1903, for the much fuller extent of the County of London – and Charles Booth's London poverty map of 1889.

** Our Latest Publication - London Plotted: Plans of London Buildings c.1450-1720 

Our latest publication, Number 178 published in July 2106, is London Plotted: Plans of London Buildings c.1450-1720 by Dorian Gerhold. In this beautifully produced, 320-page volume the author explains how and why London's tradition of ground plans arose, who the surveyors and their customers were and what the colourful plans tell us about the buildings and their occupants. Most of the 197 plans have never previously been published and range from houses, large and small, to warehouses, wharves, industrial premises, markets, inns, company halls and so on.

Who we are

Our Society has about 1,200 members spread throughout the world. As well as individuals, membership includes more than 100 universities, libraries and other institutions.  All who are interested in the history and topography of London are invited to join.

The website includes information about our events and other sources of information (museums, libraries, bookshops, etc) - see links.

The Society's Council meets three times a year, normally in April, September and December.  Council officers can be found at Contact us.

London Events

 ** Visscher Redrawn, 1616–2016 running to 20 November 2016 at Guildhall Art Gallery

Shakespeare’s London redrawn for 400th anniversary of Bard’s death.  One of the most iconic images of post-Renaissance London has been redrawn to show the capital’s modern landscape, as part of commemorative events to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Artist Robin Reynolds has created a pen and ink version of Claes Jansz Visscher’s 1616 engraving of London, which is on show at the Guildhall Art Gallery until 20 November and is displayed alongside Visscher’s original image.

** Walks and Talks

Check out talks and walks about and around London.

** Events at the London Metropolitan Archives

The LMA run a wide selection of talks, guided tours, film screenings, exhibitions and other events. You can find out more about these, as well as the latest updates from the archives, on their website's news and events page.

History of the Society

Two interesting articles are to be found in our publication "The London Topographical Record":

  • Stephen Marks's article "The London Topographical Society: a Brief Account" in the 1980 edition PDF link
  • Simon Morris's symposium paper "The Role of a Topographical Society" in the 1995 edition PDF link

Our website

We hope you find it useful - feedback is always welcome.

Website tower images

We have based our ‘vertical pictorial theme’ on some of London’s towers: each section of this website has its own tower as its symbol.  Can you recognize them?  If you need help with some of them or want to have the overall key to this particular theme click here.

 

Click here for our introduction slideshow