Blue Crow Media’s latest map of urban architecture is the London Underground Architecture and Design Map, a collaboration between transit system guru (and friend of The Map Room) Mark Ovenden and photographer Will Scott. “The guide includes a geographical Underground map with featured stations marked, with corresponding photography and details on the reverse along with tips for where to find unique and unusual signage, roundels, clocks, murals and more. The map is protected by a slipcover featuring a distinctive die cut roundel.” Costs £9. More at Mapping London.
Urban Good’s London National Park City Map is a 125 × 95 cm paper map of Greater London’s green spaces that “includes all of the capital’s 3,000 parks plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s parkland. Some of the most iconic walks through and around London are drawn, such as the London Loop and Capital Ring, along with symbols marking places to swim outdoors, climb hills, pitch a tent or go kayaking. It even shows front and back gardens, but not any buildings!” Shipping next month; the first 1,000 copies are free plus £4.75 in shipping (U.K. addresses only): see the order page. [Ordnance Survey]
Illustrator Lis Watkins created this hand-drawn map of London’s bridges for the AA and Londonist. At Mapping London, Ollie O’Brien notes that the bridges are shown “in their approximately correct geographical position, and correct distances apart, although the width of the Thames itself is greatly exaggerated, as a fish jumping out of the river announces in a little speech bubble!”
Transport for London also operates river buses along the Thames; their maps of the London River Services are very much in the Tube map vein, in both tourist and non-tourist versions:
Of the tourist version Ollie O’Brien of Mapping London says this: “We like the pseudo-tube-map styling, although it could of course be simplified even further, with the Thames just being shown as a straight line. The inclusion of isometric squares showing the major landmarks near each pier is a nice touch. TfL has never really decided whether its river services are for tourists or commuters, but this map should satisfy both.”
You might have seen this typographic literary map of London: it was featured in a recent article in the Telegraph and went a bit viral from there. The work of London-based artist Dex, who runs a creative studio with interior designer Anna Burles, the map places the names of fictional characters in the areas of London they’re associated with. It’s one of several typographic maps and illustrations available for sale on the artist’s website. [Cartophilia/Goodreads]
A thing from 2015 that I hadn’t seen until recently: Londonist’s Tube Map of Roman London. “Stations indicate sites of major Roman landmarks, such as gates in the wall, municipal buildings and temples. Nobody knows what the Romans called their creations, so we’ve used the modern names, like Ludgate and Bishopsgate, which are medieval in origin. Stations in bold indicate locations where Roman remains are still accessible to the public.” [Londonist]
Speaking of Londonist, they had a great deal of fun pedantically savaging a decidedly unofficial tube map shower curtain. “This error-ridden shower curtain was purchased via a random seller on ebay, whom we’re not going to gratify with a link. A bit of googling reveals that tube shower curtains are a bit of a thing. There are many variations out there, all presumably knocked together and marketed without permission from Transport for London.” (So much of a thing that I thought I’d linked to something like this before, but apparently not. No doubt my readers can send me links.)
Here’s an appropriately spooky map for Halloween: Grim London, a map that celebrates the creepy side of London’s history. “Bringing the scary truths to life, Grim London is a personalised interactive map of the most spine-chilling events that have occurred across the capital.” [TimeOut London]
Last year a Doctor Who episode turned the concept of the trap street—a fictitious map feature designed to catch copyright violations—on its head. In the series nine episode “Face the Raven,” the Doctor looks for a London street that cannot be found on maps.
THE DOCTOR: But if the stories are true though, there should be a street in one of these old maps that no longer exists in the real world.
CLARA: Like a trap street, only not.
THE DOCTOR: What did you say?
CLARA: A trap street. You know, when someone’s making a map—a, um, cartographer—uses a fake street throws it into the mix, names it after one of his kids or whatever, then, if the fake street—the trap street—ever shows up on someone else’s map they know their work’s been stolen. Clever, right?
THE DOCTOR: My God! A whole London street just up and disappeared and you lot assume it’s a copyright infringement.
Unlike trap streets, the street exists, and the reason it has disappeared has nothing to do with cartographic copyright. Finding the street takes some doing, as this clip the BBC has made available recently shows; unfortunately, it takes place immediately after the bit I quoted above.
Each is a folded paper map of London, 42 × 60 cm in size, that highlights more than 50 examples of Art Deco or Brutalist architecture, respectively, found in that city. On the front side is the map itself, where the architectural examples, highlighted in red, pop out against an extremely spare base layer that has no text except for parks and Tube stations; streets are unlabelled. The end result is dramatic and clear—the grey-on-black Art Deco map is particularly striking—but presupposes a familiarity with the landscape (or a smartphone); these maps really can’t be used on their own to find things. They’d look awfully good on a wall, though. These are simple, well-designed maps that make a virtue of simplicity. They cost £8 each (or two for £14.50).