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Features Fun Maps Maps

Our favourite maps no.3: Stanford map of London, 1927

We've been sharing our favourite maps over the past couple of weeks, with a number of topographical creations really catching our imagination. Such as this wonderful map highlighting America's coffee culture.


This week, it's back to London, where we're looking at a Stanford map of Central London from 1927. Things have certainly changed a lot in the mapping world since then.

Stanford's A1 creation may currently be adorning the living room wall of one of the HERE team, but once upon a time the humble map of the UK's capital had a lot more significance.

The map was originally published with a scale of four inches to each mile, covering an area from Kentish Town in North London, to Clapham Common in South London.


The 1927 version is an update of previous editions, such as the Stanford Map of Central London 1897. Although the older map still places a heavy emphasis on public transport, with train lines and terminals clear and easy to read, our newer publication introduces London Underground routes to the mix, with ‘Omnibus routes’, ‘Tramway routes’ and the ‘Underground Railways with connections’ all clearly marked out for readers.

The importance of public transport

As you can see, railway lines of all types dissect the map, highlighting the importance of public transport, but it's the terminals that really stand out, with the map-maker even printing the shape of each building in detail.

It's also possible to see the train lines fan out where they come to an end - although for city dwellers it's the connections themselves that actually make a difference, hence the emphasis Stanford placed on terminals.

Public transport had really started to explode in its importance for the capital and its citizens, and it was something map makers really wanted to highlight for all different types of traveller; we love the synchronicity between the old paper transport details and current transport tech such as HERE Transit.


Highlighting the arteries of London

London's arterial roads are also as clear as day on our map, with main roads highlighted in pink and the general layout hardly changing to this day. Check out the layout on HERE, and you'll see the overall outline of Central London has hardly changed a bit, even if the cityscape itself has evolved beyond recognition.

Overall though, it's the sheer simplicity of the Stanford Map of Central London that we love. Sure, it made it easy for Londoners or travellers to get around with ease years ago - something HERE Maps does for latter-day Marco Polos on their phones, tablets or computers - but the beauty of our Stanford map really does stand out.

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