Old London Pub Map, 1889: Victorian Soho, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, West End
Old London Pub Map, 1889: Victorian Soho, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, West End
Old London Pub Map, 1889: Victorian Soho, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, West End
Old London Pub Map, 1889: Victorian Soho, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, West End

Old London Pub Map, 1889: Victorian Soho, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, West End

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Embark on a historical journey through the heart of Victorian Soho with the "Map Showing Number of Public Houses in a District of Central London," crafted by Walker & Boutall in 1899. This thematic and infographic masterpiece offers a unique window into the past, showcasing the dense concentration of public houses, or pubs, in this vibrant district of London. Inspired by Henry William Blair's methodology in his 1888 Saloon Map of New York City, this map was designed to highlight the excessive number of pubs in Soho, with each establishment marked by a striking red dot. The simplicity and clarity of the design make it not only a valuable historical document but also a piece of art that captures the essence of Victorian London's social landscape.

The map covers a meticulously defined area, bordered by Oxford Street to the north, Holborn to the east, Drury Lane to the south, and Long Acre to the west. Central to the map are Oxford Street and Regent Street, around which the pubs are densely clustered. This strategic selection of Soho, known for its bustling nightlife and cultural significance, serves as the perfect canvas to illustrate the map's main theme. The inclusion of landmarks such as churches, theaters, and squares, alongside the pubs, provides a comprehensive view of the district's geography and social hubs, making it an invaluable resource for understanding the historical and cultural fabric of central London.

Walker & Boutall, the creators of this map, employed a straightforward yet effective infographic style to communicate their message. By enlarging the red dots representing pubs in proportion to the scale, they visually amplified the prevalence of drinking establishments in Soho, thereby emphasizing their point about excess. This method, coupled with the map's clean design and easy-to-read typography, makes the map not only an interesting example of Victorian-era cartography but also a powerful tool for visual storytelling.

Beyond its immediate visual appeal and historical value, the map serves as a fascinating study of pub culture in late 19th-century London. It invites viewers to ponder the social, economic, and cultural forces that shaped the distribution and popularity of public houses in Soho. For historians, cultural scholars, and anyone intrigued by London's past, this map offers a unique lens through which to explore the interplay between urban development, social practices, and leisure activities in one of the city's most iconic districts.

In conclusion, the "Map Showing Number of Public Houses in a District of Central London" by Walker & Boutall is more than just a map; it is a journey back in time to the heart of Victorian Soho, offering insights into the social life of the era. Its meticulous craftsmanship, combined with its thematic and infographic richness, makes it a prized possession for collectors, historians, and anyone fascinated by London's storied past. Whether used as a tool for academic research or admired as a piece of historical art, this map stands as a testament to the enduring allure of London's pub culture and the innovative spirit of Victorian cartography.

Places on this map

  • Regent Street
  • Oxford Street
  • New Oxford Street
  • Wardour Street
  • Berwick Street
  • Greek Street
  • Frith Street
  • Shaftesbury Avenue
  • Gerrard Street
  • Lisle Street
  • Long Acre
  • Drury Lane
  • Catherine Street
  • Wellington Street
  • Tavistock Street
  • Southampton Street
  • Maiden Lane
  • Exeter Street
  • Castle Street
  • Golden Square
  • Soho Square
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Covent Garden
  • Princess Theatre
  • Horse Shoe
  • Lyric Theatre
  • Royalty Theatre
  • Palace Theatre
  • Empire Theatre
  • Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Garrick Theatre
  • New Theatre
  • Prince of Wales Theatre
  • Comedy Theatre
  • Adelphi Theatre
  • Vaudeville Theatre
  • Globe Theatre
  • Tivoli Theatre
  • Terry's Theatre
  • St. Giles in the Fields
  • St. James's Church
  • St. Anne's Church
  • St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Charing Cross
  • Leicester Square
  • Covent Garden Market
  • National Gallery
  • County Council Offices
  • Post Office

Notable Features & Landmarks

  • The map shows a district of central London, England.
  • The map is centered on Oxford Street and Regent Street.
  • The pubs are shown as red dots.
  • The map also shows the location of churches, theaters, and other landmarks.
  • The map is a useful resource for learning about the history of London.
  • The map is a useful resource for learning about the pub culture of London.
  • The map is a useful resource for planning a trip to London.
  • The map is an interesting example of Victorian-era design.
  • The map is an interesting example of the use of color in cartography.
  • The map is an interesting example of the use of typography in cartography.
  • The map is a valuable historical document.
  • The map is a beautiful work of art.

Historical and design context

  • This map follows the methodology of Henry William Blair's 1888 Saloon Map of New York City.
  • Unlike Blair's map, the authors here selected "a District" well-suited to the point: Victorian Soho.
  • They made it clear that the map was included to help the reader "understand how excessive the number of public-houses really is."
  • Note that by making the red dots in a map such as this larger (in proportion to the scale), the mapmaker can artificially enhance the intended impression.
  • The map covers a district of central London, England.
  • The map is a thematic map, designed to show a particular theme or topic.
  • The map is also an infographic, using graphics and symbols to convey information.
  • The map is designed in a simple and easy-to-read style.
  • The map provides a snapshot of the number of public houses in a district of central London in the late 19th century.
  • Created by Walker & Boutall in 1899.

Please double check the images to make sure that a specific town or place is shown on this map. You can also get in touch and ask us to check the map for you.

This map looks great at every size, but I always recommend going for a larger size if you have space. That way you can easily make out all of the details.

This map looks amazing at sizes all the way up to 50in (125cm). If you are looking for a larger map, please get in touch.

The model in the listing images is holding the 24x36in (60x90cm) version of this map.

The fifth listing image shows an example of my map personalisation service.

If you’re looking for something slightly different, check out my collection of the best old maps to see if something else catches your eye.

Please contact me to check if a certain location, landmark or feature is shown on this map.

This would make a wonderful birthday, Christmas, Father's Day, work leaving, anniversary or housewarming gift for someone from the areas covered by this map.

This map is available as a giclée print on acid free archival matte paper, or you can buy it framed. The frame is a nice, simple black frame that suits most aesthetics. Please get in touch if you'd like a different frame colour or material. My frames are glazed with super-clear museum-grade acrylic (perspex/acrylite), which is significantly less reflective than glass, safer, and will always arrive in perfect condition.

My standard frame is a gallery style black ash hardwood frame. It is simple and quite modern looking. On maps up to 36 inches (91cm) the frame is 1.5-3cm (0.6in to 1in) wide. I use thicker frames on larger maps - usually between 35 and 60mm (1.4in to 2.4in).

In all cases I use super-clear acrylic (perspex/acrylite) for the frame glass. It's lighter and safer than glass - and it looks better, as the reflectivity is lower.

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See some examples of my framed maps and framed canvas maps.

A few different frame colours are available for free (black, brown, white, oak and antique gold). Custom framing and mounting/matting is available if you're looking for something else.

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For most orders, delivery time is about 3 working days. Personalised and custom made maps take longer, as I have to do the personalisation and send it to you for approval, which usually takes a day or two.

Please note that for larger framed orders (over 40in/100cm), and some other framed sizes, the delivery time will be closer to 7-10 days.

If you need your order to arrive by a certain date, please contact me before you order so that we can find the best way of making sure you get your order in time.

I have specialist printing and framing facilities in 17 countries around the world. This means your map will be made locally, which cuts down on delivery time and reduces the chance of your map being damaged during delivery. There won't be any extra taxes or duties to pay, and we'll put less CO2 into the air.

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We can sometimes do next-day delivery if you order before 10am. But usually it's best to contact me first before you order.

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My maps are extremely high quality reproductions of original maps.

I source original, extremely rare maps from libraries, auction houses and private collections around the world, restore them at my London workshop, and then use specialist giclée inks and printers to create beautiful maps that look even better than the original.

My maps are printed on acid-free archival matte (not glossy) paper that feels very high quality and almost like card. In technical terms the paper weight/thickness is 10mil/200gsm. It's perfect for framing.

I print with Epson ultrachrome giclée UV fade resistant pigment inks - some of the best inks you can find.

I can also make maps on canvas, cotton rag and other exotic materials.

Learn more about how the Unique Maps Co. sources and restores old maps

Map personalisation

If you're looking for the perfect anniversary or housewarming gift, I can personalise your map to make it truly unique. For example, I can add a short message, or highlight an important location, or add your family's coat of arms.

The options are almost infinite. Please see my map personalisation page for some wonderful examples of what's possible.

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Get in touch if you're looking for more complex customisations and personalisations.

If you are not happy with your unique map for any reason, contact me for a no-quibble refund.

I am very confident you will like your old map. I have been doing this since 1984. I'm a 5-star Etsy seller. I have sold tens of thousands of maps and have over 1,500 real 5-star reviews.

I use a unique process to restore my maps that is massively time consuming and labour intensive. Hunting down the original maps can take months. I use state of the art and eye-wateringly expensive technology to scan and restore the maps. As a result, I guarantee my maps are a cut above the rest - that's why I can offer a no-quibble refund.

Almost all of my maps look amazing at large sizes (200cm, 6.5ft+) and I can frame and deliver them to you as well, via special oversized courier. Contact me to discuss your specific needs.

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