Need maps of SE1 area

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Saturday 21 June 2003 9.42pm
Hi from USA
I'm writing a novel for children (9-12) and part of it takes place in the area of Southwark. The beginning the Father and daughter live in a bedsit in Southwark (if, indeed any exist in the area). Later in the book, when two children must go back to Medieval London to avert a disaster on their town, they ride on horseback north so that they must cross London Bridge. I'm thinking they must ride for at least 5 miles.
Questions: 1)Approx. 5 miles from London bridge, would they be in Elephant and Castle? The Newington area?
2) I would love to get some detailed street maps of the area if any exist. Would I have to get an Ordance Survey map? Or are regular street maps available with enough detail so that I might move my characters from point A to point B with some degree of confidence?
Few people might find this topic interesting so if you'd like to email me privately, it's
Many thanks in advance.
Saturday 21 June 2003 9.54pm
No, 5 miles south from London Bridge would be much further than the Elephant & Castle

click here for a map centred on London Bridge from the excellent have plenty of London street maps, and they ship to the USA - try this link as a starting point

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Monday 23 June 2003 11.15am
Suggest you should visit and do some fieldwork in order to make your novel more realistic - otherwise from publishing date until the date the last copy is devoured by worms, your readers will say to themselves 'she cannot ever have visited that place.'
Monday 23 June 2003 1.57pm

I agree - it would be much better to visit. You'll need to go to the local library that stores tons of information on the history of Southwark. I've lived in Southwark for many years so could give you a bit of information.

Also, a father and daughter would not necessarily be in a bedsit for long - they would probably go to the council, be put up in a bedsit for a few months and then been allocated a council flat or housing trust flat. It would depend on their circumstances in the first place really!

You would probably also need to find out about the local schools and the system here aswell.

It would be well worth a visit but I think you would really need to do quite a bit of planning first, as to what information you would be looking for.

Good luck,

Monday 23 June 2003 3.36pm
James, Mapmaker, Jenny,
Thanks much for your replies. James, your links are quite useful, Jenny, thanks so much for the accommodation information. I'll be plugging on...
Monday 23 June 2003 6.09pm
As well as contemporary maps, I assume you will want to look at some older maps as well. This site has some old ones, but only going back to the mid 18th century:

Hope this helps.
Monday 23 June 2003 6.23pm
Hi Kathy,

The Local Studies Library could probably help - it has a number of historical maps - here is the link from Southwark's current website
(the website is being updated so this link may not stay current. The e-mail address is

Hope it all goes well.
Wednesday 25 June 2003 11.30am
This company also does old maps, and has compiled "A-Z"s for Elizabethan, Restoration, Regency and Victorian London. I've had a couple of e-mails from them because I'm trying to get a facsimile of Rocque's 1746 map, and they are really frendly and helpful.

Unfortunately, though, they do not have images of the maps online, unlike the Motco site.
Thursday 26 June 2003 10.17am

In medieval times, London-proper was nearly all north of the Thames, with just a few hundred yards of Borough and Bankside south of the river before the fields of Surrey. Five miles due south of London Bridge takes you to Dulwich, which would have been a tiny village surrounded by countryside. Or maybe you could look five miles down the roman road towards Winchester (the A3 on modern maps) which would place you in the village of Wandsworth. You could look east along the roman Old Kent Road towards Canterbury (the A2), which would place you near Greenwich or Blackheath. All these places have history web sites with useful background information.

The Corporation of London Collage Image Database has over 100 maps of London dating from the 15th to the 19th Century. There are thousands of other prints of old London on their database. You can order prints in various sizes for a few dollars each. Their web site is at

Good luck with the project.
Thursday 26 June 2003 3.58pm
Jo Jo, Rachel and Zoodle,
Thanks for very helpful map and library information. Zoodle: really useful bit about Dulwich. I just figured out (using mathematical conversion -- not my strong area) that Dulwich (if I would be going approx. due south from London Bridge) would be the area that would set me 5 miles out. Your suggestions for other locales is quite useful also.
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