John Stow, an historian and antiquarian, is best known for his ‘Survey of London, originally printed in 1598, during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Stow’s Survey of London is a chorographical study, it maps Tudor London with words. Anybody looking at any of London’s history is bound to have come across this at some point or another.
It’s a critical source for knowing what life was like in Tudor London, a city which mostly disappeared during the great fire of London in 1666. Further damage was caused by Victorian town development and bombing in the Second World War.
Stow describes the common parts of London in peculiar detail. He describes the rivers, beginning with the Thames, he goes onto the wells providing fresh water to Londoners, the city boundary walls and gates. Stow also covers the often unique customs of London, the great men of London and what they’ve done to contribute to the city.
If you would like to learn more about Stow’s ‘Survey of London’ and also get to know more about the man himself, listen to our London History Podcast Episode 44: Tudor London & John Stow. Duration 20 mins.
Hazel Baker is an award-winning London Tour Guide and qualified CIGA guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.