London in the 1690s A Social Atlas

Craig Spence
Publication date: 
1 August 2000
Number of pages: 

At the end of the seventeenth century London was about to become the largest and wealthiest city in the western world. One in ten of England's population lived in the capital, which also housed a vast proportion of the kingdom's riches. That wealth, combined with the great international trade flowing through its wharves and warehouses, earned the city the description 'the vitals of the commonwealth'. Analysing the unique and extensive documentary sources for this significant decade, the author describes and explores a number if key topographic, social and economic measures. Importantly, and so far as the sources allow, seventeenth-century London is treated throughout the analysis as a single entity –  a metropolis, compromising the City and the sprawling suburbs outside.

London in the 1690s guides the reader the development of the built environment and the vital economic and social patterns indicated by property values and the density of households. It includes discussions of London's elite, the distribution of the make and female householders, and broad patterns of wealth. Supported by extensive statistical tables and maps, the book is also illustrated with images from the period. This fascinating atlas makes a major contribution to the field of early modern urban studies, and will interest both the established scholar and the student. It also serves as an introduction to the extensive database on the decade held at the Centre for Metropolitan History.

'It is a superlative work of historical geography... Scholars of many subjects – from demography to commerce to built environment – will welcome this book as a substantial achievement in metropolitan history' – English Historical Review.