The Land Use Zone of London

The Reverend Henry Hunter, who published his 'History of London and its Environs' in 1811, said that at any given time London was surrounded by concentric belts of land, each used for a particular purpose. The immediate fringe was a belt of clay pits where bricks were being fired to build the new houses. These produced a ring of fire round the town. Gravel pits too were opened wherever possible. Then came a ring of cattle pastures, which included Paddington and St. John's Wood. There were market gardens in the alluvial soil along the Thames and its tributaries, such as the Westbourne, but their main concentrations were at Isleworth and Brentford. The outermost zone was of hayfields which gradually gave way to grain.

In 1975-6 the London Topographical Society produced a handsome facsimile of Thomas Milne's 'Land Use Map of London and Environs, 1800,' with a long and informative introduction by G.B.G. Bull. Although Henry Hunter printed no map, Professor Bull produced a set of them based on Hunter's descriptions and the information shown by Milne. Thus one can see the distribution of parks, gardens, marshes and other areas, each on a separate map. The example reproduced here, by kind permission of London Topographical Society shows the zones clearly.
North London was much larger than South London the Thames and the zone uses vary according to geology and contours.

 Edgware Road and Bayswater Road have been added for the purpose of this book. The former marches along the gravel ridge of Maida Hill, cut by the Rivers Westbourne and Tyburn, while the Bayswater Road is also largely on gravel. Most of St. Marylebone was meadows providing green grazing for cows and horses. Further out, north and south, were hay meadows, the oil fields of the period, providing the motive power for London's horse-drawn traffic.

Land Use Regions of the London Area by G.B.G. Bull based on Henry Hunter 1811


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