John Warburton’s Map of 1747

The Circle of Mortality, three miles from Cornhill, passes through Stoke Newington. At that time all boroughs within this radius had to send regular monthly reports to the government of the number of people who had died in their neighbourhood. These statistics would warn of the start of an outbreak of plague. There was no protection from plague. They did not know it was spread by rats and fleas. It was silent, mysterious and terrifying. Rich people could retire to their country estates, away from the contagion. Poor people could only pray and cower.

The 1611 Speed map and John Warburton’s 1747 one show London clustering around the twin cities of London and Westminster. Almost all the houses were north of the Thames, with only a small development in Southwark, south of the River. The North Bank was much higher than the marshy South Bank, and safer to build houses on. At that time the South Bank was full of ponds and mosquitoes and better avoided.