Copper engraving, 58 x 53 cm, black and white, short marginal split, blank verso. Map-sheet C1 from Horwood’s magnificent 32-sheet survey showing part of Bloomsbury, including Great Ormond Street, Guilford Street and the Foundling Hospital, part of Gower Street and open land which is today occupied by the University of London and Russell Square.
Horwood’s plan is a landmark in London mapping on a number of counts. It was the first large-scale survey since John Rocque’s, half a century earlier, and Horwood was the first to show individual house numbers. Numbering began in London in the 1760s (although house numbers were not used in official records until much later – the 19th century in some cases) but Horwood was the first to mark them on the map. The survey took Horwood almost a decade: he began work in 1790, the earliest sheet is dated 1792, and publication was completed in 1799. He remarked that he ‘took every angle, measured almost every line and after that plotted and compared the whole work’ in person. The map is also an indicator of the changing face of patronage. Earlier map-makers such as William Morgan looked to royal or aristocratic patrons to shoulder the costs of their original, large-scale surveys, and in the mid eighteenth-century John Rocque was sponsored by the Aldermen of the City of London, but Richard Horwood’s principal backer was the Phoenix Fire Company, an insurance firm. Howgego, Printed Maps of London, 200 (1)