Map of London
Drag the Map to Move it Around:
On the Road
A map of London is essential when moving around the capital. Many people use a tube
map, but this doesn’t at all give you a realistic idea of the distances and shape of the city, as the
underground map (which is available for free at any tube station) is a simplified map where the rail paths do
not correspond to reality.
I don’t advise you to purchase a map in your own country, as these
may not be very accurate or updated. In London there is one very popular map that comes in all sizes and shapes:
the “AZ London”. You can find it at just about
every corner shop of the capital. I am not a fan of this publication, as maps are (to me) a bit crowded and
sometimes confusing. What I love about it is the story of how it came to life.
Phyllis Pearsall (1906--1996) was a modestly successful portrait painter whose
father was an Hungarian map maker that migrated to England.
One September evening of the year 1935, Phyllis was going to a
friend’s party armed with the only map of London she could get at that time, a 1919 Ordinance Survey
Map that was definitely not doing the job. She got lost and it took her ages to get there.
The very same evening the idea popped into her head while telling
the tale of her journey to her friends.
The next morning at 5 o’clock she was on the road, beginning a
3.000 miles journey on foot, walking the 23.000 streets of the capital by herself. Her father didn’t believe in
this idea and criticized her, also because women at that time were doing very little outside of their homes. A year
later 10.000 copies were born out of a printer shop and WH Smith gave it the push it
It was an historical success that repeated itself in every city of the world. She was the first to
think about it.
Having said all this, nowadays there are many map makers that
copied the original idea. The best maps of all are the once from the AA - the Automobile Club.
They are slightly harder to find, but any bookshop or petrol station will stock them.
It might be a good idea to get yourself one of those maps that
open up big and wide, so that you can have a real idea of where you are going, compared to the most popular book
style map of London.
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