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Some while ago, when I first started getting interested in the history of London, I came across George Vertue's map of the Civil War defences of London. (Teeny image here.) I live right next to the site of one of the forts, so this map caught my attention.

I've walked around the Roman walls fairly often; it's a pleasant stroll, and there are remnants of the wall to be seen. The Civil War defences are a more substantial walking proposition: from Wapping in the east to Buckingham Palace in the west, from the New River Head in the north to the Imperial War Museum in the south. Not only that, but there's nothing left to see: the defences were torn down almost immediately after the war, and Vertue drew his map nearly a century later.

There are primary sources, of course: Acts of Parliament, for a start, and apparently William Lithgow wrote a contemporary account (although he seems to have been nicknamed "Lying Lithgow", which is hardly encouraging). But who needs primary sources? There are no remains above ground, and I'm not about to start digging, so what difference does it make if I'm a hundred yards out?

At least, that's what I thought. I walked along the defences (ish) last weekend, took photos, and may even upload them eventually -- but now I'm starting to consider buying books about Civil War London. Just to, you know, make sure I was in the right place. This is presumably how OCD starts...

Date: 2008-05-17 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vicarage.livejournal.com
You´ll have to move onto the 19th century London Defence Positions next, a nice 70 mile walk along the North Downs.

Date: 2008-05-17 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] example22.livejournal.com
Interesting! I'll probably consider it, right after I finish the London LOOP (http://www.walklondon.org.uk/route.asp?R=5&submit.x=12&submit.y=12). Mind you, it's taken me two years to get two-thirds of the way round that, so...

Date: 2008-05-24 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] southorizons.livejournal.com
sightseeing without sights... i was walking along part of the berlin wall without wall today (Bernauer Strasse), no remnants only brand new residence appartment blocks... its almost like history only exists in the timeout guidebook... odd

hopefully i'll see more tomorrow when i go on the 'fat tire bike tour'!

Date: 2008-05-25 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] example22.livejournal.com
Oddly, there's a bit of the Berlin Wall in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum -- so you can always come and see it when you get back ;-)

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