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The topography of Anglo-Saxon London

  • Tim Tatton-Brown
Extract

One of the few things to have remained very little changed in the City of London for nearly one thousand years was the position of most of its streets and lanes. Unfortunately this is no longer true, and in the past few decades large numbers of medieval streets have disappeared from the map for ever to be replaced by characterless dual-carriageways that now slice through the City. Not only do these new routes replace the earlier ones, but at the same time they swallow up and destroy all the surrounding side lanes and many of the old alignments disappear. Equally, property boundaries which may also have survived for at least 800 years now disappear for ever in very large redevelopments, and nowhere is this whole process more clearly seen than in the vast swathe cut for the new southern dualcarriageway that has replaced Thames Street. The whole of the western part of Upper Thames Street, with its adjoining side lanes, has been physically removed, to be replaced by a tunnelled dualcarriageway further to the south. For well over half a mile the central part of Thames Street is now so wide that it has engulfed properties on its north side, while the eastern end from the Custom House to Tower Hill, with its surrounding redevelopments, has had all signs of the medieval topography removed except for All Hallows church with its unique Anglo-Saxon arch (Taylor & Taylor, 1965, 39-400)

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References
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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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