Episode 44: Tudor London & John Stow

If you want to gain a vivid view of Tudor London, a London that was mostly lost due to the Great Fire of London, then you need to familiarise yourself with John Stow’s ‘Survey of London’.

Join London Tour Guide Hazel Baker and City of London tour guide Ian McDiarmid as they discuss Tudor London and the man behind the ink and quill. 

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Hazel Baker: Hello and welcome to our London history podcast where we share our love of London, its people, places and history in 20 minutes episode. I am your host, Hazel Baker, a qualified London tour guide and CEO of London Guided Walks. Find us on Twitter @guided_walks or Instagram @walk_london, or indeed, we are also on Facebook at London Guided Walks.

We've lots of lovely guided walks and private tours, treasure hunts, virtual tours, virtual treasure hunts for Londoners and visitors alike. You can check all of those out on our website londonguidedwalks.co.uk. And don't forget, our blog is regularly updated with posts written by our passionate team of quantified London tour guides. There are literally hundreds to choose from all absolutely free.

Joining me in the studio today is City of London tour guide Ian McDiarmid. So today we are going to be talking about something that is rather important, but a little bit maybe underestimated.

This is Survey of London by John Stow and anybody looking at any of London's history is bound to have come across this at some point or another, but today we're going to be discussing the importance of the Survey itself and also getting to know John Stow. 

What we discuss:

  • For those listeners who haven't the foggiest about what we're going on about what is it a survey of?
  • Why is A Survey of London so important?
  • So looking at that detail, that's something that you can't get in the age of map, isn't it or the pictures that we have of the time?
  • Could the 'Survey of London' be considered as being a guidebook?
  • We might as well get into John Stow himself. So who was he?
  • And what were his influences?
  • John Stow has quite an interesting writing style didn't he?
  • Stow had forbidden material but why? Was it simply because he's an antiquarian and he's interested in collecting all kinds of material, or is he actually sympathetic to the old religion that's now being persecuted?
  • John Stow starts writing when he was 40 years old. So maybe he was feeling that he needed to preserve what he could see was rapidly disappearing by writing it down?
  • Normally when I'm reading a survey of London I look specifically at a certain place and a particular point in time, but you actually, you read it from beginning to end, didn't you?

That's all for now. I'll see you next week.

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