Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A History of the Streets of London

There are no roads in the City of London.

There are however  a lot of streets, alleys and lanes. The sense of the word 'road' to indicate a byway did not emerge until the late 16th Century - a long time after most of the roads in the City of London were established and were already named.

This isn't the only interesting fact about the street names of roads in London. Streets of London is a map of the City of London which allows you to discover the etymological history of London road names. Click on a highlighted road on the map and you can find out why the selected road is called what it is and where its name originally came from.

The map itself was very easy to make. I essentially started by just adding polylines to a Leaflet map. However it quickly became apparent that there were a number of themes emerging in the names of London's streets, particularly relating to London's medieval markets, the Inns of Court and the history of banking in the City.

I therefore decided to use Leaflet's Layer Groups and Layers Control to provide an easy way for map users to filter the roads shown on the map by different categories. You can do this by using the map menu in the top right-hand corner of the map.

I also wanted to provide a little historical background for some of these categories. I've added pop-up windows for a few of the road categories. However these only appear on the map when you turn on one of the relevant categories from the map menu (all categories are initially selected so these pop-ups will only appear after you turn off a category and turn it on again).

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