I visited the London Metropolitan Archives yesterday, for a talk on the history of Regent’s Park. As a royal park, much of the related archive material is held at Windsor Castle, but the LMA has a wealth of photographs, some children’s journals and fantastic maps which relate to the development of the park from the time of Henry VIII.
Looking at the maps, (from 1571) it is easy to see how buildings encroached rapidly on the fields surrounding the initial City of London, the parkland being specially protected as first a hunting ground, then land for agriculture, then as a royal park designed by John Nash.
Photographs showed architectural triumphs, many still with us today, and the activities enjoyed by our ancestors – visiting the zoo amongst them.
The archives are open to the public, and their seminars are certainly worth attending if you are interested in London and its history.