LONDON 1840 is building a 1:1500 scale model of London in the year 1840, from Paddington in the west to the River Lea in the east, and from Highbury in the north to Kennington & Greenwich in the south.
In the early to mid-19th century London was at its height. For long the World capital, by 1840 London was the most populous city in the western world with almost twice the population of Paris. It was also the richest city, with a globally dominant economy – Europe’s first modern trading, financial and industrial centre.

The actual area covered by the model is 77 sq. kms. or 77,000,000 sq. m. By the power of mathematics this is dramatically shrunk to 34 sq.m at 1:1500.

By 1840 London had expanded hugely, reinforced its commercial might with the construction of vast new docks and canals, and, from 1835, become the focus of the nascent railway age which at that time had shifted from the provinces to the capital, so that in 1840 London had six railway termini.

At 1:1500, the gardens of Russell Square, Bloomsbury will measure 11cm by 11cm.

The research necessary to build the model will generate a huge amount of digital data which, with further research, will produce almost limitless applications, such as population densities, building dates, poverty mapping, estate boundaries, present-day listed building locations, etc.

The model will serve an educational purpose, act as a useful planning aid and will intrigue and entertain.

The area covered by the model. From St John’s Wood top left to Greenwich bottom right.

In order to promote LONDON 1840, we have built a 1:500 scale model showing part of Bloomsbury. This model is made available for public exhibition.

The 1:500 Bloomsbury model

The 1:500 Bloomsbury model is available for public exhibition along with the augmented reality software created by London University & Bartlett School of Architecture. Work is now in progress on the next phase of model at The Royal Hospital Greenwich. Visitors are most welcome to meet the team and view the model. There is no charge for this but you do need to book in advance by emailing Recent public exhibitions of the model include :
  • 4 December 2013/2 February 2014 – exhibited at English Heritage’s ‘Almost Lost’ Exhibition at the Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London SW1
  • April 2014 –  exhibited at The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EL
  • 8 & 9 July 2014 – Exhibited as a pop-up exhibition during the Venice Biennale at Palazzo Arrigoni, Venice with lectures from Venice University Conservation Architecture Department and children’s workshops led by Sir John Soanes recently retired Head of Education Jane Monahan.
  • 20 & 21 September 2014 – exhibited at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Orchard Place, London E14, during London Open House weekend

Many thanks to Alan Baxter, Peter Murray at New London Architecture, Dan Cruickshank, Polly Hudson, Billy Dickinson at Central St Martin’s, Eric Reynolds and 1st Framework