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Maps
Maps are important sources of historical evidence. They can show how crowded an area was and how wide the streets were. This tells us about people’s living conditions. If you look at old maps of an area and compare them to a modern map you can see how much an area has changed over the centuries. Sometimes important buildings are shown on maps. These might be market places or large warehouses or churches. These important buildings also tell us about what was important to the community. Street names can also give information. For example Seven Dials is named after the seven streets that meet at that point. Dials refers to the sundial that once stood at the centre.

The maps in this section are all places where Irish people have settled over the centuries.

Map of London by Agas, 1572

Map of London by Agas, 1572

In 1562 An Irish nobleman came to Queen Elizabeth's royal court with a bodyguard of fighting men in traditional Irish dress.

In 1576 the Earl of Ormonde, an Irish nobleman, states in evidence in a law suit that in London there is a large community of poor Irish people who live and work there permanently.

This map of Tudor London tells us a lot about their experience.

Strype's Survey of London. Map of St. Giles, Holborn, showing courtyards, 1633, reprinted 1720.

Strype's Survey of London. Map of St. Giles, Holborn, showing courtyards, 1633, reprinted 1720.

St Giles, Holborn was an area settled by many Irish people. The housing here was very crowded. You can see on this map how the small courtyards are built very close together.

Faithorne and Newcourt's
Faithorne and Newcourt's map of London, showing the Knockfergus area east of the Tower of London, 1658.

Knockfergus was a nickname given to an area near the Tower of London where a large number of Irish people lived.
Rocques map of London, 1746, showing Spitalfields

Rocques map of London, 1746, showing Spitalfields

Large numbers of Irish people were skilled weavers. They settled in Spitalfields alongside the Huguenot weavers who came from France.

Map of Europe showing Ireland, 1781.
Map of Europe showing Ireland, 1781

Many Irish people went to find their fortune in mainland Europe. France was a favourite destination.
Seven Dials and The Rookery in 1796.

Seven Dials and The Rookery in 1796

Seven Dials was a part of London where many poorer people lived. The housing
was very crowded and people lived in bad conditions.

Part of the area got the nickname The Rookery. The numbers of people living and sleeping there reminded people of flocks of rooks roosting in trees.
Rooks are also very noisy birds. The name suggests another reason why this
place earned its name.

Detail from Cruchley's map of 1861 showing 'Wilsdon Green' (Willesden) and Kilburn
Detail from Cruchley's map of 1861 showing 'Wilsdon Green' (Willesden) and Kilburn

Many Irish people settled in Cricklewood and Willesden. They had come as agricultural workers for many years. Unemployment in Ireland and the famine had attracted more people who came to work on the canals and railways.


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