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Survey of London

The Survey of London provides essential reading for anyone wishing to find out about the capital’s built environment. 

The Survey of London has explored a wide variety of London districts in its 120-year history, from Soho, Mayfair and Covent Garden in the West End to Woolwich, Highgate and Norwood in the inner suburbs.

In 2013, we became a part of The Bartlett, continuing our research to produce the detailed architectural and topographical studies we have been publishing for more than 100 years. 

What the Survey of London has covered

Each Survey volume or set of volumes, currently published by Yale University Press, covers one parish or borough. Our focus is central London and its inner suburbs, the area administered (before 1965) by the London County Council, and each book explores an area’s topographical and architectural evolution, giving a description of its buildings (including many which have been demolished), explaining how they came into being and outlining their significance and historical associations.

The text, based to a large degree on original documentary and field research, is profusely illustrated with a mixture of archive views and new photography and drawings, including maps and measured plans and elevations. 

There are two series of the Survey of London - the Main or Parish Series and the Monograph Series. The Main Series deals with buildings and building developments within particular districts or parishes, many of which have needed more than one volume to cover the whole.

These are listed on the Survey of London map and access to the online versions of all but the most recent Main Series publications on Woolwich and Battersea are available from the Survey of London Online pages at British History Online.

Our monographs deal with individual sites and buildings of particular note. All are online apart from the most recent, which explores the Charterhouse. The scope and detail of individual volumes vary greatly.

Earlier volumes are highly selective and include very few buildings erected after about 1800. Southern Lambeth (vol. 26, published 1956), was the first Survey volume to investigate the 19th-century suburban development which accounts for much of modern London.

Since about 1970, the Survey of London has written about buildings of all dates and types. Our focus has shifted from formal architectural description to a much more contextual and rounded account of building development, and the changing social and economic character of each area.