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Time Travel Explorer Blog

Innumerable little lanes and courts

by Matt Brown 21. October 2010 09:40

"if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey its innumerable little lanes and courts" - Dr Samuel Johnson

This oft-quoted piece of sagacity from the good doctor is as true today as it was back in the 18th century. London is criss-crossed with secret alleyways and little-known shortcuts. Some are a useful means for avoiding tourist crowds, many have colourful histories; some lead nowhere at all, and quite a few are home to a special pub. You cannot claim to have a sound and ready knowledge of London until you have squeezed through Brydges Place, held your nose along Bull Inn Court, or pondered the name of Hanging Sword Alley.

Time Travel Explorer allows you to seek out these spaces from the comfort of your sofa. Starting in the modern map view, you can zoom in on one of the many passages north of Fleet Street, for example, and compare its layout through time by switching between maps. The first thing you'll note is the marked diminution in number. Back in Johnson's time, many streets could boast an alley or court every few houses. When the City still housed small independent manufacturing trades each business needed access routes from the main street, stabling for horses and provision for waste storage and collection. Comparing with the 1862 view, we find that Peterboro Court is no more, Falcon Court has been blocked off, and Robin Hood Court has, like its namesake, become a myth.

Area north of Fleet Street, 1862, 2010, 1746. Use TTX London to see in more detail.

Many other passages remain in this unusually well endowed part of town. Gough Square, sometime home to Johnson himself, is all present and correct as far back as 1746. Wine Office Court, scene of the incomparably atmospheric Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub, has also stayed put. Crane Court, Re

d Lion Court and Hind Court are also undisturbed by the centuries.

Modern developments may appear to sweep away all before them, but farsighted planning laws have preserved many of the characterful snickleways beloved of Johnson. Exploring them on foot is one of my favourite weekend pastimes. Failing that, you can learn a lot about these hidden byways with a quick finger tour in Time Travel Explorer.

Welcome to Time Travel Explorer London

by Matt Brown 11. August 2010 21:36

Welcome to Time Travel Explorer London

Time travel? There's an app for that. Well, almost. With Time Travel Explorer (TTX) you can glimpse the London of Jack the Ripper, Charles Dickens, William Hogarth and Samuel Johnson through detailed and superimposable maps, spoken descriptions from a Blue Badge guide and over 1000 archive photographs.

You don't need a DeLorean or Tardis. Simply switch on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and begin browsing through history.

  • View detailed maps of London showing how the city has evolved over centuries. Fade-in and fade-out overlaid maps from different eras, to see precisely how streets, parks, boundaries and properties have changed.
  • Find your location with GPS and discover how your current surroundings looked in different eras.
  • Browse over 700 points of interest with detailed descriptions, many with photos and personal commentary from a certified Blue Badge tourist guide.
  • View more than 1200 historic photos, many more than a century old.

Explore the streets of London, let your iPhone tell you what's around you and see how the city has developed in a unique way.

Available now from iTunes app store for a special low introductory price of £1.79 until 26 August 2010.