By Liam Cunningham

Despite being stuck at home we at Layers of London are still hard at work and busy preparing a programme of public engagement for the summer. This month we have several exciting digital events planned, new volunteering opportunities and — as always — the site itself which continues to grow with new map layers and crowdsourced historical records. 


Since April we have been holding weekly webinars on a diverse range of topics, recordings of which are available to view online. We are continuing this month with: 

  • Dr. Helen McCarthy (author of Double Lives, and Professor of Modern British History – Cambridge)
  • Professor Sundari Anitha (author of Striking Women, and Professor of Gender, Violence and Work, University of Lincoln)
  • Dr Sadie Watson (Museum of London Archaeology, MOLA) 
  • Hannah Swirsky (Centenary Action Group)
  • Rachel Crossley (Director of the East End Women’s Museum)

Make sure to book your spot as places are limited. 

A new layer: 1940s London from the air

In February we challenged the public to geo-reference thousands of post-war RAF aerial images of London. We’ve been surprised and very pleased with the enthusiastic reaction and we are happy to report that the job is now 99% complete.

We’ve stitched together these images to create a vast new photographic layer of London, now available to view on our site. This layer shows London as it was in the late 1940s, with damage from the Blitz visible in many places. Thank you to Historic England for providing these images. 

New collections

Image of arch at Euston Station from Conway Library 

New records and collections containing fascinating snapshots into London’s history are being added by users every day. Some highlights from recent additions include:

If you would like to add your own records to Layers please do, no need to ask for permission! Our user guides and videos explain how it’s done.  


One of the main lessons we’ve learned running the Layers of London social media accounts over the past few years is that you never know what’s going to take off. On Twitter last week we challenged Londoners to take pictures of their local postboxes and tweet us – the results of which can be viewed here (warning: lots of red). To learn more about these iconic pillars, check out the Postal Museum’s blog

Layers of London Book Club

Want to read about London this summer and reminisce about the times when things were open? Have we got the book club for you! We’re sending out books about the city for free and all you have to do is map locations from the book you get on Layers of London. Not a bad deal. Information on how to sign up here

That’s all the news for now. To keep up to date with Layers of London make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and sign up to our mailing list

Liam Cunningham is the Communications Assistant for the HLF funded Layers of London project.

Layers of London is a map-based history website developed by the Institute of Historical Research.

Users can access free historic maps of London and contribute stories, memories and histories to create a social history resource about their area.