Wyngaerde’s Map of London
The earliest map of London that has come down to our time is Wyngaerde’s panorama, dating from between 1543 and 1550. It provides a bird’s-eye view of the whole city, together with Westminster and Southwark, from above Southwark High Street. In addition to the many buildings shown are a large number of sailing vessels. More than forty small vessels may be counted above London Bridge, but the chief interest of the picture lies in the more than seventy big ships below the bridge. Of particular interest to the artist seems to have been the Spritsail Topmast, of which as many as seven examples are shown. The nationality of the vessels displaying these spars is not known, but the artist gives due prominence to the Steelyard headquarters of the Hanseatic League, occupying the site now covered by Cannon Street station.