Bearing in my own historian’s credentials and my close shave with the archivist profession, I thought I’d see how far I got combining my academic research skills with this newfangled interweb thing – it didn’t exist as a resource when I was at university – and that was only in 1988-1992!
So, the results….
Having discovered though that the BL’s map collections aren’t yet online, I tooksolace in their links to other good map collections, where I found the PRO (“The Public Record Office is the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom. It brings together and preserves the records of central government and the courts of law, and makes them available to all who wish to consult them. The records span an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present day.”) – I should have thought of that sooner!!
But the catalogue is pretty impenetrable if you’re in a hurry…. Mind you , I have just done a search on “Pepys” in the National Register of Archives / Historical Manuscripts Commission which brought up this info on “Pepys, Samuel (1633-1703) MP Diarist Public Servant Antiquary” which includes a link to Magdelene College’s Pepys Library.
“Maps, plans, prints and photographs – we have extensive holdings of printed maps of London from the sixteenth century, thematic maps including bomb damage, plans and drawings in the Building Act case file series and other collections, and over 250,000 prints, watercolours, etchings and photographs showing the changing face of London over the last 300 years.”
…. although it looks like it’ll cost to get a map out of them!
but they did include a link to the British Library’s Manuscripts Catalogue online, whic I’d not spotted on my trawl of their website. And using the search facility for “name=London; start date=1500; end date=1700” brings up a good list of hits, 838 entries long. You’d need to dig into the papers to find maps though….