The amazing web site of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Shakespeare's London. Cheapside.



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LONDON before the Great Fire


A view of Cheapside circa 1639




This is said to be one of only two or three views known of any street of London before it was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666.

The houses would have appeared much the same in Shakespeare's day.

Source: Description des Royaumes D'Angleterre et D'Ecosse. Composé par Estienne Perlin.

Par. 1558.

Histoire de LEntree de La Reine Mere dans La Grande Bretagne.

Par. 1639.

Re-printed by W. BOWYER and J. NICHOLS:

For T. PAYNE and W. BROWN.


M DCC LXXV        (1775)





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For a more detailed view of each part of the street, click on one of the parts above for whichever section you wish to magnify.


The print shows the visit of Mary de Medici, daughter of the grand duke of Tuscany, in 1639. She was the mother of the English Queen, Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I. She stayed in England for about two years but was generally hated by the populace as a scheming political intriguer and, being a Catholic, was suspected of desires to overthrow English Protestantism. The houses would have been mostly constructed of wood and wattle daub. They have the typical overhanging construction of the Elizabethan period, made possible by the use of oak beams. A house front of a similar style and date is kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Further details of the buildings are given with each individual enlargement.


The print is from Histoire de L'entree de La Reine Mere dans La Grande Bretagne, by P. de la Serre. 1639.

Re-printed in London in 1775 by W. Bowyer and J. Nichols.





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