Unlock King George III's historical maps and views of London and the South East

Unlock London and South East Maps
The most beautiful maps in the world

George III's maps and views remain largely unknown.

Help us unlock the hidden treasures in his remarkable legacy to the nation.

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Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections“The personal map and views collection of George III is one of the world’s most important historical resources. The collection was brought together at a time when Britain’s military, commercial and imperial might was nearing its peak. ” 

Peter Barber
Head of Map Collections

Help us to continue unlocking the wonders of the world...

King George III had a fasciantion with maps, views and geography. He gathered an incredible collection of 60,000 maps and views, from inherited royal maps, commissioned new works, state papers, gifts, acquisitions to items obtained by espionage during wars and conflicts. This collection became the King’s window on the world and its people, and was stored in the room next to where he slept in Buckingham House. Gifted to the nation after his death, his precious collection has never been fully catalogued and is therefore not as well-known or well-used as it deserves.

Our aim is to open up this collection to any one who wants to view it in our Reading Rooms and online, by a process of conserving, cataloguing an digitising every item. Thanks to your support we've been able to catalogue over 30% of the London and South East Volumes as well as completing cataloguing all maps, views and images from South America. 

However, with the collection containing items from all over the world, there is still more work to do to complete this project. With conservation work on each volume taking 4 to 5 hours to complete before it can be digitised or catalogued, the work is overwhelming. More resource is needed to complete this project and make it available for you to enjoy.

Please make a donation of £50 to reveal more of our heritage, discover more of our history and preserve it for the future. 

How you can help

Please support our project and make a donation today.

  • £21 could pay for one hour of cataloguing work on the collection
  • £5would pay for 10 items to be digitised
  • £86 could support half a day's work to repair, preserve and conserve items from the King's Topographical Collection
  • £144 would support one day's work of researching and cataloguing items from the Collection


Read our curator's insights into the collection on our Maps and Views blog. Here are some of the featured items for your viewing pleasure (click on the image to see a larger version). 

An Exact Map        Exterior of the first Royal ExchangeLeft: Hollar, An exact Map representing the condition of the late famous and flourishing City of London as it lyeth in its ruins...1667. Maps K. Top. 20.18
Right: Frans Hogenberg, [Exterior of the first Royal Exchange seen from Cornhill], ca. 1570. Maps K. Top. 24.11-2-2.

Chapel Royal at Whitehall        View of the Excavated Ground for Highgate Archway

Left: S.H. Grimm, A drawn View of the Distribution of His Majesty's Maundy by the Sub-Almoner, in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall, 1773. Maps K. Top. 26.5-r
Right: Augustus Charles Pugin, engraved by J. Hill, View of the Excavated Ground for Highgate Archway, 1812. Maps K. Top. 30.1-1-g.

Adams ThamesisThamesis Descriptio by Robert Adams (1588). Maps K. Top. 6.17.

View of the Town of Brightelmstone        A new and exact Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster & the Borough of Southwark

Left: View of the Town of Brightelmstone, (Brighton: P. Thomas, 1779). Maps K. Top. 42.14
Right: A...Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster & the Borough of Southwark...by Elizabeth Foster (1752). Maps K.Top. 20.34.

Map of the Parish of St Pancras        Thomas Milne’s land-use map of London of 1800

Left: Map of the Parish of Saint Pancras...by J. Tompson (1804). Maps K.Top. 28.16-a
Right: Thomas Milne’s land-use map of London of 1800. Maps K. Top. 6.95

This is just a small fraction of what is contained in the collection and there are many more hidden treasures. Please help unlock them all for the benefit of researchers, scholars and map-lovers everywhere by making a donation today.