Seventeenth-century Whitehall in Google Maps

by Nick

Walking down Whitehall today after work, I passed the Banqueting House and started wondering where every other bit of the Palace had been before it burned down in 1698. An hour or so after getting home plus research has resulted in me plotting the layout roughly onto Google Maps. It doesn’t begin to show everything, but the major landmarks are there. Very little outwardly survives – the Banqueting House is still there, and Westminster Hall and Westminster Abbey are still pretty obvious. If you work in the UK civil service, or are lucky enough to get on one of the Open House tours this September, you can also look inside the Cabinet Office for the remains of Henry VIII’s tennis court. Other than that, there’s little left. One thing that struck me when doing the map was the vulnerability of the Palace – King Street to the north runs right up to the Banqueting House and the Holbein gate, and if you’ve ever wandered past you’ll see straight away how vulnerable the windows would have been.