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London on the Thames: a Study of the Natural Conditions that Influenced the Birth and Growth of a Great City

Nature volume 113, page 780 (31 May 1924) | Download Citation

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Abstract

MRS. ORMSBY'S analysis of the geographical conditions which have determined the siting and growth of London virtually ends with Tudor times and does not touch upon the complex problems of modern London. The salient feature of her treatment of the subject, indeed her most valuable contribution to its study, is a skilful, use of the indications afforded by the contour lines she has worked out, in conjunction with the system of streams, to interpret such facts as have been handed down from the past or may be observed to-day. Mrs. Ormsby does not agree with the view which holds that London was a pre-Roman settlement. Accepting Mr. Reginald Smith's conclusion that Watling Street originally crossed the Thames at Westminster, she holds that London, except possibly for a few scattered settlers along the river bank, is entirely of post-Roman growth, and originated from the necessity of finding a port for Verulamium, the line of least resistance being the Lea with its broad estuary on the Thames. The purely geographical argument is strong, while, as Mrs. Ormsby points out, the archaeological evidence, derived principally from the Moorgate area, is not. The origin of the name, if it could be determined, would probably weigh against a Roman date.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/113780a0

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