In the age of Google Maps, everywhere can start to look the same. So it’s interesting to see historical maps of familiar places. The map above is of Lancashire, where I live, and it was produced by John Speed more than 400 years ago. The one below is the same view using Google Maps this year. Of course, it’s not a fair comparison. I can’t gesture to zoom in, drop into Street View, or expand out with Google Earth, on the John Speed version. But still, I know which one I prefer to explore from this perspective.
It’s also interesting to note that in 1610, of all the places in North West England, Lancaster deserved the box out showing the town centre.
Growing up in Lancaster, the old Moor Hospital used to terrify me. Originally known as the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum, it was a large complex of imposing Victorian buildings, purpose built from the early 1800s onwards to house people not deemed fit to live with the rest of us. I dread to think how many people were taken there against their will for the flimsiest of reasons, and what kind of “treatment” they endured.
Today the site is being renovated. Already you can buy a luxury home at The Residence, as it is now is known, for upwards of £300k.
The photos above and below were taken by a team of urban explorers going by the names of Ben, Beardy, Travis and Chard in 2013, before the renovations began. I love their work. You should check out more here.
See more photos of the Lancaster Moor Hospital, and other locations, here.