Welcome to Offal Pudding Lane
October 27, 2013 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Take a fly-through tour of 17th century London! Six students from De Montfort University have created a 3D representation of London before the Great of Fire of 1666. The digital model is based on the area surrounding Thomas Farriner's bakery in Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire began. The project is the winning entry in the Off The Map competition, in which students were invited to build 3D models based on maps at the British Library.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED (40 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ezio would've loved 17th century London.
posted by mrnutty at 8:55 PM on October 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


That is fantastic. It's amazing that six students created such a massive, detailed and believable model.
posted by Flashman at 9:39 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


That game looks like such a Skyrim rip-off.
posted by dazed_one at 9:43 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is amazing!
posted by jokeefe at 10:25 PM on October 27, 2013


This is what a 3D printer is for.
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I loved a lot of the little details that I caught, and I know I didn't catch enough that I need to watch it repeatedly to see more. In particular, the way the buildings went out over the street in one of the side streets reminded me a lot of the medieval sections of York.
posted by immlass at 11:04 PM on October 27, 2013


Fantastic. I love this sort of thing.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 11:05 PM on October 27, 2013


Where is Offal Pudding Lane in relation to the Uncanny Valley?


Google Maps is no help here and I might need to know this for safety reasons.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:11 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That game looks like such a Skyrim rip-off.

Bite your tongue. This is Thiefy, in the old-skool vein.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:39 AM on October 28, 2013


immlass, I thought the same thing. Reading their blog, they say they took a trip to York for inspiration.
posted by litlnemo at 2:31 AM on October 28, 2013


This is what a 3D printer is for.

But let's hope they never invent something that can recreate smell.
posted by three blind mice at 3:02 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


But where, oh where, is Gropecnut Lane? Wikipedia (but may be NSFW)
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:21 AM on October 28, 2013


Mister Bijou, I think you just objectified a Viking warlord.
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:47 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


...And yeah, I keep looking for NPCs, and when I see the gravestones I wonder where to find a shovel to dig for loot. I am broken.
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:49 AM on October 28, 2013


As much as the smell, I understand the noise was something that visitors commented on regularly -- from pretty early on, London was "the city that doesn't sleep, so you won't, either."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:09 AM on October 28, 2013


Best of the web. Awesome video!
posted by pointystick at 4:59 AM on October 28, 2013


As much as the smell, I understand the noise was something that visitors commented on regularly...

And yet, fundamentally, it had to be quieter than today's cities due to the lack of motors.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:24 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mesmerizing.

Thanks for this.
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:39 AM on October 28, 2013


I just sent this to one of my best friends, a lifelong Londoner, who has insanely intimate knowledge of the city.
posted by Kitteh at 5:52 AM on October 28, 2013


And yet, fundamentally, it had to be quieter than today's cities due to the lack of motors.

I'm not sure. Peter Ackroyd's London: A Bioghraphy makes a big deal about the level of sound -- bellsl, as one example (look at all the churches in the video), rang, if not constantly, pretty frequently (there were complaints about young men having bell-pulling contests in the churches; contests, which, shockingly involved only pulling of bell-ropes). Add to that the sounds of animals, the lack of zoning laws, people doing business when they could, and it seems that they could give today's city a run for its money. Although the Elizabethans would have found a use for jackhammers, I bet.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:56 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


That game looks like such a Skyrim rip-off.

I was a baker until I took a fire to the knee.
posted by eriko at 6:03 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


due to the lack of motors.

Engines. A motor converts energy into motion. Electric motors, for example. These are generally pretty quiet. An engine creates its own energy (e.g. internal combustion) which is noisy.

The sound of old London must have been completely different than today. Wooden or metal sheathed wheels on cobblestone streets and wood bridges must have made a terrible racket. That and the guy screaming "bring our your dead" whilst hitting a cowbell. (1665 was a plague year in London.)

OTOH the ear piercing sounds of sirens would have been pleasantly absent.
posted by three blind mice at 6:21 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The peals of bells would have been unlikely to be very tuneful as bell tuning was poorly understood if attempted at all at the time.
posted by asok at 6:45 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow that's amazing! Would have loved to have seen people in it, although I know that wasn't the focus. Cheers for the post.
posted by billiebee at 6:49 AM on October 28, 2013


I kind of wanted to know a bit more about what I was looking at. What was the name of the street I was swooping down? What's on the site of that gallows today? I realize that a lot of London burned and had to be rebuilt - and don't get me wrong, this looked cool - but some quick something to anchor this in reality would have helped rather than having it feel like "Random Street Scene Someone Thought Up".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


It wasn't just that London was somewhat noisy in an absolute sense, but that it was relatively noisy. This was back when London was much smaller and was surrounded by rural areas and smaller independent villages that hadn't yet been swallowed up by the city. You could walk from the middle of a peaceful field to the middle of London's busiest streets and then back again to the field, and you would hear the difference.
posted by pracowity at 6:56 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


let's hope they never invent something that can recreate smell.

There was some history show I saw once - maybe on PBS - where they did this for Paris. They addressed the average persons' bathing habits, pointed out a couple of odiferous businesses, and pointed out the shoddy sewage, and discussed how the city's layout also made for poor air circulation; then they went to a Parisian perfumer and had them make up a perfume that had all those various elements (horse pee from the tanners', shit from the sewers, B.O. from all the people crowded in around you) and called it something like "Paris 1773".

Then they brought it out onto the streets of modern Paris and had a joke "perfume testing" where they let people smell it and filmed their reactions (which usually consisted of gagging).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:58 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would have loved to have seen people in it,

Seeing Samuel Pepys in one of his many "dalliances" is something I could do without, but was likely a common scene in 1666 London.
posted by three blind mice at 7:38 AM on October 28, 2013


paris 1773

You can still buy the original 17th century fragrance Eau de Cologne (water from Köln) - 4711 - in Köln.
posted by three blind mice at 7:46 AM on October 28, 2013


Fantastic! Now I want one for Paris... and Moscow... and Prague...
posted by languagehat at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2013


When I was in London, I spent most of a Sunday taking a walking tour with the historian of the church where I attended services that morning. I heard, "this was rebuilt after the Great Fire" and "this was rebuilt after the Blitz" so many times that day I started to wonder if I'd be walking through an entirely different city if just those two events hadn't happened. I felt so damn humbled. In most cities in the U.S., we tear shit down and rebuild it just because it's Tuesday and somebody's got money.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:13 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Engines. A motor converts energy into motion. Electric motors, for example. These are generally pretty quiet. An engine creates its own energy (e.g. internal combustion) which is noisy.

That is all nonsense! First off all, an internal combustion engine doesn't "create it's own energy", because nothing can create energy (the first law of thermodynamics and all that). What it does is that it converts the chemical potential energy stored in the fuel into motion, just like an electric motor converts electrical energy into motion. While the internal workings are different, the principle is exactly the same.

Second, there's absolutely no linguistic support for the notion that "motor" only can refer to electric motors and that "engines" only refer internal combustion. Look up motor in any dictionary you like, and you'll see what I mean.

In addition to that, you can consult the Oxford English Dictionary for a thorough history of the word, and you find the definition "A machine that supplies motive power for a vehicle or other device with moving parts; (in later use) esp. one powered by electricity, internal combustion, or compressed air" with citations from the mid-19th century. This one, from an 1877 issue of Galaxy Magazine, is notable: "He uses a Gramme electrical machine driven by Brayton's petroleum motor."

While it's true that "engine" almost always refer to internal combustion, a "motor" can refer to any kind of device that supplies motive power to (for instance) a vehicle. That's why they're called "motor-cars", or "motor-boats", or why a driver is sometimes referred to as a "motorist". So stop dispersing incorrect and made up rules of language! It's not nice, and you're almost always wrong!

Oh, and yeah, awesome post by the way! I've looked at that video like three times now!
posted by gkhan at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now I need to reread The Baroque Cycle.
posted by sourwookie at 8:32 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am seized with a desire for an open world game set in Ankh Morepork.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Regarding what history smells like, I recently read The Ghost Map on a recommendation from some mefite or other (thanks!!) Despite being set ~200 years later than this model, it went into great detail about sanitation in London before the sewers. The practice was that you basically let your cellar or back yard fill up with shit. And your neighbors did the same thing.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:07 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to work with a woman whose previous job had been creating smells for museum exhibits, to immerse the guests in the world of the objects being viewed. I always regret not taking the time to pump her for more details. The only specifics I remember are something about researching what kind of wood would have been used for the interior surfaces of a particular 18th century American house, and what kind of oils and waxes would have been used on said wood.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I used to work with a woman whose previous job had been creating smells for museum exhibits, to immerse the guests in the world of the objects being viewed.

....I want that job.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on October 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks so much for posting this! Fantastic map, and a fabulous post, too, chock-full of intriguing links sure to set me running ever deeper into the rabbit warren as little snippets of information here and there add to my curiosity.

One path had me traveling from the person most likely largely responsible for the Great Fire, the baker in Pudding Lane, to the people most blamed for it at the time. Foreigners and Catholics were assumed agents of terrorism; panicked rumors of fireballs and grenades being thrown into buildings added to this belief, and even the official study into the causes of the Great Fire is full of anti-Catholic sentiment rather than facts.

Then there's this sad story, barely a paragraph within the Wikipedia link:

An example of the urge to identify scapegoats for the fire is the acceptance of the confession of a simple-minded French watchmaker, Robert Hubert, who claimed he was an agent of the Pope and had started the Great Fire in Westminster.[55] He later changed his story to say that he had started the fire at the bakery in Pudding Lane. Hubert was convicted, despite some misgivings about his fitness to plead, and hanged at Tyburn on 28 September 1666. After his death, it became apparent that he had not arrived in London until two days after the fire started.

I've been sending out links from the post to family members. Americans all, we enjoy learning about European history. I am struck by how much better your universities seem to handle this subject, focusing on a humanist perspective. All too often here the teaching of historical happenings is weighed down by an insistence for rote memorization of dates and by politically-biased perspectives rather than actual data, in an ill-conceived effort to make our forefathers look better.
posted by misha at 1:05 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to work with a woman whose previous job had been creating smells for museum exhibits...

This summer a friend of mine who works at a state Historical Society gave me a half-hour tour of some of their most-special printed items. The oldest book that she showed me was printed in 1492. Naturally, being a book-lover who owns a lot of books, I gave it a sniff. She laughed and said that there was usually one person in every group who does that.

(It had very little smell -- but that "musty" smell that we often associate with books is usually because they have gotten wet. The fact that this book still exists at all is a testament to the fact that it has been kept safe & dry for 500+ years, so I guess it makes sense that there wasn't a noticeable smell.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:26 AM on October 29, 2013


A few thoughts:
- The music plus the absence of humans made it feel like the credit sequence to a notional Up 1600 A.D. movie.

- In 1999-2001 I worked for an architectural firm in the quaintly-named Computer Department. One of my colleagues was trying to get support to explore using the Unreal Engine to make models of buildings for clients to explore. It was called the Unrealty platform. There wasn't yet a tool to do the .DWG-to-Unreal conversion very easily, so at the time only a proof-of-concept model of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was available (at www.vrndproject.com, which is now a link farm). Here's the original paper with some sample images. Now, sadly, it seems to be dead.

- I agree with languagehat: when can we get more of these? Maybe random buildings pulled from a source like the Google 3D Warehouse and then extruded up from archival maps... Man, that'd be awesome!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:39 AM on October 29, 2013


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