Summer Research Blog: Week 2

This week, my research was interrupted and slowed by having my wisdom teeth removed this Tuesday. However, in spite of that, I was able to continue my work on the REED London project. My biggest accomplishment this week was my georectification of the Whitehall map of 1680. This map presented a challenge to me previously, because it shows only a very small portion of land (the Whitehall Palace in London), and more frustratingly, a small portion of land that no longer exists on modern maps. To align Whitehall buildings with modern buildings and streets would be entirely guesswork, and so I had settled to use the Whitehall 1680 map just as a visual aid. This was until I came up with the idea of georectifying the Whitehall map to another, larger map from the same era of London. I had already georectified several maps of London that show Whitehall Palace in some detail. I was able to georectify Whitehall Palace based on other maps that were already tied to modern topography. This gives a detailed view of every Whitehall Palace building, linked to their modern location.

The un-georectified map of Whitehall

My Summer Research

This summer, I am continuing my Presidential Fellows research in the Digital Humanities through the REED London project. REED London is a long running project compiling primary sources involving different forms of theatre in Elizabethan and Stuart England. I’ve chosen to narrow my focus to the so-called Magnificent Marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Frederick V of the Rhine in 1613, and the history of place. The wedding of Elizabeth and Frederick was a massive cultural phenomenon surrounded by weeks of performance and festivities. Using the REED London texts and other primary sources, I’ve been attempting to map out the places involved in these performances.

So far this summer, I’ve focused primarily on ArcGIS software to manipulate historical maps to fit modern satellite maps in order to contextualize historical places with their location in modern London. This has been challenging, as London as a city has changed a lot in past centuries due to fires, bombings, industrialization, and urbanization. It’s difficult to find high quality maps of London that aren’t strangely stitched together, and so I’ve familiarized myself with Adobe Photoshop to crop and clean up maps to make them more usable (attached are the Ogilby-Morgan map of London as I found it online, and my edited and georectified version of the map). I’ve also begun reading letters from witnesses to the wedding festivities, such as prolific correspondent John Chamberlain.

The unedited Ogilby-Morgan map unevenly stitched together
Edited and georectified Ogilby-Morgan map