This group has been created to explore the creation of an inclusive open-source historical mapping community, with a focus on Early Modern London, Early Modern England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland, and their relations with the wider world. It is an initiative of the MarineLives project team. The MarineLives project was launched in 2012 to work collaboratively on the transcription, linkage and enrichment of the legal records of the English High Court of Admiralty. We welcome academics and non-academics to contribute to this group, which is hosted on the Humanities Commons platform, and to advance a culture of exchange of data sets, map layers, polygons, georeferenced data and methodologies.

Mapping the sounds of the Early Modern Thames shoreline – Treadmill cranes

1 voice, 0 replies
Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #866

      Colin Greenstreet

      The Agas map of London, published c. 1633, but showing London c. 1550-1560, shows a series of cranes at different places along the Thames north shore, both above and below London Bridge. These cranes appear to be treadmill cranes. An example of a large treadmill crane, powered by four men in a treadmill at one side of the crane, can be seen in various engravings, both uncoloured and coloured, of the ‘Great Crane of Brugges’ still in use in the seventeenth century.

      We can speculate, based on the technology and construction of these cranes, that the sounds produced by the cranes included Feet, wheels, pulleys, rope, groaning men, metal hooks, leather.


      Examples of treadmill cranes and also reconstructions using period materials and technologies would enable in situ recordings of the sounds of these cranes.


      Source: Agas Map of London, ca. 1650-1651, pub. C. 1633, probably derived from the ‘Copperplate’ map of c. 1650, of which three sheets exist, ‘Plan of London (circa 1560 to 1570)’, in Agas Map of London 1561 ([s.l.], 1633),  British History Online</i>, ‘Plan of London (circa 1560 to 1570)’, in Agas Map of London 1561([s.l.], 1633), British History Online, [accessed 15 December 2016]; Great Crane at Bruges,lifting wine barrels from a barge, four men walk inside the wheel on the near side of the crane, MIT online resource,

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Only members can participate in this group's discussions.