Over on our Facebook page and Twitter account we run a #ThrowbackThursday picture each week. It fascinates us, and it seems a lot of our followers, to look back at our historical maps, usually pre-1900, and compare the past and present. We’ll show nineteenth century sites, that if you were to visit them today, would have well-known landmarks on them. They can be anything from the Angel of the North to the Emirates Stadium (pictured right). Without fail, our followers can identify the modern sites, and we share an up-to-date map the next day to show how the area looks today.
While over a century has passed between the maps we share each #ThrowbackThursday, you don’t need to wait that long to spot changes on maps. Britain is constantly changing. We maintain over 460 million features in our database, tracking over 10,000 changes a day. Road layouts change, houses are demolished, new estates are built and new football grounds take root. Our surveyors track these changes on foot, whilst our Flying Unit take to the skies to ensure we have as accurate a picture of changing Britain as we possibly can.
Ordnance Survey has been in Southampton since 1841, during which time the city has changed dramatically. We’ve had three head offices ourselves, starting on London Road (and staying until we were bombed in World War Two), then on to our Romsey Road head office from 1969 to 2010, before reaching our current home at Explorer House on the outskirts of the city.
During this same period of time, Southampton Football Club also had a number of homes in the city. They started at the Antelope Ground, before becoming tenants of Hampshire County Cricket Club at the County Ground for a couple of years. From there they moved to arguably their best known ground, The Dell, from 1898 to 2001, before moving to the newly-built St Mary’s Stadium. Anyone passing the site of The Dell now would see a housing estate, with little to show that a football ground once stood on the spot.
Once a football ground has gone, it can be surprisingly difficult to tell that there used to be a stadium there when you examine a map of the area. In some cases, such as Arsenal’s former ground, the redevelopment incorporates part of the stadium, but in most cases, it is razed to the ground and the stadium footprint rapidly disappears.
We’ve put together eight maps showing the sites of former football grounds. Can you take a look at the maps today, and say which clubs and grounds used to inhabit the space you’re looking at? Post your answers on the blog – we’ll let you know the correct answers next week.