Digimap for Schools launch 1950s maps of Britain

Fantastic news for Digimap for Schools users – a second historic map layer has been added in. Teachers and students using the popular online map service can now directly compare maps of the 1890s, the 1950s and the present day.

The new historic 1950s map layer covers the whole of Great Britain and can be viewed on its own, or overlaid onto the 1890s or current mapping. You can make the most recent map on view translucent to easily see how the landscape has changed.

We took a look at a few areas around Britain to see how development, changes in industry, and changes in land use have affected them.

Basingstoke has seen huge growth as we track it from the 1950s to present day. Basingstoke market was mentioned in the Domesday Book and remained a small market town until the 1950s, when rapid development began to deal with the London ‘overspill’.

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Thamesmead is a very large development in SE London on a drained marsh.Untitled design (12)

Not all areas change. Cockfoster – end of the Piccadilly Line – not been extended and only small development in the area due to green belt restrictions.

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How were the maps added to Digimap for Schools?

The historic OS maps have been scanned and geo-referenced by the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and made available in Digimap for Schools. We originally published the 1 inch maps between 1952 and 1961  and were known as the ‘Seventh Series’.  This was the last 1-inch series before moving to 1:50,000 scale mapping in the 1970s.

The 1890s maps in Digimap for Schools were originally published between 1895 and 1899 as the Revised New Series in England and Wales and the 2nd Edition in Scotland.

The historic maps are high quality scans at 400dpi for Scotland and 600dpi for England and Wales. This means that they can be enlarged far beyond their original scale of 1 inch to 1 mile.

Why were the new maps added to Digimap for Schools?

Teachers were very enthusiastic about the 1890s mapping, but wanted historic mapping somewhere in-between the Victorian map and the modern day. The 1950s is the perfect half way point, revealing the landscape in the post WW2 period. It’s a fantastic resource for teachers and pupils for looking at how landscapes have changed for geography and for local history projects.

If you haven’t come across it before, Digimap for Schools is an online application developed by EDINA at the University of Edinburgh. It gives schools easy access to a wide range of OS maps, from OS MasterMap to our famous OS Explorer maps. Pupils and teachers can save and print maps at A4 and A3 size.

Find out more on our website.




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  1. Pingback : Fantastic news for Digimap for Schools users – a second historic map layer has... - Teachers Day

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