Guest blog by Sophie Kirkpatrick, Founder of Atlas & I.Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love an antique map? Their unique charm and history is endlessly relatable and you can never tire of exploring an old map of a sentimental location. To study old maps in antiquarian book shops and libraries is one undertaking, but to own an original antique map is a luxury reserved for the wealthy or bequeathed.
Cartography or map making has been an integral part of human history for thousands of years. The earliest maps are recorded as far back as the 24th century BC, depicting simplistic line drawings of hills, rivers and cities on a clay tablet.
Throughout the year we’ve published extracts of historical maps, many going back more than 100 years, on our Twitter feed. It’s fascinating to look at the old maps and see how much things have changes as roads and residential areas grow and previous landmarks, and countryside, often disappear.
We’ve been asking our followers if they can identify the well-known landmarks, sporting venues or places that now stand on the sites shown on the historical maps. How well do you think you can do? We’ve picked our ten favourites from the year to challenge you. Just click on each image to see it more clearly – and let us know how you get on:
Wimbledon got off to a flying start on Monday, and as much as we love tennis, our minds inevitably turned to maps. We’ve been putting Wimbledon on the map for almost 100 years now. Did you know that when the All England Club was formed, back in 1868, their home was not at the current Wimbledon site? Shown below on our map from 1896, the club was based at Worple Road until 1922 and the first championships, and even the 1908 Olympics, were not played out on the existing Church Road site.
We love finding out how people use Ordnance Survey maps, whether it’s for business or pleasure, and something that has stood out more recently is those accessing our historical maps and using them to research family trees.
Later 19th century maps often identify the names of farms and properties where families were living and our maps can help researchers locate these homes and better understand how they fitted into the landscape and network of surrounding communities including giving reasons as to why a family may have moved around and then settled in a particular place.
Where they settled may also provide insight into peoples’ occupations or the type of farming the family embarked on, as does the distance to different types of transport detailed on the maps.
Although we don’t hold any historical maps anymore, maps dating back to 1840 are available to view in local libraries or through the Landmark Information Group where you can view and purchase historical maps online.
If you would like more information about how to get hold of historical maps, please click here.
We’ve featured a number of blog articles over the last few months showing historical map extracts and asking you to identify the modern landmark that now stands in the same spot. We all use maps in our daily lives to work out where we are and where we’re going, but it can also be really interesting to see how things used to be and compare that to the current landscape.
You might not have known that we sell a series of 477 historical maps, revised from the end of the 19th century and published in the early 1900s. The maps use the traditional 1 inch to 1 mile scale, showing contours, latitude and longitude, parish boundaries, railways, roads, waterways and woods.
You can see how your town has changed in the past 100 (or so) years or use the maps for the very popular ancestry research.