Historical Maps

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Boundary maps by themselves provide a framework for statistical data, but as soon as you start zooming in and lose sight of Britain's coastline it becomes very hard to say what part of the country you are looking at. Partly to provide context for our boundary maps, and partly because they are of great interest in themselves, we have also computerised three complete sets of one inch to the mile maps of Great Britain, plus roughly contemporary smaller scale maps allowing you to start with a map of the whole country and then zoom in.

  • Our earliest maps are the Ordnance Survey First Series. These were published slowly over the 19th century, as the OS worked their way from south to north, and while this was happening they updated the earlier sheets by directly revising the printing plates to add new features: the different printings are called States, rather than editions. We had access to the British Library's map collection, and our approach was to use the earliest available state for each sheet, rather than the set closest together in date. Our smallest scale 19th century map is from 1812 and is by Robert Wilkinson, at a scale of 1:1,625,000.

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