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Zoom Meeting #6 – Errors & Omissions

The latest in the series of CCS Virtual Meetings took place during the evening of Wednesday 11th November and attracted 13 speakers with a further 26 observers. Hosted by Gerry Zierler and chaired by myself Dave Watt, this show-and-tell ranged over a huge variety of mostly OS ‘Errors and Omissions’.

Bang on time, Bernard Anderson opened with his OS 1:25,000 mapping of Walton-on-the-Naze with and without foreshore stipple, the infamous and short-lived London Underground diagram that omitted the Thames and large-scale mapping of the Swiss Cottage area of north London with varying depictions of railway tunnels.

Richard Evans then continued the north London theme with extracts from an error strewn 1:25,000 sheet covering the Edgware Road or, as the OS had it ‘Edgeware’ before migrating north to Stoke on Trent or, as the map cover had it, ‘Stoke upon Trent’. A lively discussion on the Edgware example ensued with other participants remembering some of the apparently inexplicable errors and later an explanation for ‘Stoke’ was offered.

We then proceeded west and to the intertidal zone as David L Walker (with assistance from Adrian Webb) highlighted a very early example of the OS using contours, and submarine ones at that, around some sandbanks in the Severn Estuary. In the late 1820s, despite assistance from the Admiralty, OS had yet to grasp that contours can’t join one another.

We then moved a few miles down the Bristol Channel to Chris Higley who took us back to when he was ‘no’-but-a-lad’, corresponding with OS pointing out errors on footpath alignments in the Norfolk village of Mulbarton and how, forty-six years later, misinterpretations still persisted. He went on to highlight a lighthouse on the top of a Pennine moor (error) and a lighthouse inland in Cardiff (not an error) and finally the Barry Island Figure 8, a locally infamous rollercoaster but light rapid transit system according to the OS symbology.

John Davies took over comparing OS online mapping at two scales over the village of Blackmore in Essex and the discrepancies in placenames and road symbology between the two. One had to be an error! However, John’s main theme was OS redacting ‘sensitive’ areas while the Soviet city plans of the same areas faithfully showed the self-same naval dockyards, prisons and military airfields. Since the advent of Google Earth buildings are shown, where they still exist, but not named.

Ken Hollamby continued John’s theme with the ‘real’ and ‘photoshopped’ 1946 airphotomosaics of Prestwick airport and various eras of OS mapping depicting the airfield(s)…or not as the case may be.

Rob Wheeler then took over speaking about the differences in depiction of railways between Yorkshire and Lancashire OS 25-inch mapping over the same areas.

Now audio and video began to break up and your correspondent lost touch long enough for our Chairman, who was acting as our host for technical reasons, to take over momentarily.

Back on track, or so I thought, David Fairbairn took us back in time with place-names on antique mapping of the north-east of England and ‘Gatesend’ on Saxton, Speed and Mercator maps of County Durham. Moving forward four centuries he explored the various combinations of the words ‘Berwick’, ‘upon’ and ‘Tweed’ and hypens between the three or not, how they had been rendered on OS maps and covers at various scales over time and Network Rail’s inconsistent approach at the railway station. A comment was passed that Highways England don’t use the hypens on the A1’s road signs, could an Alnwick or Dunbar local confirm that?! He finished with the consistencies of the Tyne valley hamlet of Clara Vale/Claravale.

Mike Brereton continued explaining inconsistencies in the depiction of the water courses or ‘leats’ above his watermill in Cumbria.

However now the weather cut off our internet connection completely! My wife and fellow family member, Caroline, rebooted the house’s WiFi network, although it seemed to take forever for the computer to play ball, and then I rejoined. I am hugely grateful to her for restoring order. I came in to hear Chairman Gerry mentioning, ‘Don’t know where Dave’s gone but keep going Mike’.

On the subject of ‘leats’ Richard and Anne Wilson showcased what appeared to be a footbridge on their local 1:25,000, although actually a derelict wooden baulk dam with attendant leat to a mine downstream, and their depiction on air photography. They finished with a nearby footpath marching ramrod straight over hill-and-dale and a pine forest. Someone’s Friday afternoon doodle?

The meeting concluded with three single slides from Ian Byrne, don’t believe English place names on French road maps or English truck-stop names on Italian road maps; John Telfer, highlighting miscounting of contour numbers near Wast Water on Landranger sheet 90 and myself querying hill-shading on the Landranger sheet 160.

After nearly two hours that was it. 32 out of 39 attendees made it to the bitter end and I am hugely grateful to so many for sticking with it. I only saw one participant yawn and another wasn’t there only because his internet connection was even worse than mine.

This was my first experience of hosting so many speakers, over such an extended period and through a catastrophic technical meltdown. Lessons have been learned at Watt Towers! However, the CCS’ corporate knowledge of Zoom is increasing after every meeting and I encourage everyone to contribute. Just contact the organiser and help, encouragement and advice are there in spades if you’d like it.

Dave Watt
November 2020