You are here

Other Scales of Rare Maps

22. GSGS 3036 England 2½-inch (1:25,344) sheet 128E, with British system grid (CCSA 218A/10)
See also sheets 85NE (No.79), 128W (No.70). The life of the military map of East Anglia at the real 2½-inch scale was extended after the First World War until the second in two phases: first, in 1925 by adding the British system grid, then, in 1931, adopting instead the Modified British system grid. In 1935 there were instructions to call in and destroy all surviving copies of the 1925 map. None are held by the Military Survey collection now in the British Library: this copy is a rare survivor of this process.

From a copy in a private collection

23. Six-inch (1:10,560) London and its environs, sheet 7, with experimental hachures (CCSA 218A/11)
The skeleton map of London surveyed in 1848-50 was published at three scales, at 1:1056 in 487 sheets, at 1:5280 in 44 sheets, and at the six-inch nominally in 16 sheets. It was an outline map showing only building frontages, street names and altitude information. This particular copy has brown hachures, presumably applied for some experimental purpose since they do not conform to the undulations of the land covered.

From a copy in the Map Library, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham

33. Six-inch Suffolk sheet 74SW, with experimental hachures (CCSA 218A/21/1)
This is a copy of the first edition sheet published in 1889, with horizontal hachures experimentally applied to the western half. It is not known when these were added. The eastern half is in the standard specification.

From a copy in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library, at Maps.aa.G.014.5

43. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 1 (CCSA 218A/26)
44. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 2 (CCSA 218A/27)
45. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 3 (CCSA 218A/28)
46. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 4 (CCSA 218A/29)
47. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 5 (CCSA 218A/30)
48. London two-inch (1:31,680) sheet 6 (CCSA 218A/31)

In 1923 the Ordnance Survey published their Ministry of Transport maps of England and Wales, and Scotland, at the half-inch (1:126,720) scale. These were outline maps with classified roads overprinted in red and green. As part of this programme a six-sheet map of the London area was published at the two-inch scale. The source map used was evidently this “not for public use” map printed in 1920 in grey outline, with water in blue and contours in brown.

From copies in a private collection

55. GSGS 2748 1:20,000 artillery training map Stonehenge (CCSA 218A/36)
56. GSGS 2748 1:20,000 artillery training map Tilshead (CCSA 218A/37)
57. GSGS 2748 1:20,000 artillery training map Kilmarnock (CCSA 218A/38/1)

Nearly two hundred artillery training maps were published during the First World War. With few exceptions they were at a standard scale of 1:20,000, and were district maps photo-reduced from County Series six-inch (1:10,560) maps. Standard sheet coverage was 17,500 by 10,950 yards (effectively 16 by 10 km); most maps were printed in black with contours at 5 metre intervals in brown. They were originally classified GSGS 2742a (the number reserved for the 1:20,000 Western Front maps, the suffix “a” implying the overprinted squaring system), then allocated their own number, GSGS 2748. Most of the known surviving artillery training maps are in the two-volume set in the British Library (Maps 150.d.14). These volumes largely comprise late printings, and earlier ones, such as these three, are very rare indeed.

From copies in the University Library, Glasgow

67. GSGS 3775 1:20,000 Grantown-on-Spey (CCSA 218B/43/1)
The standard 1:20,000 military map of Great Britain was GSGS 2748, begun in 1918, and was constructed on Cassini’s Projection on the origin of Dunnose. Nearly one hundred series sheets were in print by 1930 when the decision was taken to alter the scale from 1:20,000 to 1:25,000, the grid from the British system to the Modified British system, A new GSGS number was allocated, 3906. The true origin of the grid was the same as the map, at Dunnose on the Isle of Wight. GSGS 3775 'Grantown-on-Spey' was a special 1:20,000 mapped in the style of the GSGS 2748 regular edition. The principal point of distinction between this and the national map is that this one was constructed on the county meridian for Elginshire, Findlay Seat. It was overprinted in purple at 1000 yard intervals. The reason for the use of this local grid is at present unknown; the map may have been made for a local military exercise in 1925.

From a copy in a private collection

70. GSGS 3036 England 2½-inch (1:25,344) sheet 128W, with British system grid (CCSA 218B/42/5)
See also sheets 85NE (No.79), 128E (No.22). The life of the military map of East Anglia at the real 2½-inch scale was extended after the First World War until the second in two phases: first, in 1925 by adding the British system grid, then, in 1931, adopting instead the Modified British system grid. In 1935 there were instructions to call in and destroy all surviving copies of the 1925 map. None are held by the Military Survey collection now in the British Library: this copy is a rare survivor of this process.

From a copy in a private collection

79. GSGS 3036 England 2½-inch sheet 85NE, with British system grid (CCSA 218B/47/1)
See also sheets 128E (No.22), 128W (No.70). The life of the military map of East Anglia at the real 2½-inch scale was extended after the First World War until the second in two phases: first, in 1925 by adding the British system grid, then, in 1931, adopting instead the Modified British system grid. In 1935 there were instructions to call in and destroy all surviving copies of the 1925 map. None are held by the Military Survey collection now in the British Library: this copy is a rare survivor of this process. This is one of the early 1914 sheets issued in the original specification which included a confidential red plate, showing telegraph and telephone lines, identifying steep slopes along roads and giving the width of bridges and culverts, highlighting churches and describing the viewing potential from high ground. This was deleted by 1925, but it is noteworthy that the military information present on the green and blue plates was unaffected. Changes to the black plate included the addition of a GSGS number and new adjoining sheet diagrams. There was some revision within the neatline, including the deletion of the population figure for Cambridge (doubtless out of date). Strangely the renaming of railways caused by grouping was ignored.

From a copy in a private collection

80. Six-inch military and police map of Belfast, 1921 (CCSA 218B/47/2)
Compiled from six-inch sheets revised in 1901-2, and set slightly north and east of County Down sheet 4. The map is overprinted in blue with the county borough boundary and a key to police barracks, and in red with police districts and military concentration and blocking points. Catholic areas are shaded green. Also overprinted in red is an alpha-numeric three-inch grid.

From a copy in a private collection

81. GSGS (Air) 112 International aeronautical maps of the world, conventional signs for the basic maps (CCSA 218B/47/3)
82. GSGS (Air) 111a International aeronautical maps of the world, conventional signs for aerial information (black) plates, plate I (CCSA 218B/47/4)
83. GSGS (Air) 111b International aeronautical maps of the world, conventional signs for aerial information (black) plates, plate II (CCSA 218B/47/5)
84. GSGS (Air) 111c International aeronautical maps of the world, conventional signs for aerial information (black) plates, plate III (CCSA 218B/47/6)
85. GSGS (Air) 111d International aeronautical maps of the world, amendment sheet (CCSA 218B/47/7)
86. GSGS (Air) 111e International aeronautical maps of the world, elaboration sheet (CCSA 218B/47/8)

The GSGS (Air) series was established at the end of the First World War, the earliest known publications appearing in 1920. The series was numbered from 100 only as far as 136, totalling between 45 and 50 published items, and comprising maps, indexes, conventional sign charts, wavelength charts, air routes and a few other items. Several of these have yet to be recorded in even a single copy. A War Office version of the new quarter-inch map of England and Wales was to have played its part, and proof copies of sheets 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 were printed between 1920 and 1923. However none reached publication. The most commonly found survivors of the GSGS (Air) series are the International General Aeronautical Maps, a collaborative effort with foreign military authorities, including French and South African. Seven sheets extending from Eastern Europe and across the Middle East and into Africa were published by the War Office as part of this series, and in addition a special sheet entitled 'Britain'. Presented here are the conventional sign charts for this series; of particular interest are the manuscript annotations incorporated as the specification for the series developed. The GSGS (Air) series seems to have survived only until 1925: later issues of its maps were allocated numbers in the standard GSGS series, and the final item in the list, the 1:1 million 'Aerodrome location map – British Isles', GSGS (Air) 136, was published as GSGS 3787, in 1926.

From copies in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library

88. Ordnance Survey Characteristic Sheet for the Six Inch and One Inch Plans (CCSA 218B/47/10)
This characteristic sheet, for many years untitled, is recorded in printings back at least to 1852, and there is a strong possibility that the earliest versions would have been engraved without the altitude and geological information added by then. It is one of a pair with one showing 'Examples for the Characters of the Writing to the Ordnance Map of the Scale of 6 Inches to a Mile'. It would appear that the title was added to the present sheet by 1881, and there is a copy in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. with an embossed printing date stamp of July 1882 that appears to be the same as the present example in all aspects except that the symbol for fort is present there, and lacking here. Other points of chronological interest are the presence of the term “main road”, formally introduced in 1878, footpaths represented by double dotted lines, which were superseded by single line pecks by 1886, and the presence of the new single line with crossbars symbol for tramways, replacing the earlier narrowly spaced parallel lines on the one-inch in 1886.

From a copy in a private collection

95. Four-inch Sketch of the Curragh of Kildare (CCSA 218B/49/6)
County Kildare had been surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1837-8, with publication of the six-inch map of the county following in 1839. A permanent military camp for 10,000 infantry at the Curragh, proposed in January 1855, was built with such speed that there was already accommodation available for 5000 men by July the same year. A new survey of the encampment and contours was undertaken by Ordnance surveyors in 1855, and revised in 1866. Both resulted in engravings of outline and hachured editions of a special six-inch map, The Curragh Sheet.

The four-inch sketch map reproduced here is undated. A copy of an earlier state is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (C19:22(3)), made during the 1860s when Berdoe Wilkinson was still a Captain and Henry James a Colonel. Their promotion respectively to Lieutenant Colonel and Major General in April 1870 and the Topographical Department War Office accession date of 27 January 1874 provide terminal dates for this edition.

The neatlines of the map are slightly within those of the six-inch special map, and administrative boundaries and names, field boundaries, area values and ornament of the original have either been deleted altogether or are greatly simplified. Form lines are used to depict the hills, with heights at the summits (not present on the engraved six-inch map) measured in feet. All names have been redrawn, with several named added of features which were presumably of particular significance to the military. The map is coloured, with the Curragh in green, water in blue, built up areas and road names in carmine, the roads themselves in sienna.

From a copy in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library, at Maps.aa.G.014.13

96. GSGS 3957 (Air), Experimental Civil Aviation Edition, sheet 4, 1946 proof (CCSA 218B/49/7)
This experimental map was printed in ten colours, including four shades of brown for use in the hill layers. There are also a black plate, two blues, one green, one red, and a magenta plate for the aviation information overprint. The map reached proof stage in 1946 before being cancelled. We are fortunate also to be able to reproduce the Military Survey index card on which its progress was documented.

There are many versions of the quarter-inch Fourth Edition map of Great Britain, which was constructed in the mid-1930s on National Yard Grid sheet lines. These include the post-war civilian form with National Grid, and many different versions of GSGS 3957 and GSGS 3958, some overprinted with the War Office Cassini Grid (modified British system), some with a graticule, for military and air use up to and during the Second World War. While grids, overprint detail and the colour of hills may have varied, the basic mapping between these editions changed very little, the most obvious adjustments being the enhancement of railway lines, the thinning out of minor place names, and the use of a heavy blue band to represent shallow water (replacing marine contours) for the benefit of air crews.

The map reproduced here possesses features radically at odds with this norm. Most seriously affected is the black plate, with churches, road and woodland casings all deleted. The detail of built-up areas is gone, with large built-up areas shown wholly without detail, and small communities replaced by black squares (though the job has yet to be completed – see, for instance, the Wirrall, Codsall, and south of Halesowen). Still in place are thickened railway lines, with the added enhancement of a single cross bar for single track and double for multi-track lines. Shoals are transferred from the black plate to a brown. Heights are given in italics. There is a graticule at ten-minute intervals. Changes affecting the blue plate include the deletion of narrow waterways. The five-fathom marine contour (but not the ten-) is preferred to the heavy band of blue, enhanced by a second marine layer, while coastal water names are transferred from the black to the blue plate. The red plate is reserved solely for classified road infill – its previous use for railway stations, level crossings, road numbers, and additionally in GSGS 3957 and 3958 for viaducts and golf courses, is abandoned, while race courses are transferred to the black plate.

The magenta overprint of aviation information contains different features to those required by the military, the most obvious being danger areas around the coast and on land. Tall obstructions have a special symbol, their heights measured both from land and mean sea level. Isogonals, local mean time, airfields, powerlines all remain, though revised. There is no compass rose.

From a copy in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library, at Maps.aa.G.014.16

98. Six-inch Portsdown Hill and Hilsea sheet 1, 1914 (CCSA 218B/49/9)
99. Six-inch Portsdown Hill and Hilsea sheet 2, 1914 (CCSA 218B/49/10)
This pair of special six-inch sheets were prepared by the Ordnance Survey for War Department use. The full range of the Palmerston forts and the Hilsea Lines defensive systems north of the Portsmouth naval base are shown. There are contours in blue at one hundred feet intervals. One function of the the map was to act as an index to special sheets at a larger scale, presumably 1:2500.

From copies in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library, at Maps.aa.G.014.11 and 12

202. Six-inch Kent sheet 35 (CCSA 218B/52/30)
This defective copy of six-inch Kent sheet 35 is annotated "Unfinished". It was surveyed in 1872-3 and engraved in 1875.
From a copy in the Map Department, Cambridge University Library, at Maps.aa.G.014.6