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An Introduction to Zoom Meetings, and how to join in 

All that is needed is a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone and an internet connection; the Zoom software is automatically loaded for free if not already installed. This is an ideal way to stay in contact and share your interests in these unusual times, when normal meetings and visits are suspended. 

Details of how to join these meetings will be contained in the emailed 'CCS Newsletter' that Members receive. If you are a Member and wish to receive the latest Society news and information by email, please contact the Membership Secretary ( and provide your email address. 



Zoom Meeting #26, 23rd April 2024. 'Beneath the lines: mapping medieval townscapes using large scale OS maps'

  • Presenter: Keith Lilley
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • Attendees: 41
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 31m

What lies beneath the lines on the map? The larger scale OS maps of Great Britain and Ireland show features of the historic urban landscape in great detail.

In this talk, Keith Lilley explained the importance and significance of these cartographic features for mapping out the origins and evolution of our towns and cities. The lines on the map are a 'window' onto a much more distant medieval past, helping us to see how urban landscapes took shape on the ground so many centuries ago.


Zoom Meeting #25, 23rd January 2024. 'The Ordnance surveys of Kent of 1788 and 1795'

  • Presenter: Dr. Rob Wheeler
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • Attendees: 27
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 20m

Dr. Rob Wheeler presented what started off as a ramble through the OSDs but developed a focus on two rather beautiful maps of Kent, drawn at a time when the engraved one-inch was at most a bright idea that might or might not come to pass.

There will still be a few digressions en route, including what might be claimed as the earliest OS map that can be viewed online and an intriguing series of Specials that never happened.


Zoom Meeting #24, 5th December 2023. 'The rise of the Guide Post and its recording by the Ordnance Survey'

  • Presenter: Dr. Richard Oliver
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 05m

Dr. Richard Oliver presented an online talk that explored how signposts came to be erected, what we can learn about their numbers and their distribution from early Ordnance Survey mapping.


Zoom Meeting #23, 25th October 2023. 'The rise of Hagstrom's Cartographic Empire: Early Subway maps of New York City'

  • Presenter: Peter Lloyd
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • Attendees: 33
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 03m

Showing how the new subway lines were integrated into the street map. Comparison with London's early Metropoltan Railway maps, which likewise had to show cut-and-cover underground lines within a dense city. Early New York mapmakers such as Hammond and Ohman followed the Metropolitan style of overprinting. It was Hagstrom that revolutionised the cartography by re-drawing the street map around the subway. And this is surely part of the reason that Hagstrom dominated New York street maps for a half a century, and remained a strong but waning force into the 1990s.

Peter Lloyd is a professional software engineer with a long-standing passion for collecting and studying maps of underground railway systems. He has embarked on a project to document the history of the New York City subway map. In this project he has published Vignelli: Transit Maps (RIT Press 2012) and is now working on further volumes.  

Zoom Meeting #22, 17th April 2023. 'All About the new Ordnance Survey Small Scales Book recently published'

  • Presenter: Dr. Richard Oliver
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 36m

One of the authors Richard Oliver describes how the latest CCS book, 'Ordnance Survey Small Scale Maps' available to purchase here was put together, and will illustrate some highlights of the book. He explains some of the apparent eccentricities in the illustrations, and will also give some potted history of the half-inch, quarter-inch and ten-mile maps.    


Zoom Meeting #21, 11th April 2023. 'An Anglo-German Comparison, The One-inch New Series and the Karte des Deutschen Reiches, 1878-1918.'

  • Presenter: Dr Rob Wheeler
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1h 30m

At the end of the 19th century, there was a widespread perception that the UK had fallen behind the newly unified Germany, both technically and in many of its institutional arrangements. Rob Wheeler explores whether this was true insofar as mapping was concerned. The talk will describe the German Survey's flagship product, with comparisons to the one-inch New Series, which was in any ways the OS equivalent.    

Zoom Meeting #20, 28th March 2023. 'British Military Map-Makers in the Peninsula.'

  • Presenter: Dr John Peaty FRGS FRHistS PhD MA
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 59m

One of the major contributions to the liberation of Portugal and Spain from the French was the superb intelligence service developed by the British Army which enabled Wellington to know to a remarkable degree what was on the other side of the hill. In recent years British military historians have transformed our understanding of Wellington’s intelligence service in the Peninsular War. Urban, Davies and Romans have illuminated the work of code-breakers, agents and exploring officers. However, the contribution of British surveyors and map-makers to discovering and then depicting what was on the other side of the hill remains unappreciated - as does their contribution to recording Wellington’s campaigns and battles for posterity. This paper will examine the neglected work of Wellington’s surveyors and map-makers during and in the aftermath of the Peninsular War. It will show that men such as Broke, Sturgeon, Bell, Colleton, Staveley, Bainbrigge, Freeth and Mitchell made a major contribution to the success of Wellington’s operations and the winning of his victories by not only finding out what was on the other side of the hill but also by depicting it accurately and usefully. It will further show that such men made a major contribution to the study of the war by recording for history Wellington’s operations and victories accurately and usefully afterwards. Finally, it will show that such men rendered distinguished service in many fields and that, ironically, they are remembered today for things other than surveying and map-making in the Peninsula.    

Zoom Meeting #19, 14th December 2022. 'Adding Railways to the Old Series.'

  • Presenter: Dr. Rob Wheeler
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by questions & answers
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 12m

Throughout its life, the one-inch Old Series was regularly updated to show new railways. This talk looks at the practical aspects of this: what it meant for the surveyors and the engravers. It also looks at the attitude to what features adjacent to the railway should be revised at the same time, and how this changed over time.    

Zoom Meeting #18, 14th November 2022. 'The first 25 years of the Ordnance Survey coloured one-inch maps, 1897-1922: how the "Mudge Map" turned into the Landranger.'

  • Presenter: Dr. Richard Oliver
  • Format: Structured talk, followed by question & answer
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 17m

The first Ordnance Survey maps, published over 200 years ago, differ in two important respects from those we are accustomed to today. Then they were all ‘single-colour’, .e. black; now they are multi-colour. Then they showed relief by hachures; now they show them by contour lines. This was a radical transition, which took place over about 25 years, from the late 1890s to the early 1920s. This talk describes how this came about, and includes slides of both some very well-known maps that are part of the story, such as the Killarney sheet of 1913, and some much more obscure ones. It was a gradual process, and although the effects were most obvious on the one-inch map, and on its descendent, the 1:50,000 Landranger, the actual transition involved some much less familiar maps. The term ‘coloured outline map’ is used, and although the OS were using it in 1919, it has not hitherto been used very much. Perhaps things will be different after this talk!    

Zoom Meeting #17, Monday 6 June 2022 "Look, they gave me a map"

  • Presenter: Ian Byrne
  • Format: A Show & Tell followed by question & answer
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 2hr 15m

Not all maps were designed to be sold; some were given away for promotional reasons, by organisations as diverse as tourist boards, estate agents, bus companies, hotels, petrol stations and even tonic wine! Some were carefully designed to tempt the traveller to explore, while others look as if they were thrown together in 5 minutes. A few even used recognisable Ordnance Survey base mapping. At this Show & Tell invited CCS members to bring along some favourites, good and bad, with the only restriction being that the first owner was not required to pay for them. They could date from any time in the past 150 years as, unlike many commercial maps with a cover price, these still seem to be produced in large quantities.    

Zoom Meeting #16, Tuesday 12 April 2022 'The Military Editions of the 6-inch'

  • Presenters: Dr. Rob Wheeler
  • Format: A talk, followed by a Q&A session

At this meeting Rob gave a talk on The Military Editions of the 6-inch. His aim was to draw attention to the utility of these maps as a way of recovering features that had been deleted from the 25-inch on security grounds. Most of these editions had originated from military versions of the 2nd edition plates, which were subsequently revised by War Department surveyors independently of the normal OS revision process. This WD revision was limited to the WD estate and followed different standards from those of the OS. New features were depicted in a more generalised way; but the surveyors often added descriptive names which reflected their inside knowledge. The labelling of Position Finding Cells and the arrangements for fire control of coastal batteries were an example of this. The availability of a significant proportion of these sheets comes about because of reprints made in 1941-2 and subsequently offered to major repositories including the National Library of Scotland. Having been placed online a decade ago by NLS along with the sales editions of the English 6-inch, they can be found quite easily by using the 'filter by date' facility of the NLS's 'Map Finder' tool. 

IMAGE DETAIL ABOVE RIGHT: 1930 depictions of the Hillsea Ordnance Depot, Military edition on left, sales edition on right. Only the name of the depot was suppressed from the sales edition. The military edition is based on the previous (1907) general revision - note the pre-Grouping railway names. The railway connection had always been a key aspect of the depot, but the WD surveyor clearly regarded railway detail as lying outside his responsibilities. [Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland]    

Zoom meeting #15, 8 March 2022. 'Terrain Cartography'

  • Presenters: David Watt (CCS) and Paul Naylor (BCS and OS)
  • Format: An online talk jointly by The Charles Close Society and The British Cartographics Society
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 24m

This was a joint talk with BCS, entitled Terrain Cartography, with CCS member Dave Watt and Paul Naylor from BCS & OS. The two excellent speakers discussed the mapping of terrain and how the visualisation and techniques used to depict it have changed over time. There followed a Q&A session after the two speakers’ talks.    

Zoom meeting #14, 22 November 2021. 'Milemarkers, sign boards & boundary posts and OS maps'

  • Presenter: Dr. Richard Oliver
  • Format: A talk by Richard, followed by a Q&A session
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 41m

This talk covered mile stones and posts, boundary stones and posts, and ‘guide posts’ – the OS term for what most of us call ‘signposts’. Milemarkers in particular have been subject to varying styles of depiction, but up to 1960 on the larger scales included an indication of all or some of the text. This is of particular interest where the milemarker is no longer extant: mile posts were cast-iron, and many seem to have been lost in the ‘scrap drive’ during World War II. This can also create puzzles, such as mile-distances shown in eighths of a mile, rather than round miles. Using OS and other maps, Richard showed how the text of apparently ‘lost’ milemarkers might be reconstructed, and how distances on maps in furlongs can be explained. He also showed that there are pitfalls, including ‘milestones’ that weren’t orthodox, and railway and canal distance markers. He described an illustrated some boundary markers, showing there to be four basic types; those on open moorland are very different from those along fenced roads showing maintenance responsibilities. The final section of the talk discussed ‘guide posts’: are 19th century OS maps reliable indicators of their distribution? Were they much less common at rural road junctions than they are today? Examples were shown that were believed to antedate the first large-scale OS survey of their sites, but which didn’t apparently appear on the published maps: or did they?!    

Zoom meeting #13, 8 November 2021. 'Publication of the 25" by parishes: was Scotland treated differently'

  • Chairperson: Dr. Rob Wheeler
  • Format: A talk by Rob, followed by a Q&A session
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 24m

The manner in which the 1:2500 survey first appeared is often perceived as incomplete, a consequence of the gradual progress of the survey. Rob argues that on the contrary it aimed at a different type of map a Parish Map that consisted of all the sheets of a parish mounted together, for whose users whatever lay across the parish boundary was thought to be of no interest. This concept was badly flawed. The decision to abandon it seems to have been made in 1871-2 and was acted on in Scotland rather more eagerly than in England.    

Zoom meeting #12, 7 June 2021. 'Swiss 1:50,000 Topo Mapping'

  • Chairperson: Gavin Johns
  • Assisted & encouraged by: Bill Batchelor, Richard Oliver, Dave Watt and Gerry Zierler
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 41m

Gavin Johns presented a session on the history and beauty of Swiss Topo maps. Part historical overview and part 'show and tell' we looked at some of the world’s best mapping .... examining - briefly - their historic development, the National Map series and some of the distinctive features encountered across Swiss terrain from linguistic borders to glaciers and landslides. Specifically the 1:50,000 scale maps, the presentation is more of an appreciation of the styles and techniques in producing these beautiful maps rather than a definative history.    

Zoom meeting #11, 19 April 2021. 'Aviation Maps'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • 47 members attended
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 47m (the introductions are missing, so its straight into the detail)

This was a Show & Tell meeting hosted by Ian Byrne with a Q&A afterwards.    

Zoom meeting #10, 22 March 2021. 'The OS Half-Inch Map'

  • Chairperson: Richard Oliver
  • 60+ members attended
  • Read the report of the meeting here

This lecture by Richard Oliver with a Q&A afterwards was an introduction to the Ordnance Survey half-inch map series, which several CCS members have been working on since even before CCS was formed! In Britain the series was introduced in 1902-3 in response to pressure from the army, and for the next 20 years they regarded it as the primary topographic map of the country. It went through several rethinks and redesigns, and arguably never achieved a ‘definitive’ form. In 1922 the army decided they liked the one-inch instead, and the half-inch had to survive or fall as a civil map. Efforts after 1930 at restyling and redrawing were frustrated first by the war and then by a lack of money, and the series came effectively to an end in Britain in the 1960s. In Ireland it had a different career: in the Republic it came to be the standard map of the country by the 1950s, and lasted, with some interesting changes of detail, until replaced by the 1:50,000 in the 1990s.    

Zoom meeting #9, 22 February 2021. 'Railway Line Plans & their use of OS Material'

  • Chairperson: Gavin Johns
  • 70+ members attended
  • View the recording here, streaming length: 1hr 32m

The meeting was attended by over 70 Members (with some banging on the door to get in!), a hugely popular subject with very interesting content and discussion. The presentation looked at examples of an under used resource railway line/property plans and in particular the use made of OS materials in their preparation. Their use was particularly prevalent after 1923 when many Companies were merged and up to date plans were required.. We looked in detail at the GWR which used 1/2500 material, updated it and presented it on plans in a distinctive format. The railways looked at were Devon's Teign Valley; the Cambrian lines in Mid-Wales and the Corris Railway in Wales. The image to the right is copyrighted to Gavin Johns and is not for reproduction.    

Zoom meeting #8, 8 December 2020. 'Uncle Max Gill and his use of OS maps'

  • Chairperson: Caroline Walker
  • 55 members attended
  • Read the report of the meeting here

Caroline gave us a talk entitled 'Uncle Max Gill and his use of OS maps', with time for Q&As. Gerry Zierler also added to the public transport aspect of Caroline’s talk with examples of use of OS mapping by London’s transport operators in the C20th. Caroline's biography of her great-uncle MacDonald Gill: Charting a Life was published this year, and is available to Charles Close Society members at the special price of £20 (reduced from £30) + UK £3.50 p&p. To buy, go to the publisher's website and use the Promo Code: CCS. The offer runs until 31st December.    

Zoom meeting #7, 25 November 2020. 'QUARTER INCH MAPS of the OS'

  • Chairperson: Richard Oliver
  • 52 members attended
  • Read a summary of the meeting here

This talk illustrated some of the maps that will be covered in the forthcoming CCS monograph by Roger Hellyer and Richard Oliver on the Ordnance Survey’s ‘smaller-scale’ maps: mainly the half-inch and quarter-inch families. The talk was given by Richard, with interjections from the viewers. It included the story of how first the ‘true’ quarter-inch (1:253,440) and then the ‘rational’ version (1:250,000) developed in Britain.    

Zoom meeting #6, 11 November 2020. 'ERRORS & OMISSIONS'

  • Chairperson: Dave Watt
  • Presenters: Bernard Anderson, Mike Brereton, Ian Byrne, John Davies, Richard Evans, David Fairbairn, Chris Higley, Ken Hollamby, John Telfer, David L Walker, Dave Watt, Rob Wheeler and Richard & Anne Wilson
  • 39 members attended
  • Read the full report of the meeting here

This was chaired by Dave Watt which gained nearly 40 attendees. It was a very interesting, quite humorous evening of concise and precise talks (mostly) with useful observations, corrections to knowledge and information exchange. A fine example shown (see right) was the London Underground diagram that omitted the River Thames, only for the now Prime Minister then Mayor of London to return from holiday and demand its reinstatement. 

Zoom Meeting #5, 27 October 2020. 'LAKES & RESERVOIRS'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • Presenters: John Davies, Ken Hollamby, Michael Richardson, Rob Wheeler, John Harmer, Ian Byrne and Gerry Zierler
  • Around 50 members attended
  • Read the full report of the meeting here

The fifth CCS Zoom meeting continued the watery theme with discussions and examples around "Lakes & Reservoirs". We had lots of attendees for this one, with lots of content to go through. In a fine example (see right) we saw how a reservoir close to the North Circular Road was depicted, with the Soviet map on the left showing it as open water, but in reality it is completely covered, as shown on the OS extract on the right. Tank commanders planning on turning off the road might also be confused by the fact that neither the slip roads at the intersection nor the accommodation road to its North are marked! 

Zoom Meeting #4, 18 August 2020. 'CANALS & RIVERS'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • Presenters: Ian Byrne, Chris Dean, Jeremy Harrison, John King, Michiel Rademakers & Gerry Zierler
  • 32 members attended
  • View recording, streaming length: 1hr 48m

The fourth CCS evening Zoom meeting (part of the now snappily called the 'Indoor Leisure' series!) took as its theme "Canals & Rivers". Again hosted by Ian Byrne, we gained a new record of 32 Members to the meeting, with 6 main presenters showing a broad range of maps and charts of various ages, styles and purposes. Please take a look at the recording from the link above. 

Zoom Meeting #3, 21 July 2020. 'TRANSPORT INTERCHANGES'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • Presenters: Ian Byrne, John Davies, John Harmer, John King, Michiel Rademakers, Dave Watt & Gerry Zierler
  • 22 members attended
  • View recording, streaming length: 1hr 17m

The third CCS Tuesday evening Zoom meeting took as its theme "Transport Interchanges", although it's not surprising that railways gained more coverage than other forms of transport. For rail, we were taken on a virtual tour along some lines converted to cycle routes (and one cycle route that had a quite different origin), stopping off at stations in Polegate and - on a waistcoat - Newcastle. At a more urban level, we were shown what may be Britain's very first tramway map in South London, as well as looking at the varying ways that London Underground interchanges were shown before Beck reigned supreme. Still in the capital, we also saw how the growth of London Airport in the 50s and 60s required regular updates of even the cheapest of maps. And finally we were whisked across the Atlantic to look at all the rail termini on the West Bank of the Hudson Rover, disgorging their passengers onto ferries to reach New York. 

Zoom Meeting #2, 16 June 2020. 'A BRITISH ISLAND'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • Presenters: Ian Byrne, John Davies, Tim Johnson, John King & Gerry Zierler

This second meeting was another great opportunity to interact with other members, either as a active participant (showing and talking about one of your maps), or as a passive observer. The numbers are limited for practical reasons and preference will be given to those who have not previously taken part in such a session. 

Zoom Meeting #1, 19 May 2020. 'MAPS LOCAL TO MEMBERS'

  • Chairperson: Ian Byrne
  • Presenters: Ian Byrne, Graham Collett, John Davies, David Fairbairn, Jim Good, Paul Hardy & Gerry Zierler
  • 9 members attended

Nine members joined in the first Zoom meeting to show and talk about maps of their local area. Most participants were already familiar with Zoom, being used for family and business purposes, and the meeting proceeded smoothly and was judged a success. Onto the next one....