London 1939

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In our blog this week we’re looking again at a publication from the collection of old maps which we hold at PCGraphics. This time we’re off to London and it’s 1939, mostly looking at the areas of north and east London. These are taken from an Atlas of London (the London Pocket Atlas and Guide), produced by John Bartholomew & Son Ltd in 1939. It’s similar in format to the Ward Lock Red Guides which we’ve shown previously on here (indeed it also looks very similar to those books in that it is approximately the same size and also has a red cover). This Bartholomew guide, however, has many more maps (perhaps that’s to be expected, as Bartholomew are a mapping company) and less descriptive text than the Ward Lock offerings and no adverts.

There is still some interesting things to read within the covers and the scans below are an example, particularly the derivation of some London place names.

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A testament to the most popular form of long distance transport at this time is show in the extract below, where there is a listing of shipping companies plus the main docks within London. Contrast this with the much shorter list of civil aerodromes and it is clear that most people travelled by sea.

Heathrow is listed but, at this time, it was only a minor airfield, being upgraded to a larger military airport around 1944. Obviously, when the war ended a year later, it changed to become a civil airport and grew to be what it is today – the busiest international passenger airport in the World.

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Next we move on to some of the maps from the guide book. Firstly, the areas around Rotherhithe, Poplar and Greenwich, much of which has been rebuilt lately.

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Now, a look slightly further east to Woolwich and Plumstead, which, again, has undergone a lot of building work since 1939.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

Moving north to Tottenham, Walthamstow and Leytonstone, things haven’t changed quite so much.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

Below is the area from Highgate up to Wood Green, as it was in 1939.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

North west London now, around Hendon, Neasden and Golders Green. If you looked at a modern map of this area today you’d notice that a lot of the open areas of land in 1939 have disappeared.

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

And, finally, ending with a scan from some of the text, this one informing us of some of the Museums and Art Galleries we could visit along with other places of interest.

It’s quite interesting to look at some of the entries, for example:

•  Bethnal Green Museum – this is now the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood.
•  The Diploma Galleries are now part of the Royal Academy.
•  Home Office Industrial Museum – heaven knows what this was! Can’t find any records of it.
•  Apothecaries’ Hall – The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries (you may need to refer to Wikipedia for this one).

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(Click on any of the images to see an enlargement)

That’s about it for London in 1939. More to come in the future as we make our way through a filing cabinet full of old maps!

 

Remember, if you need up to date, custom drawn maps, visit our website.

 

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