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

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

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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London in maps around 1908

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This is part of an ongoing series on our blog looking back at old maps in our library. We have hundreds of old maps which we’ve collected over the years and which have helped us compile today’s new custom designed, copyright free maps.

Bacon’s Large-Print Map of London and the Suburbs was published around 1908. The map isn’t dated (some publishers still don’t put publication dates on their maps as people don’t want to buy ‘last year’s’ map) but, looking at some of the detail on the map, it’s possible to come up with a pretty good idea of the date.

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In 1908, London hosted a Franco-British Exhibition which attracted 8 million visitors and celebrated the Entente Cordiale signed in 1904 by the United Kingdom and France. The Franco-British Exhibition was held near Shepherd’s Bush in West London, an area now called White City. Looking at the old map below you can see the exhibition site is marked, from which the map can be dated.

Below this we show the same area as it is today and it’s interesting to see how the area to the west of London has built up over the past 106 years.

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(New map: Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2014)

The publisher of the map, George Bacon, was actually originally from New York State but moved to Britain in 1861 after which he set up numerous companies – everything from sewing machines to maps. Most of these ventures failed but the cartographic publishing company continued until it was later taken over by another firm. George Bacon operated from 127 Strand, in London.

This particular map of London was drawn at a scale of 2.5 inches to the mile. The two images below show the area to the north of the River Thames, very much as it still is today.

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The extract below is of south west London, from Barnes out to Brentford. At the time of this map, Brentford was a separate town, not part of the urban sprawl of London.

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Next, are the Chelsea, Battersea and Wandsworth areas of London. If you know this area you’ll realise that, apart from a couple of new main roads, you could navigate pretty well by this 106 year old map today.

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The same can be said of the extract below, from Victoria in the north to Clapham Common in the south. The road layout is still almost the same today as it was in 1908.

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Docklands in the east end of London has obviously changed dramatically, but go south of the river to Greenwich and beyond and things aren’t quite so different as they were a century ago. Which does all go to show why these old maps have been so useful to us in the past as the basis for our royalty free maps. In many areas, about 90% of the road network hasn’t changed at all which means, when you’re producing a new map which is copyright or royalty free, you only have to find and identify 10% of the roads which obviously saves a lot of time and money.

Apart from this George Bacon map of London, we have literally hundreds of other old maps which are out of copyright. The copyright on an Ordnance Survey map, and many other maps too, lasts for 50 years after which you are free to use them as sources etc without paying O.S. for the privilege. John Bartholomew and Son maps are slightly different, only because they attempted to change the copyright of their maps to 75 years about 10 years ago.

Previously in this series covering old maps we’ve looked at Ward Lock Red Guide Books to Bath  and Harrogate. More to come in the future.

 

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