Birmingham – as it was 60 years ago

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Birmingham, the UK’s 2nd city with a population of around 1.1 million, has changed enormously over the years. The maps here date from approximately 60 years ago, which was around the time that a major redevelopment of Birmingham was planned to start.

From our library of old maps at PCGraphics, we’ve scanned some extracts from Geographia’s map of Birmingham and, as a comparison, the same area as shown on Google Maps today.

birmingham cover

You can click on any of the maps to view a larger version of the image.

First we’ll look at the area around Bournville, built by Cadbury in 1879 as a model town to house workers from their chocolate factory.

birmingham 4
birmingham 4 google
(Top: extract from 60 year old Geographia map of Birmingham. Below: Google map of the same area today. © Google 2015)

Next, an area covering Aston Park (next to Aston Villa Football Club) across to Gravelly Hill (now a major motorway junction, nicknamed spaghetti junction).

birmingham 1

The next four images form four quadrants around the central area of Birmingham.

The north west, Snow Hill station to Hockley.

birmingham 3.1

Going eastwards to Saltley.

birmingham 3.2

South west quadrant, New Street station to Ladywood.

birmingham 3.3

The south east, Moor Street to Bordesley and Small Heath (Small Heath being the original name for Birmingham City Football Club).

birmingham 3.4

This Geographia map of Birmingham is just one of many old maps we hold at PCGraphics. We originally acquired full coverage of the UK in 50 year old, royalty free mapping to give us a base to work from when creating copyright free maps.

You can find out more about how we create our maps at PCGraphics by following this link to our website.

There are also other pages of old maps here on this blog:

More old maps
London 1939
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh
Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

If you pop over to our Pinterest boards, along with loads of samples of up to date maps produced by PCGraphics, there’s also a whole board dedicated to old mapping.

More old maps…

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We’ve taken our lives in our hands once again, ventured into the dusty corner of the office and raided the filing cabinet to bring you some more scans of old UK maps, this time it’s from a book called ‘The Popular Road Book of Great Britain’.

The Popular Road Book is undated but, judging by some of the information on the maps, it must have been published just before the Second World War, so the late 1930s is our best guess (apparently, it was after the war that the Western Avenue in west London was changed from the A403 to the A40; the London map shown here has the Western Avenue as the A403, hence our rough guess for the map being mid to late 1930s).

The original book is quite battered and brown/grey now (after about 80 years it’s not surprising) but we’ve cleaned these scans up a bit in Photoshop so they look somewhat better.

If you look back through this blog you’ll find lots of other old maps and guide books which we’ve put online from time to time.

We originally purchased our library of old maps to help us create royalty free UK mapping. Going back a few years, Ordnance Survey was very restrictive, and expensive, to base any new mapping upon, so we were forced to go to great lengths (buying maps more than 50 years old plus street checking every town and city and, more latterly, using GPS to plot motorway alignments around the country) to make new maps.

Since April 2010 however, a lot of the restrictions have been lifted and it’s easier and cheaper to use Ordnance Survey data as the basis for any new UK maps.

The maps shown here are Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry,
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester,
Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth,
Sheffield, Southampton and Stoke.

Click on any of the maps to enlarge them.

Birmingham BradfordBristolCardiff Coventry EdinburghGlasgowHullLeedsLeicesterLiverpoollondonManchesterNewcastleNottinghamplymouthPortsmouthSheffieldSouthamptonStoke

Remember, you can find out about all our NEW maps on our website.

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PCGraphics on other social media:

PCGraphics website – customised digital mapping
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Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh

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Following on from our look at vintage Glasgow, Bath and Harrogate guide books, here we take a trip back to Edinburgh in 1952, courtesy of Ward-Lock’s Red Guide.

edinburgh_front_cover

Maps are an important part of any guide book but there were only three maps in the Red Guide to Edinburgh, which is quite surprising by today’s standards, especially considering that the Guide Book is getting on for 200 pages long.

The first map was an overview map of the area surrounding Edinburgh. Then, further into the Guide, came the map of central Edinburgh (an extract of which we’ve shown below) and, near the end, a map of the Portobello region.

One of our own maps of Edinburgh is shown here for comparison.

edinburgh_map

(Extract from the 1952 map of Edinburgh included in the Ward Lock Guide Book)

Edinburgh_Town_Plan

(Our own map of Edinburgh produced a few years ago for Thomson Local Directories)

Although the maps are interesting – and pretty essential in any guide book both in 1952 and today – the adverts in the Red Guides are also of interest and give a unique insight into the way things were then and how they’ve changed today.

In 1952 the predominant advertisers in the Guide Books were Insurance Companies, not something you’d find in too many Guide Books these days. In fact, there were six individual adverts for insurance, most of them full page advertisements, in the Edinburgh guide. There were also three adverts for Banks – the Westminster Bank, National Provincial Bank and the Standard Bank of South Africa.

edinburgh_advert_4  edinburgh_advert_3edinburgh_advert_2

The text in the Guide Book can be quite amusing too. Does anyone in the UK remember when shops used to close for a half day once a week? How about fishmongers closing on Monday afternoons; drapers and jewellers on Tuesdays; bakers, butchers, grocers, chemists, hairdressers and stationers on Wednesdays; plus most of the shops on Princes Street in Edinburgh on Saturday afternoons? Imagine having to keep track of that lot and arranging your weekly shop around when they were actually open! No wonder supermarkets, opening 24/7, took over.

early_closing

And, just in case you wanted to know how you should visit Edinburgh, we’ve included here the text from a few of the pages – all written in what seems like a rather quaint way, but this was probably standard for the time.

Edinburgh in Half a Day is typical of this:

If one has but half a day to devote to Edinburgh and no private car to speed – or hamper – one, it is possible (with the occasional aid of public conveyances and without overtaxing one’s legs) to ‘do’ most of the major sights, after a fashion; but while the New Town openly displays its charms and its story is such that he who runs may read, it must be borne in mind that the Old Town hides many of its rarest treasures in obscure corners – courts and closes, wynds and vennels – which baffle the hustling globe-trotter and can only be explored on foot.

 

how_to_see_edinburgh in_half_day_2

Some of the places of interest listed for Edinburgh in 1952 included the Public Library, the Register House and the Signet Library (but, please note that use of this library is granted only to applicants who have been ‘suitably recommended’).

places_of_interest

At PCGraphics we have many more of these Ward Lock Guide Books, plus other maps and tourist books, all more than 50 years old and some as old as 100 years. They were originally bought to give us ‘royalty free’ source material for creating town and city plans of the UK. That requirement has now been largely made redundant by the freeing up of Ordnance Survey data but they are still a fascinating insight into times gone by.

(You can click on any of the images above to view them at a larger size)

 

somehow_the_same

 

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Transport Maps

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Buses, trams, trains – most of us use these at one time or another and many of us need maps to help us navigate the various transport systems, especially when the town or city is unfamiliar to us. Transport maps were therefore an important and high profile addition to the range of maps we could offer our clients.

We began producing maps for transport companies back in 2004 when we created our first maps for the Nottingham Tram Consortium. The initial project consisted of a system overview map plus detailed maps of each tram stop with each map showing the surrounding streets etc.

Nottingham_Trams_System   nottingham_system_extract

(Left, the system overview map and right, an enlarged extract showing the level of detail on the map)

In total there were 23 tram maps and these all followed a similar style to the Old Market Square map shown below, and all incorporating local information including pubs, museums, Council Offices, libraries, tourist information centres etc.

Old_Market_Square

tram_photo

(Above, trams at the Old Market Square on the Nottingham Tram network – photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Next we moved on to buses and in 2006 we began work on a large project for Yellow Buses in Bournemouth where we mapped every bus route across the conurbation of Bournemouth, Boscombe, Poole and parts of Christchurch. The network map, below, covers the complete area and shows not only the bus routes but most of the main roads across the whole of the area.

Bournemouth_Network

In addition to this, we also created what were termed Spider Maps, along with schematic maps and route maps for each individual bus route on the system.

The schematic map was a stylised map of all the bus routes – similar in design to the iconic London Underground maps, and a simple way to find your way around Bournemouth by bus, but not, of course, geographically accurate.

Bournemouth_Schematic

(Above, Yellow Buses schematic map)

The Spider Maps took the schematic map and highlighted each of the major bus intersections in a separate map with detail on where to board each individual bus. The map below shows the Boscombe Spider Map.

Spider_Boscombe

(Boscombe Spider Map)

We also created route maps for Yellow Buses where every bus stop on the bus route was shown. The route map below is a good example and is for the number 5 route from Bournemouth Town Centre to Kinson.

route_map

All of the maps above were based on Ordnance Survey material, rather than royalty free, as this was the quickest and easiest method for producing them.

A few years after the Yellow Bus maps we produced a map of the Isle of Wight showing all the Southern Vectis bus routes around the Island. Our client for this project was Island Holiday Media (now trading as Solent) whom we still work with today. This was just one of many maps of the Island which we worked on before moving over here in 2010.

southern_vectis

We’re hoping to be producing more transport maps in the not too distant future, possibly airline route maps – something which we haven’t covered as yet.

(Copyright notice – Some of the maps above contain Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2014)

 

somehow_the_same

 

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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.

london-title

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.

london1

london1-new

(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.

london2 london3

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.

london4

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.

london5

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.

london6

london7

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.

 

somehow_the_same

 

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