Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Edinburgh

if youve landed here

 

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

 

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Glasgow

if youve landed here

 

This is the third in our series of glimpses into the Red Guide Books produced by Ward-Lock. This particular title, Glasgow, was published around 1939-40. The books don’t tend to be dated anywhere obvious i.e. not on the cover or the publisher’s credits page as might be usual. Sometimes they require a little bit of searching to find the publication date and, in this edition, it can be found at the foot of one of the pages of adverts. Occasionally the maps within the Guide Book are dated and this can also give a clue as to the date of publication.

glasgow-cover

(Above, Ward-Lock Glasgow front cover)

(Below, Ward-Lock Glasgow introduction page)

glasgow-introduction

(Click on any of the images to enlarge)

The Introduction to Glasgow page (above) is quite interesting. In the first line we’re told that the population, in 1939, is ‘well over a million’. I think most of us would expect that figure to have increased, perhaps substantially, over the last 75 years but the official figure is now around 625,000. Some of this can be put down to boundary changes but Wikipedia also gives the following explanation:

Glasgow’s population peaked in 1931 at 1,088,000, and for over 40 years remained over 1 million. However, in the 1960s the population started to decline, partly due to relocation to the “new towns” in clearings of the poverty-stricken inner city areas like the Gorbals.

For those who don’t know Glasgow, the Gorbals was a notorious slum area on the south side of the River Clyde with a high population density, many living in tenement buildings. The Gorbals was often referred to as the most dangerous place in the UK in the 1930s.

glasgow-map

 

Mapping in the Glasgow Guide Book, as in previous books, was provided by John Bartholomew and Son, the Edinburgh based cartographic company. The name of Bartholomew is still around in the mapping world today, albeit only as part of Harper Collins – the name Collins Bartholomew is given to Harper Collins cartographic datasets. The map extract, above, shows an area around Kelvingrove in Glasgow.

Adverts from these Guide Books are always entertaining and the one below is no different. Take a look at the Salvation Army advert on the right hand page, below. Who could resist the plea to send a gift to ‘Slum mothers and Children’ so that they may go on a ‘Slum Holiday’?

glasgow-advert2

The advert for the National Provincial Bank (later to become the National Westminster and then NatWest), below right, attempts to paint the bank in a somewhat different light to how we perhaps perceive banks today.

“Not the least of the attractions of the city of London, are the half-hidden by-ways and alleys, so rich in historic association. The ancient rights of way, thus jealously guarded against the encroachments of the master-builder, are a permanent witness to the great traditions of the city. Amongst the institutions proud to share in such a heritage is the National Provincial Bank.”

glasgow-advert1

 

All the Ward-Lock Red Guides used photographs as well as maps to illustrate the publication. The photos were black & white and usually of well known landmarks or scenic views. The picture below shows George Square in Glasgow from the 1939 Guide.

 

glasgow-georgesquare

 

So far we’ve covered Harrogate, Bath and now Glasgow with our look back at the Ward-Lock Guide Books. More of these come in the future.

 

somehow_the_same

 

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

 

Ward-Lock Red Guide Books – Bath

if youve landed here

 

This is the second in an occasional series highlighting the Ward-Lock Red Guide Books, which we used at PCGraphics until a few years ago as copyright free bases for UK map information. The books have a wealth of information and give an interesting insight into life getting on for 70 years ago in the UK.

Published in 1950, this particular Guide covers Bath, Cheddar, Wells, Glastonbury and the surrounding towns.

bath_cover

bath_map  map_os

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

The main map of Bath in the Guide (above, left) was a reprint of a John Bartholomew & Son map of the city. Above, right is approximately the same area today, taken from Ordnance Survey digital sources. You can see that the basic layout of the roads (plus the road names etc) are pretty much the same as they were 70 years ago, which is why these old maps have been an invaluable source for us to produce out of copyright maps from. We’ve illustrated this below by merging the 1950s map with the up to date Ordnance Survey map.

map_os_merge

Similar to the Harrogate Guide Book which we covered previously, this Bath Guide also contains some, in comparison to today’s Guide Books, unusual advertisements. Take the one below, for instance. How many times do you see an advert for a light bulb in a Thomas Cook, Lonely Planet or Rough Guides tourist book? Pretty much never I’d guess. Well, 70 years ago, apparently this was pretty normal as Osram, the light bulb manufacturer, used to take a high profile advert on the back page in many of the Red Guides. Obviously, when you are away on holiday, one of the things you always needed to think about was light bulbs.

bath_ad1

And then there’s the radioactive hot springs after which Bath was named. The level of radioactivity is, very probably, harmless but back in 1950 it was thought to be a positive selling point for the springs and had it’s own section in the Guide Book. It did give me cause however to look up the radioactive element radium on Wikipedia and it states:

Radium was once an additive in products such as toothpaste, hair creams, and even food items due to its supposed curative powers. Such products soon fell out of vogue and were prohibited by authorities in many countries after it was discovered they could have serious adverse health effects.

The French physicist Antoine Becquerel carried a small ampoule of radium in his waistcoat pocket for 6 hours and reported that his skin became ulcerated. Marie Curie experimented with a tiny sample that she kept in contact with her skin for 10 hours, and noted that an ulcer appeared several days later. Handling of radium has been blamed for Curie’s death due to aplastic anaemia.

Perhaps we’ll give the radioactive hot springs a miss next time we’re in Bath. Just in case.

bath_water

 

But, luckily, if the radium in the springs does, unfortunately, have an effect on you, you’ll be pleased to find that there are at least six adverts for Insurance companies in the Bath Red Guide. Mind you, by that time it might be too late to be calling an insurance company.

 

bath-insurance

 

Below is an extract from the road map included in the Guide, again produced by John Bartholomew & Son and used under licence. Not as user friendly as road maps produced these days, being only in black and white with a blue tint in areas of water. But then, motoring was probably a lot different too in 1950.

bath-road-map

 

We’ll be continuing this series in the future with other Ward-Lock Red Guide Books from our library.

If you are interested in old maps of the UK, you may like to know that we are gradually selling off our collection of Ordnance Survey One Inch maps. We have collected almost a complete set of these over the years, all of them over 50 years old, and are selling these individually on eBay as time permits. The maps are in varying condition depending on how much usage they have had over the years. Most of these historic maps sell for around £10 – £15. If you would like to enquire about a particular map or to purchase one, please contact us.

 

somehow_the_same

 

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

 

 

Ward-Lock Red Guide Books

if youve landed here

 

Harrogate

Over the years at PCGraphics, we have collected more than 20 of these Red Guide books produced by Ward-Lock covering various tourist resorts and areas of interest around the UK.

They all contain maps and information regarding the area and were produced by Ward-Lock between about 1900 and 1960.

These were mainly used by us as the basis for royalty or copyright free mapping in the UK. We also have a complete set of 1:50,000 (or 1 inch maps as they were called then) covering England, Scotland and Wales along with some from Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Apart from their use as a basis for current day maps, the Guide Books also give a fascinating insight into how the UK was in times gone by, not only from the text, old maps and photos, but also from some of the adverts.

We’ve scanned below a few of the pages from the Harrogate Guide Book and a selection of short transcriptions of some of the text. The Harrogate Guide is undated but, from reading the text, it would appear to have been published in the early 1940s i.e. possibly during the Second World War.

Attached to one of the first pages in the Guide is a small insert of paper stating
“The Publishers regret that owing to War-time difficulties, it is not at present possible to include the customary complete set of maps and plans in this Guide.”

harrogate_cover

 

harrogate_ad4

Above is an extract from the George Philip and Son map which was included in the Guide. No motorways, obviously, in those days.

harrogate_ad5

There are some parts of the text in the Guide which would, perhaps, be frowned upon today. Take, for instance, the extract above which states that ‘Many people are under the impression that because Harrogate is a Spa it is overrun with invalids in bath chairs or on crutches and that a general air of resignation pervades the place…’. I’m not sure that would appear in a Guide Book these days.

Some of the adverts are quite interesting too. An advert for Table Salt is possibly not what you’d expect in a Guide Book you bought today.

harrogate_ad1

harrogate_ad2

The advert above was for Dr. J. Collis Brownes Chlorodyne. Apparently it cured everything from influenza, asthma and bronchitis to coughs and catarrh as well as ‘Acting like a charm’ in diarrhoea, stomach, chills and other bowel complaints. Chlorodyne was also used as a cure for insomnia. On looking up Chlorodyne on Wikipedia, it appears the principal ingredients were a mixture of laudanum (a form of opium), cannabis, and chloroform. Not surprising then that it helped with sleep problems.

harrogate_ad6

Harrogate was, at the time of the Guide Book, famous for its spa waters and, apparently, there were 88 wells within two miles of the town. One of the ‘benefits’ of taking the waters was that the Barium Chloride present in the water ‘has a great effect in raising the arterial blood pressure’. Funny how the perception of what’s good for you has changed over the past 70 years or so. I can’t see the local Tourism Department using ‘Come to Harrogate for higher blood pressure’ as a marketing slogan anytime in the near future.

All the Guides also ran adverts at the back of the books for Hotels etc in other areas of the country. The St. Ives Bay Hotel in Cornwall were keen to point out in their advert that they had hot and cold running water in all bedrooms. They also make a special mention of ‘Electric Lights’. As they say in the advert, an ‘Up-to date Hotel of Comfort and Charm’.

harrogate_ad7

 

For more information on Ward-Lock Red Guides try these websites:
http://www.wardlockredguides.co.uk/page/aboutRG.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_Lock_travel_guides

Ward-Lock Red Guides can occasionally be found for sale on Ebay and Amazon.

 

somehow_the_same

If you’ve landed on this page and wish to go to the first page of the blog, click here

 

harrogate_ad2

harrogate_ad3

harrogate_ad2