A while ago my colleague Nicky described some of the excellent online sources of maps (“Describing the world with Gerardus Mercator”). I wouldn’t be without some of these electronic sources, but there is still a place for maps on paper, and here at Marylebone Information Service we’ve got a rather impressive collection.
Where to begin? Well, we have a complete collection of Ordnance Survey maps at 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scales (the pink and orange ones, respectively, if you go by cover colour). If these are not the best maps in the world for leisure users I would like to see the better ones – they must be awesome! Footpaths and cycleways are clearly marked, with places of interest, viewpoints and a wealth of other details. We also have very large-scale maps of Westminster, but these are more useful for planning applications than for outdoor activities.
These Ordnance Survey (OS) maps are continually updated, but often people want to know what an area looked like before this housing estate was built or before that road was constructed. That’s where our collection of reprinted historical maps comes in. Cassini have reproduced OS maps of England and Wales from the 1920s, enlarged from the old “1 inch to 1 mile” scale to match the current 1:50,000 maps. And for London, we also have these maps from the 1800s, the 1890s and the 1940s. So you can follow the site of Auntie Vera’s house from being fields at the beginning of the 19th Century, a model village later in the century, a suburb in the 20s and 40s, right through to its current status as a service area on the M25!
- Cycle maps – London ones to give away and others for reference.
- Bus maps – we’ve got London covered.
- Want a walk from Marylebone? We’ve got a lovely, clear map to give you.
- Railways – past and present.
- Rivers and canals – maps for boaters and maps for historians.
And then we get to our rather large collections of atlases and guide books… but that’s another post.