Thursday, August 30, 2007

Maps Ancient and Modern

Ever since we took ownership of the Hovel-in-the-Hills™ we have been looking for decent scale maps of the local area.

The "Istituto Geografico Militare" promised 1:25,000 (4 cm to 1 km or 2½ inches to 1 mile) but when we investigated they turned out to be discontinued. So instead we went for the 1:50,000. We are near an edge and so ordered two; one arrived and the other was out of print. And the level of detail is nothing like as clear as the Ordnance Survey maps. Pretty useless but we framed it and put it on the wall anyway.

Conversely the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 series are readily available in all good bookshops, specialist leisure shops and online from their website. In fact the OS go all the way to 1:1250 for business purposes and also do historical maps. For Wandsworth they even do an 1866 map at a quite extraordinary 1:1,056, that is 5 feet to the statute mile! Which I bought.

You can see every outbuilding, drinking fountain, fence and field boundary, even the garden paths are marked in the bigger houses. Our house is there - both the original building and the later rear extension. So we now know that extension is at least 1866 and the main house, obviously, older than that.

Now all I need to do is get back down to the library and that 1851 survey to get a positive fix on our property. Easier to do now I can match the census house numbers to the buildings on the map.

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