Down the street - town plans of 19th-century Scotland

Town plans don't come much more detailed than those just added to the National Library of Scotland's website. Over 1,900 Ordnance Survey plans created between 1847 and 1895, covering 62 of the larger populated Scottish towns and cities, are now a valuable part of an essential collection of online maps which, at more than 3,000 images, is one of the largest in the UK.

Using double the scale usually used today, the plans reveal engrossing facts about 19th-century urban Scotland - from the layout of gardens, drying greens and some public buildings to the locations of trees, water taps and manholes. Industrial premises are particularly well represented, in some cases even showing weighing machines, boilers and chimneys, for instance.

  Detail of Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, surveyed 1892-1894

Our site's zoom-and-pan facility means that the digitised plans can be explored in close-up - making the new web feature of interest to the general viewer and historical researcher alike. Background information is available for each town, and guides to symbols and abbreviations used by the map-makers have been provided. High-quality printouts and digital images of the maps can be bought from the Map Library. To view our fascinating OS town plans, go to:

30 July 2003

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