Book brings Scottish history to light through maps

Cover of 'Scotland: Mapping the nation'

Maps revealing Scotland's history and changing aspects of Scottish life have been brought together in a fascinating new book.

'Scotland: Mapping the nation' shows how maps can explain aspects of the story of Scotland as a nation, from the Roman era to the satellite age.

It is the first book to take Scotland's maps and mapping seriously as a form of history.

More than 220 maps, mostly from the National Library of Scotland's map collections, were chosen to illustrate, for example:

  • Scotland occupied and defended
  • Towns and urban life
  • Popular culture
  • Travel and communication
  • How science has left its mark.

Among the historic and unusual maps included in the volume are: 

  • The extensive tram network in Glasgow in the last century (1908)
  • A Soviet map of Greenock pinpointing factories and military targets (1979)
  • Specially designed maps for blind people (1851 and 1978)
  • Temperance maps showing the location of public houses (1884)
  • The first road maps, from the 17th century.

Authors Chris Fleet, Margaret Wilkes and Charles W J Withers have aimed the book at anyone interested in Scottish history. Historian T C Smout describes it as 'a real eye-opener' and 'utterly absorbing':

'… when you have read it you will never think of maps, or perhaps of Scotland, in the same way again'.

'Scotland: Mapping the nation' will be published by Birlinn on 3 October, in association with the National Library of Scotland, priced £30.

Read more in our 'Scotland: Mapping the nation' press release and in issue 19 of 'Cairt' (PDF: 952K; 8 pages), the newsletter of the Scottish Maps Forum.

22 September 2011

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