Historic maps now online for every town in England and Wales

Detailed maps that offer a fascinating glimpse into how every area of England and Wales developed from Victorian times to the 1950s are now available free online.

The series of Ordnance Survey maps shows how towns and cities have spread into the countryside and how the road and rail network developed.  Individual buildings and streets can be identified clearly and smaller features can be seen including post boxes, bollards on quaysides and mile posts. The maps can be viewed over time for each place of interest.

They are available on the website of the National Library of Scotland (NLS) as a result of an extensive programme that has digitised historic maps across the UK.

Chris Fleet, Senior Map Curator at NLS said: “These new maps cover all of England and Wales and are immensely valuable for local and family history. People can search for the street their grandparents lived in or see how 19th century farmland has turned into today’s suburbs.” 

The six-inch to a mile maps show all place names recorded by Ordnance Survey, including all street names in towns, and all smaller farms, hamlets and villages. The website allows viewers to zoom on the maps to pick out the detail they are interested in.

The maps were surveyed for the whole country twice - first between 1842-1893 and then between 1891-1914. They were subsequently updated regularly for urban or rapidly changing areas from 1914 to the 1940s. The result is that, for many towns there are three to five editions of mapping between the 1840s and the 1950s.

They can be searched in a number of different ways, by place names, street names, post codes and grid references. They are also available via county lists.

The website address is http://maps.nls.uk/os/6inch-england-and-wales/

"The feedback we get is that people find looking at these maps to be a fascinating and educational experience," said Chris. "They can see how an area they either live in or know has changed over time and how it has become the place it is today."

 For further information, contact:

Bryan Christie, Media and External Relations                                     

0131 623 3738

07904 791002


19 March 2014

Speak me