Early Maps and Mapmakers - Part 2

Reported by Bill Mitchell

Dr Ian Saunders, of Lancaster University, addressing the North Craven Heritage Trust at Austwick on Maps and Mapmaking in North West England, was paying a second visit. He concentrated on maps produced after 1700, having only got that far during his first visit! The audience admired the adroit way in which he projected on the screen photographic copies of some of a vast number of maps in his collection and by his frequent references to Clapham and Austwick.

Dr Saunders referred to the many people who are involved in making a map, among them being the financier, surveyor, compiler and designer, engraver, printer, colourist and publisher. Even one person undertaking the entire operation might combine roles in any way. Some initial attention was given to atlas publications in sixteenth century Yorkshire by Ortelius, Mercator and Saxton. The survey by Saxton was in continuing use from Speed in 1611 (first to map the Yorkshire Ridings separately) to Morden in 1695, and to road maps by Ogilby in 1675 and his successors, among them Paterson.

The eighteenth century saw new development of Yorkshire cartography. As current ways of mapping were being established, there were gradual improvements in accuracy and refinement of detail. This was illustrated through maps by Bowen (1762), Jeffreys (1772) and Cary (1787 onwards). Next to be screened were fine maps produced after 1800. These included those by the Greenwoods (1818 and 1834) and the “Weekly Dispatch” maps by Edward Weller (1865), still being used as a basis by Bacon in 1925. Eventually, the Ordnance Survey arrived to set the modern standard.

The talk concluded with an examination of mapping, “oddities”, the eccentric “maps” of such people as Bickham, Drayton and Perrot, and specialised maps for children, politics and geology being mentioned. Throughout, the fascination, pleasures and difficulties of cartographic research and map collecting were explored.

Dr M J Slater voiced thanks.