Historical Maps: A Brilliant Housewarming Gift Idea

Jul 28, 2016 | 0 comments

I wondered the other day what our area might have looked like around the time our house was built 124 years ago. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be cool if there was a website where I could tap in our postcode and instantly be presented with a high-resolution, colour, zoomable map of what our neighbourhood looked like a century ago. Well bust my buffers if just such a website doesn’t already exist, step forward the totally brilliant National Library of Scotland’s Map Images Website.

The Ordnance Survey has been churning out detailed maps of the UK for exactly 225 years. The National Library of Scotland’s ‘Map images‘ resource allows you to view many of their maps, for any area, from any point in time. Not only that, but you can order top quality prints of just about every map in their archive for an extremely reasonable price.

The 1904 map of our area shows our street surrounded by fields, the occasional coal mine, a workhouse and the local “Lunatic Asylum”, which today, aptly, is a University Hall of Residence.

Map Asylum

For someone moving into a new house, and particularly an old property, a top quality historical map of the local area is a brilliant gift. Just go to the NLS website, plug in the relevant postcode, and pick your map. Prints range from around £5 to £30, and it’s not just OS Maps; they’ve also got Estate Maps, Admiralty Charts, Town Plans, Marine Maps and various others going back some 600 years. Well worth a visit.

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