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History of Britain in Maps (edition 2018)
by Philip Parker (Author)
History of Britain in Maps: Over 90 Maps of our nation through time by Philip Parker
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From Mappa Mundi to modern election maps, the United Kingdom has evolved rapidly, along with the ways in which it has been mapped. In this time, cartography has not only kept pace with these changes, but has often driven them. In this beautiful book, more than 90 maps give a visual representation of the history of Britain. Every map tells a story and this book tells the incredible history of Britain through maps, and includes many famous examples of cartography, along with some that deserve to be better known. See the establishment of Great Britain, the British Empire expand, the impact of World Wars and the latest statistical mapping. Maps include* Rudge Cup (schematic map of western forts on Hadrian's Wall), 2nd century AD* Matthew Paris map of the Anglian Heptarchy (Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms), c. 1250* Gough map of Britain, 1360* Cambriae Typus, first published map of Wales, 1573* Raven maps of the Ulster Plantations, 1622* Enclosure map (eg of Norfolk, c. 1800)* Booth Poverty Map of London, 1886* Map of Beeching cuts to Britain's railways, 1963* Map of EU Referendum voting patterns, 2016
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)941.00223History and Geography Europe British Isles Historical periods of British Isles Miscellany Illustrations, models, miniatures Maps, plans, diagrams
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Particularly interesting for me was the Ambleside flood. This appears to be a screenshot from Magic, a GIS I used a lot when I did mapping for Defra. My favourite though must be the Post Roads. It reminds me of a pre-Beck Tube map I once saw where there was still some attempt to match actual geography. It’s well worth having a look at areas familiar to you. So Billericay (‘Billrecay’ here) is virtually a coastal town as there are no stops between there and Gravesend. And Newcastle Upon Tyne appears twice. Once on the Great North Road (with a branch line to Tynemouth, here shown inland) and again on the Coast Road for a separate route up to Berwick. Clever stuff.
Each map has a page of text that tells you a little about the map, the milieu in which it was produced and a little relevant narrative history. The book is perhaps designed to be browsed so it was only when I read it cover to cover that I realised the history is disjointed and sometimes repetitive. The text has been spell checked but not proofread and there are numerous instances of words being actual words, but not the right ones. Also, not everything is factually accurate. On page 246 we are told that “Daniel Defoe, the satirist and author of Gulliver’s Travels, was moved”. I’m sure he was. Many have been, but none more so that Jonathan Swift. Those problems aside, it’s the text which gives context and makes this into a book rather than a collection of pictures.
A good present for someone who likes maps. ( )