As promised earlier in the week, I’ve had some interesting maps, including a reproduction A1 size copy of the 1798 William Yates map of Staffordshire, scanned professionally. I came home today clutching a USB flash drive with nearly four gigabytes of scanned historical map goodness, the Yates map alone being 736 megabytes. Obviously, I can’t post a file of that size, but I’ve had a play around and have condensed it down to two versions, which I’ve made available to download.
The Yates map is an important document in the history of Staffordshire, and I think that it’s desirable that it should be easily available for all who want it. I’m peripherally aware that there is possibly a 1775 version of this map too, but I’m finding information on either draft, or William Yates himself, quite hard to come by. If anyone has anything to contribute, I’d be fascinated to hear your views.
Reader David Evans asked about the colorization and draftsmanship; I suspect the map to have been available in limited quantities and cost a fair sum for the time – but then, the target market must have been quite small. Cobbett had a spell in prison and another three decades before the publication of his rural rides, and upper class travelogues were still scarce, so the market for such a gazetteer must have been thin. I would expect there to have been a couple of versions – plain black and white, as printed commercially, and this version based on the print, which would probably be hand-coloured. I know this was common for medical and naturalist publications at the time. Such hand colouring would have made the map hugely expensive.
This is a remarkable, fascinating document. However, as I cautioned previously, take anything it depicts at face value only. I’m not absolutely convinced of the existence of a Cats Hall, and if one looks at the route of the canal as drafted through Brownhills, it’s quite, quite wrong. Of course, details like that add to the charm of a beautifully drafted, wonderfully preserved piece of cartographic history. It’s a pleasure to share the joy of this with you readers.
The map is in .PDF format, for which you’ll need Adobe Reader or similar – but most folks have that installed already. I recommend right-clicking the links below and selecting ‘Save as…’ to save the file to your computer. Both will take a while to download on slow connections, so please be patient. The high quality one is 250 DPI resolution and should print fine up to A3 size I think. The medium one is 200 DPI, and should be good to A4.
I’d like to thank [Howmuch?], who’s a top reader of the Brownhills Blog, and does tireless, sterling work on my behalf. Without his hawk eye and patience we wouldn’t be enjoying this stuff now. I also thank my professional scanning person – you know who you are. Cheers.
There will be other maps to come in the next few days, so stay tuned…