As promised last weekend, thanks to the diligence of reader and co-conspirator [Howmuch?], I can now make available full scans of the 1969 issue Ordnance Survey sheet SK00, covering Brownhills and north Aldridge. This is a 1:25,000 map, based largely on the First Series, which was surveyed in the early part of the last century. This is indicated in both the cartography, draftsmanship and the frankly out of date nature of some of the information it offers. By the time of the issue of this map, many of the mines, railways and canal navigations it shows were gone, relics of a previous age. This wasn’t lazy mapping, as asserted by a previous comment, but necessity; a decision had been taken previously to rip up the orthodoxy and start again. Maintaining these plans was hugely labour intensive in a rapidly developing country and such a decision was very, very brave. Soon, this draft would be replaced by the re-surveyed second series – the first maps to use computer technology and very high-tech data collection methods. In short, this map marks the death of hand drafted mapping. It’s a glorious, fascinating work of art.
Stymaster pointed out the difference in drafting between this map series and it’s replacement issue in the previous post. What is actually going on here is not just technological advancement, but changing market demands. By the time this map was issued, the Great British public were enjoying more leisure time and increased prosperity, leading to the desire to get out and explore the countryside around them. The hobbies of rambling, hill walking and cycling were coming into their own, and the demand for maps that showed public rights of way, woodlands and points of interest was increasing. This was about the opening up of our country. Mapping was passing from the preserve of the land owner to the wider public.
This map was designed not so much for the curious explorer, like you and me, but as an information source for professionals and legal types. The information it imparts is largely formal and civil. It was drawn entirely by hand. This map wasn’t plotted and surveyed so much as curated. It’s a wonderful thing, like all such maps, but just as with the inch to the mile series I posted earlier, it marks the passing of an age.
The rear of the map includes a wealth of information including the legend key and information about map series, the coming second edition and descriptions of the way the draft was surveyed, so I’ve included similar scans of both sides. This really is a period piece and I fear these visually stunning maps are passing almost unmentioned into history.
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. All of them will take a while to download on slow connections, so please be patient. The high quality one is 450 DPI resolution and should print fine up to A3/original size. The medium one is 300 DPI, and should be good to A4. The basic is 200 DPI and is best suited to on-screen use.