Thank you, Jude for your informative post last week, and for making me think about how much I depend on maps. I realize I need to work more with topographical maps than I do. They are lovely things, and with the variety of landscape in Britain, I could use more knowledge about hills and dales and valleys and downs. I am, after all, a girl from the very flat NA prairie.
There are several books of maps that I absolutely rely on in my Regency writing. The County Maps of Old England by Thomas Moule (ISBN: 1851704035 / 1-85170-403-5), published originally in 1836 is one of my mainstays. Of course I have to keep in mind that even it is fifteen to twenty years later than my era, but neverthless it is invaluable. The original title page is a delight.
Likewise, Pigot & Co's British Atlas comprising the Counties of England etc etc. (ISBN: 1858336597 / 1-85833-659-7) is fascinating. This book is from 1840 however and already includes railway information, so one has to be very careful is using it.
Another essential is my Town and City Maps of the British Isles 1800-1855 [(ISBN: 185170941X / 1-85170-941-X) Ashley Baynton-Williams]. Again care must be taken with the dating of the maps, but they are remarkable. This illustration is the town of Chichester in 1812:
I use a contemporary atlas of Great Britain in concert with these old maps in order to refine distances and other details. It is possible to obtain very large scale current maps and those I find particularly useful for a close-up view of the area in which my story is set The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Portrait of Britiain has street maps of towns and snippets of history that are excellent.
London is another place where period maps are essential to the writer of fiction. Fortunately they can be found for nearly any period. The A-Z of Regency London from the London Topographical Society is the bible of Regency writers; there are A-Z's of other periods also available. I have also a book titled The Timeline History of London which has several useful maps, and, as the title, indicates a timeline chart that is super.
An on-line search for maps turns up all kinds of websites, and there are many that sell reproduction of period maps. Two of my favourite sites for these maps are PrintsGeorge (that tongue-in-cheek compendium of all things Regency/Georgian) and oldmaps.co.uk.
Next week we'll talk about something different, but for now, get out a map and travel to a different time and place!
'Til next time,