Ordnance Survey Llandrindod Wells


“Ordnance Survey Contoured Road Map of Llandrindod Wells.”  Sheet 79.  London: Ordnance Survey of Great Britain, ca. 1920.  Popular edition; one inch to one mile.  Folding map to ca. 8 x 4 1/2.  Printed in color.  Excellent detail.  Very good condition.

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An original antique map from the early 20th century issued by the British Ordnance Survey.  The Ordnance Survey was founded in 1791 to survey the entire country on a large scale for military purposes.  The survey was to be under the direction of the Board of Ordnance headed by the Duke of Richmond.  The intent was to produce maps on a scale of one inch to the mile.  Kent was fully mapped by 1801, but it was about 70 years before the country was fully mapped to this scale.  The Ordnance maps were done by rectilinear sections rather than counties, and this was an important cause of the decline of ‘county’ atlases in the later part of the nineteenth century.  Larger scale maps followed, with series of six inches to the mile (1825-47), and twenty five inches to the mile (1846-93).

In the 1920s, the Ordnance Survey issued its “Popular Edition” on the one mile scale.  These were folding maps mounted on cloth for use by drivers, bicyclers, and hikers.  This series exhibits the usual very high Ordnance standards of accuracy, detail, and clarity, but they are particularly known for their cover art.  The cover was designed by Ellis Martin, who joined the Ordnance Survey in 1919, just at a time when the Board was putting forth an effort to make their maps more attractive, and thus more salable.  Martin’s covers solved the problem nicely, and they have become famous for their overall design, art work, clarity and color.  The 1920s series includes Martin’s sketch of a cyclist sitting on a hillside overlooking a prosperous valley.  He is wearing plus-fours, a Norfolk jacket, and a cap, and he is reading a map with his bicycle by his side.  While the maps themselves lack the decorative features of earlier years, these are still wonderful and collectible cartographic documents.