Free historical map of your home!

Cassini Free Map Offer
Only one map per visit.  Available only while stocks last.

Cassini’s historical printed maps are digitally enhanced reproductions of the original Ordnance Survey maps of the same names – but with a very important difference. We have combined, re-projected and enlarged them to match the scale and coverage of the present-day Ordnance Survey Landrangers®, so making direct comparison between the past and the present easy and accurate.

Get your map from  www.cassinimaps.co.uk/freedeal

Maps are chosen from one of the three Cassini Historical map series:

Old Series MapOld Series Edition
Created from Ordnance Survey Old Series Edition maps first published between 1805 and 1874 These maps were the result of the first ever national survey of England & Wales. From the late 1790s until 1874, a small army of surveyors covered every corner of the what was still an almost entirely rural country. Their work provided a stunning portrait of the landscape, with every farm, track, copse and hamlet recorded. Many of these features would have been unchanged for centuries, reminders of ancient patterns of settlement dating back to Saxon times.

Revised New SeriesRevised New Series (Colour)
By the late 1890s, the Ordnance Survey had produced two complete series of maps of England & Wales but the increasingly rapid pace of change and development meant that revising them was now a never-ending task. The main cause of this change was the growth of the railways. From being little more than a good idea in 1830, the network covered over 18,000 miles by the end of the century, enabling the spread of goods, people and ideas and changing the character of every place it touched.

Popular Edition
Popular Edition MapThe original Ordnance Survey Popular Edition series was conceived before, but published just after, the First World War. This was the first of Ordnance Survey’s series to be conceived from the outset as a mass-market product, and the first to be produced in full colour. The new technology was put to the test in catering for a wholly new market.
If the railways were the transport revolution of the 19th century, the motor car was certainly that of the 20th.

Get your map from www.cassinimaps.co.uk/freedeal

Some areas have limited stock availability. If the Map of your selected area is not available you will be advised of this on the Website at the time of making your application in which case you may then choose a Map of a different area.

The map of your chosen area will be from one of the three available series.
Unfortunately it is not possible to choose which series your map is from.
The Map is available for delivery in the UK only. £2.99 P&P charges will apply.

Map of the week – The hottest town and the biggest bang!

Map: Ordnance Survey Old Series 1:50,000 – 1805
Faversham, Kent

Faversham in Kent. The hottest town on record and the biggest bang in history.

As summer looks to have finally arrived we decided to look at Faversham, which holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK. A temperature of 38.5C (101.3F) was recorded at the Brogdale Horticultural Trust, on the southern edge of the town, on the 10th August 2003.

Faversham (shown on this map of 1805 as Feversham) is a market town and civil parish in the Swale district of Kent. Faversham is one of the few UK places with a hybrid Latin/Anglo-Saxon name: Favers (Latin faber = blacksmith) + ham (Anglo-Saxon ham = homestead).

The building of Watling Street, soon after the Romans arrived in 43AD, led to the growth of small settlements along-side the road with the first in this area being built at Ospringe. Not long after, the small town of Durolevum (meaning stronghold by the clear stream) was established nearby and grew to become modern day Faversham. In 811AD the name of ‘Fefresham’ was first recorded in a Royal Charter calling it “the king’s town”. Faversham is the only town in the UK to use the Royal arms of England as its own heraldic emblem.
The town also became known as the birthplace of the explosives industry in England. 

The first gunpowder plants were established in the 16th century, The early factories were small, but by the early 18th century these had formed into a single plant, later to be known as the Home Works. A second factory was started by Huguenot settlers towards the end of the 17th century, and became known as the Oare Works. The third and last gunpowder factory to open was the Marsh Works, built by the British government 1 km northwest of the town and opened in 1787.

When the First World War started in 1914, the two original factories were requisitioned by the Admiralty. Production facilities were expanded and many new staff recruited from Faversham and elsewhere in east Kent.

At 2.20pm on Sunday 2 April 1916, a huge explosion ripped through the Marsh Works gunpowder mill, when 200 tons of TNT ignited. The blast killed 105 people and was recorded as “the worst ever in the history of the UK explosives industry”. The munitions factory was in a remote spot in the middle of the open marshes, next to the Thames coastline and was heard across the Thames estuary as far away as Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Southend-on-Sea, where domestic windows were blown out and two large plate-glass shop windows shattered.

All three gunpowder factories closed in 1934. ICI, the then owners, sensed that war might break out with Germany, and realised that Faversham would then become vulnerable to air attacks or possibly invasion. Production was transferred to Ayrshire, Scotland.

If you have an interesting story and would like to see a historical map of your area then why not let us know by emailing us.

Find out more about your area of the UK

The Battle of the Medway & Dutch courage

Chatham - The Battle of Medway
Map: Ordnance Survey Old Series – 1805

Battle of the Medway

Contrary to popular belief British shores have been invaded may times. The most damaging to our prestige and morale, since the Battle of Hastings, was a Dutch attack on The Medway in 1667, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

Charles II’s Navy was in a reduced state due to recent expenditure restrictions. With London largely destroyed by fire the previous year (having already been ravaged by plague), Charles had his fleet laid up in Chatham. The Dutch decided this was the moment to attack, and it proved one of the boldest naval raids in history.

The Battle of the Medway, as it was to become known, began on June 10, as the Dutch, with a fleet of about thirty ships, attacked the Island of Sheppey. Under the command of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter the Dutch bombarded and then captured the town of Sheerness.

By the 12th June 1667 they had sailed up the River Medway towards Chatham. The Dutch fired upon the few poorly-armed and poorly-manned ships they encountered, broke through the six-inch thick iron chain stretched across the Medway to the East of Gillingham Fort (the English fleets the primary defence against invaders) and upon reaching Chatham the dockyard was set ablaze and Upnor Castle bombarded. Fireships caused havoc with the moored English warships, burning three of the four largest “big ships” of the navy and ten lesser naval vessels, as well as capturing HMS Unity and HMS Royal Charles, flagship of the English fleet, which they towed away as war trophies.

On the 14th June, fearing a growing English resistance, the Dutch decided to forego a further penetration and withdraw. After attacking several other ports on the English east coast, a failed attempt to enter the Thames beyond Gravesend and a Dutch marine force landed near Woodbridge north of Harwich, which was repelled, the Dutch fleet withdrew.

The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch was signed on 21 July 1667.

If you have an interesting story and would like to see a historical map of your area then why not let us know by emailing us.

How Heath Row became Heathrow

How Heath Row became Heathrow

This brief overview looks at the history of Heathrow and the area on which it was built with the aid of four historical Ordnance Survey maps. In each case the present-day airport (pale pink) and the proposed expansion (pink) have been superimposed.

In May 2010, the new coalition government announced that the most recent plans for the expansion of Heathrow Airport, which both parties had opposed when in opposition, would be cancelled.

These bald facts conceal the story of how Heathrow was conceived by deception, born into uncertain times and yet grew into what is now the busiest international airport in the world. With the aid of a series of maps of the area, this article explores this unlikely

heathrowOSE

Extract taken from Cassini Old Series  176 – West London (1805 – 1822)

This map was created from Britain’s first national mapping project, Ordnance Survey’s One-Inch (‘Old Series’) maps which were first published between 1805 and 1874. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

The land Heathrow occupies today is in the southern part of the London Borough of Hillingdon although historically it covers two of the ancient Middlesex parishes of Harlington and Harmondsworth. Domestic settlement in the area probably dates back to 500BC and a Roman camp existed on the site now occupied by the airport. The proximity to the major east-west route of the Bath Road (now the A4) doubtless influenced the development of all the villages and hamlets in the parish. Heath Row, as it was then known, was first mentioned by name in documents from around 1410.

The parish mainly comprised flat fields that were irrigated, and at times flooded, by several waterways that drained into the River Colne. Two of these, the Duke of Northumberland’s River and the Longford River, were artificial. The former was constructed in the 1530s to provide additional power for Isleworth Mill, the latter in the 1630s to improve the water supply to Hampton Court. The subsequent development, if so it can be called, of the parish was little more than the gradual increase of cultivated land centred on a few small hamlets.

The Ordnance Survey maps pick up the story in the early 19th century. As a study of other maps from this period will show (and those of the whole country are available from http://www.cassinimaps.com) the British landscape in the early and mid 19th century was typified by small farms and small villages, interspersed with woods and open countryside and linked by a network of ancient roads and tracks. The area around Heath Row was no exception.

In the late 19th century, orchards and market gardens began to replace arable land and some new buildings were constructed, but in general the character of the area altered very little. This was about to change.

heathrowRNC

Extract taken from Cassini Revised New Series 176 – West London (1897-1909)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Revised New Series (in colour) maps which were first published between 1896 and 1909. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series. 

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Revised New Series (in colour) maps which were first published between 1896 and 1909. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series

Heathrow’s aviation history goes back to the First World War when the site was used as a military airfield, although little evidence remained by the time of the Popular Edition map of 1920. In this year the airport was closed for various logistical reasons including bad communication, the bumpy nature of the ground, its tendency to become boggy and muddy in winter and its frequent covering of mist. As the map showing the current expanse of the airport shows, these problems have since been overcome.

In the late 1920s the Colnbrook by-pass was opened which led increased industrial development in the area. One result was the re-opening of the airfield, as the Great Western Aerodrome, by Fairey Aviation as a centre for aircraft assembly and testing.

It had become clear by the 1930s that civil aviation would increase (though few would have predicted by how much), and the government began to make provision for the capital’s air services. The plan was to expand the two existing aerodromes at Croydon and at Heston, to the east of modern-day Heathrow, and to add two new ones, at Fairlop in Essex and Lullingstone in Kent. Heathrow’s flat terrain, proximity to London, good communications and comparative lack of housing must already have made this an attractive candidate for expansion, despite its other disadvantages. Work was under way on all these projects when war was declared in September 1939.

heathrowPOP

Extract taken from Cassini Popular Edition  176 – West London (1920)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s Popular Edition maps which were first published between 1919 and 1926. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

It can be seen from the three preceding maps that the area of Heath Row experienced various, largely undramatic, changes during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although most of the settlements expanded only slowly, the character of the area was starting to reflect the growth of nearby London: the increased cultivation, the railways, the growth of East Bedfont (and the creation of its school), the emergence of Southville and the construction of the Staines Reservoir all show the area’s increased importance as a supplier of goods, services and labour to the vast metropolis that was expanding towards it at an alarming rate.

In late 1942, there was increasing demand from the Air Ministry for a base for the new long-range heavy troop-carrying planes, existing facilities in the south of England being inadequate. After some debate, this slightly boggy area of market-garden farms was chosen as the site of a wholly new airfield. Construction work began in May 1944 on land originally acquired from the vicar of Harmondsworth. Although the location was ideal, the terrain was not. 100 million gallons of water had to be pumped out of the ponds and 14 miles of pipes were needed to drain rainwater into a nearby gravel pit. Another task was the clearance and demolition of the hamlet of Heath Row. Few other places have become so posthumously famous.

At the time, the Air Ministry’s case must have seemed unanswerable, but doubts exist as to whether there was ever any intention to use Heathrow for military purposes. The fortunes of war were shifting in the Allies’ favour, so making large-scale troop movements by air less likely; whilst the argument for a large new civil aerodrome was clear to those who were considering how post-war Britain might be shaped. Due largely to wartime innovations, aircraft were now far bigger. Commercial air travel before the war was still a novelty – when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain left nearby Heston Aerodrome for the first of his ill-fated meetings with Hitler in 1938 it was the first time he had been in a plane, which excited little comment at the time – but demand seemed likely to increase substantially in the future. The 1930s plan of four small airports around the capital was now inadequate. Instead, the contemporary logic ran, one larger hub was needed which could be purpose-built for the new aircraft and would be capable of future expansion as the need arose.

The main problem was that any civil project on this scale would have led to protracted planning enquiries and divisive financial wrangles within Whitehall. Using wartime powers to requisition the land offered a more certain outcome. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary Harold Balfour later admitted that he had misled the cabinet on this point in order to expedite the process. Were military use the only requirement, many existing RAF bases could have been converted with far less time and effort. Whatever the real motives, Heathrow was allowed to slip into being almost unnoticed, in marked contrast to the glare of publicity which attended many of its later developments. Heathrow would not have been the first project by a national government promoted under the guise of military exigency, and is unlikely to be the last.

In the event this potential conflict of interests and purpose never materialised, for construction was still not complete by the end of the war. The military origins of the project were quietly forgotten and work continued on building what was now unambiguously a civilian airport. This was officially opened in May 1946 with a flight to Buenos Aires via Lisbon, the departing passengers enjoying terminal facilities that consisted of little more than a large tent. At the time, Heathrow’s managers stated, with rare prescience, that it would eventually become the largest airport in the world.
heathrowPlaneThe next few years did little to justify this optimism. Numerous problems were encountered with the construction of terminal buildings and the second runway, not helped by post-war restrictions in obtaining suitable materials. As late as mid-1948, Northolt (which Heathrow was intended to supersede) was actually handling more travellers. Yet all these problems were eventually overcome. In 1953, Heathrow handled a million passengers (about the number of people that used it every five days in 2010), and this had increased to 20 million by 1973. Now it is the world’s busiest international airport with over 61 million international travellers in 2010 (roughly the population of the UK) and is the daily workplace of over 76,000 people (roughly the population of Basingstoke). It is the largest single-site employer in the country. Other statistics are more bizarre, though perhaps in their own way no less revealing. 10% of the UK’s perfume sales are made at the airport; a bottle of whisky is sold there every seven seconds; the annual turnover of Heathrow’s shops (about half a billion pounds) is more than the entire GDP of American Samoa.

In January 2009 the then Labour Government gave the go-ahead for a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow. The announcement followed several years of lobbying and planning by interested parties which had begun even before Terminal 5 had been completed. The result would have been to increase the annual number of flights from 480,000 to 700,000 and would have required the demolition of 700 homes in the borough of Hillingdon, including all of the ancient village of Sipson and parts of Harmondsworth and Harlington. The decision was not met with unanimous public approval.

The debate about expansion rumbled on until the 2010 general election, involving almost every major organisation in British public life. The advocates of the third runway and the sixth terminal – which included the Labour government, the BAA, British Airways, the CBI, the TUC and the British Chamber of Commerce – argued that expansion was essential and that the economic benefits to the UK’s economy would be in the region of £7 billion a year. The opponents – which included the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Mayor of London and his predecessor, Hillingdon Council, environmental campaign groups, residents’ associations, aid agencies, the National Trust, the RSPB and the local Labour MP – questioned whether the financial benefits (if realised) would outweigh the negative factors of disruption, pollution and noise.

In the event, the new coalition government acted swiftly. Within days of the election it announced that the plans for the expansion were to be shelved. The problem was solved – for now.

The history of Heathrow does not, however, suggest that the airport will stay out of the limelight for long. Opinions differ as to whether southeast England needs more airport capacity and, if so, where it should be situated. Future expansion plans cannot be ruled out. Heathrow seems set to be at the heart of the debates about the future of transport, development, environmental issues and government policy for many years to come. Expect more enquiries, more protests and more statistics: further blazes of publicity, in short, in contrast to the furtive way in which the airport came into being sixty-odd years ago.

heathrowNPO

Extract taken from Cassini New Popular Edition  (1945)

This map was created from Ordnance Survey’s New Popular Edition maps which were first published between 1945 and 1946. They have all been carefully scanned, digitally re-projected and enlarged to match the present-day Ordnance Survey Landranger® series.

Start discovering the landscape of the past for yourself. Every corner of England, Scotland & Wales is covered with a range of old maps dating from the late 1600’s to the Present day. Visit Cassini Maps

Map of the week – World adopts Greenwich Mean Time

Greenwich meridian chosen as the official prime meridian.

From the 17th century onwards Greenwich, home to the national observatory, had been the centre for the study of time as well as the skies, the link being the need for accurate timekeeping for navigation. Accordingly, a meridian at the Greenwich Observatory(originally the site of Greenwich Castle, constructed by the Duke of Gloucester, in 1433) was set, by the British, as the zero point of reference for determining time and longitude.

GreenwichObservatory
Greenwich Mean Time was first adopted across the island of Great Britain by the Railway Clearing House in 1847 to standardise train timetables, and by almost all railway companies by the following year. By the end of 1880 GMT had been legally adopted throughout the island of Great Britain.

In 1884 the US Government called a conference to determine a standard for world time keeping. After deliberation the Washington conference decided on the meridian at Greenwich as the reference point. Forty-one delegates from 25 nations met and by the end of the conference, Greenwich had won the prize of Longitude 0º by a vote of 22 in favour to 1 against (San Domingo), with two abstentions (France and Brazil).
Cassini downloadable maps – Site Centred

Whatever your interest in the past our historical maps are invaluable works of reference. Ideal for reasearch, or print and frame for a personalised decorative map centred on the location of your choice.

Find downloadable maps of your area at Cassini Maps!

Map of the week – Bournemouth 1811

Map of the week – Bournemouth 1811
Bournemouth

Ordnance Survey Old Series 1:50,000  (and present day OS 1:50,000)

At the start of the 19th century the area was largely a remote and barren heathland, used only by smugglers and revenue troops.

A man called Tregonwell is regarded as the first inhabitant of Bournemouth. In 1810 he visited the beach with his wife. She loved the area and persuaded him to build the first house. By 1840 a small village had sprung up. By 1851 Bournemouth was still a little village with a population of only 695, but it was growing rapidly and by 1861 the population had grown to 1,707.

The railway reached Bournemouth in 1870, which caused the town to boom. By 1881 the population of Bournemouth stood at 16,859. Ten years later it reached 37,000.

In two hundred years Bournemouth has grown from Tregonwell’s single house to a population of 183,491 making it the largest settlement in Dorset. With Poole to the west and Christchurch in the east, Bournemouth forms the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of over 400,000.

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Cassini map of the week – Guildford 1816

Cassini’s map of the week – Guildford

guildford3

Guildford 1816 Ordnance Survey Old Series

Ever wondered why Guildford developed in the location seen today? By referring to the Cassini Old Series maps it can be seen how Guildford, the county town of Surrey, developed in a gap in the North Downs, through which the River Wey passes. Any traveller in Surrey heading from North to South, or vice versa, would make straight for the gap in the chalk hills rather than climbing the the escarpments of the downs.

Before the advent of contour lines each hand drawn Ordnance Survey map indicated the relief of the land with hatchuring (from the Old French word hacher, to cross hatch) making it clearly visible how the landscape played a vital role in the positioning and settlement of cities, towns and villages across the length and breadth Britain.

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