Map of the month – 150 years of the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge – County Series 1:2500 1886-1896

Clifton Suspension Bridge
150 years ago today on the 8th December 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge had its grand opening. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. The bridge is built to a design by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw, based on an earlier design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

In 1753 Bristolian merchant William Vick had left a bequest in his will of £1,000 (equivalent to £130,000 in 2014), invested with instructions that when the interest had accumulated to £10,000 (£1,330,000), it should be used for the purpose of building a stone bridge between Clifton Down.

By 1829, Vick’s bequest had reached £8,000, but it was estimated that a stone bridge would cost over ten times that. A competion was held to find a design, but all the designs, including a final one by Thomas Telford failed to gain aproval because of either looks or cost.

An Act of Parliament was then passed to allow a wrought iron suspension bridge to be built instead of stone, and tolls levied to recoup the cost. In 1831 a second competition was held with new judges. The winner was declared to be a design by Smith and Hawkes of the Eagle Foundry in Birmingham. Brunel then had a personal meeting and persuaded him to change the decision, The committee then declared Brunel the winner and he was awarded a contract as project engineer with his design being finalised by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw . The winning design was for a suspension bridge.

Folklore says that a rope was taken across the gorge by kite, or even by bow and arrow! The simple and much more likely event was that common hemp ropes were taken down the side of the gorge, across the river by boat and pulled up the other side.

The towers are built principally of local Pennant stone. The chains and suspension rods are made of wrought iron with the chains anchored in tapering tunnels, 25 metres (82 ft) long, on either side of the bridge. After completion of the chains, vertical suspension rods were hung from the links in the chains and large girders hung from these. The girders on either side then support the deck, which is 3 feet higher at the Clifton end than at Leigh Wood. The construction work was completed in 1864 — 111 years after a bridge at the site was first planned.

to buy this map or maps of your area go to Cassini Maps

Map of the month – Blackpool before the tower 1891

Blackpool

Blackpool (Ordnance Survey County Series 1:1,056 – Surveyed  C.1891, published in 1893)

For centuries Blackpool was a small hamlet by the sea. Its name stems from a historic drainage channel that ran over a peat bog, discharging discoloured water into the Irish Sea, which formed a black pool (on the other side of the sea, the name “Dublin” (Dubh Linn) is derived from the Irish for “black pool”).

By the middle of the 18th century, the practice of bathing in the sea to cure diseases was becoming fashionable among the wealthier classes, and visitors began making the trek to Blackpool for that purpose. The 1801 census records the town’s population at only 473, but by 1851 the population had risen to over 2,500.  However, Blackpool only grew into a substantial town when the railway was built connecting it to the industrial towns of the north. The first railway in the area opened in 1840 but it only ran as far as Poulton. In 1846 a branch line was built from Poulton to Blackpool, making it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach the coast.

Blackpool Tower was built between 1891 and 1894, but before the tower visitors flocked to Dr. Cocker’s Aquarium, Aviary and Menagerie, which had existed on the site since 1873. It was kept open to earn revenue while the tower building went up around it, and then became one of the tower’s major attractions. It housed 57 different species of fresh water and salt water fish and the largest tank held 32,000 litres of salt water. The menagerie and aviary, one of the finest collections in the country, included lions, tigers, and polar bears.

The Blackpool Tower Company bought the Aquarium on Central Promenade in 1890 with the intention of building a replica Eiffel Tower on the site. Two Lancashire architects, James Maxwell and Charles Tuke, designed the Tower and oversaw the laying of its foundation stone, on 29 September 1891

When the tower opened on 14 May 1894, 3,000 customers took the first rides to the top. Tourists paid sixpence for admission, sixpence more for a ride in the lifts to the top (the option was 563 steps from the roof of the tower building to the flagpole at the top) and a further sixpence for entry to the circus.

The Tower Circus, which is positioned at the base of the tower between its four legs, first opened to the public on 14 May 1894 and has not missed a season since. The circus ring can be lowered into a pool of water that holds 42,000 gallons at a depth of up to 4 ft 6 inches, which allows for Grand Finales with Dancing Fountains. The Tower Circus is one of only four venues left in the world that can do this.

The tower was not painted properly during the first thirty years and became corroded, leading to discussions about its demolishing. However it was decided to rebuild it instead, and between 1921 and 1924 all of the steelwork in the structure of the tower was replaced and renewed.

With attractions like these, the building of the Promenade, the three Piers (North, Central and South), tram rides and the famous Illuminations, Blackpool continued to grow until by 1951 the population had grown to 147,000. Today the population of Blackpool has settled back to a healthy 142,000.

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.

Map of the month – Euston Station

Euston Station
Euston Station, London (Town Plan 1:1,056)

Euston was the first inter-city railway station in central London, opened on 20 July 1837 as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway.

The site was selected in the early 1830s by George and Robert Stephenson, engineers of the London and Birmingham Railway. The area was then mostly farmland at the edge of the expanding city of London. The station was named after Euston Hall in Suffolk, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Grafton, who were the main landowners in the area.

Before Euston was built the trains from Birmingham had an unsatisfactory endpoint at Chalk Farm, built in 1833. It was George Stephenson who planned the original station at Euston Grove with just two platforms, one for arrivals, one departures, sheltered beneath a massive wrought-iron roof. The building was designed by Philip Hardwick, fronted by a 72’ high porticot. This portico acquired the name Euston Arch.

There was a notable engineering oddity about Euston from its opening on July 20 1837: because Lord Southampton, master of the Quorn Hunt, Conservative grandee, and a major landowner locally, objected to the potential noise and dirt, no locomotives were allowed between Euston and Camden Town. Instead trains were pulled from the terminus to Camden by a cable device until 1844, when engines were at last allowed.

The station grew rapidly over the following years as traffic increased. It was greatly expanded in the 1840s, with the opening in 1849 of the spectacular Great Hall, designed by Hardwick’s son Philip Charles Hardwick in classical style. It was 126 ft long, 61 ft wide and 64 ft high, with a coffered ceiling and a sweeping double flight of stairs leading to offices at its northern end.

The pioneers who established the railway network built Euston Arch, the massive Doric portico, outside the first terminus in London, Euston Station; in the 1960s their ancestors knocked it down in what many consider to be an act of cultural vandalism. Perhaps there is hope for this generation as a campaign now exists to have the Euston Arch restored.

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.

Gretna Green, or is it Headless Cross?

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1899*
Gretna Green
Gretna Green – the village famous for runaway weddings.

Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings, hosting over 5,000 weddings each year in the Gretna/Gretna Green area, and according to the BBC, one in every six Scottish weddings.  It is situated in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.

It has been reported that Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act  became law in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a person under the age of 21 objected, they could prevent the marriage going ahead. The new law tightened up the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent. By the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the hitherto obscure village of Graitney (Gretna), that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border. The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became the focal points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as a visitor attraction as early as 1887.

The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony.
To seal the marriage the blacksmith would bring down his hammer upon the anvil. The ringing sound heard throughout the village would signify that another couple had been joined in marriage.
The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”, culminating with Richard Rennison, who performed 5,147 ceremonies.

Since 1929, both parties in Scotland have had to be at least 16 years old, but they still may marry without parental consent. In England and Wales, the age for marriage is now 16 with parental consent and 18 without.

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.

Map of the week – Ned Ludd did it!

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1886
Anstey, Leicestershire – Home of Ned Ludd.
Map of Anstey - First Luddite

Anstey is a large village in Leicestershire, England, located north west of Leicester in the borough of Charnwood with a population was about 6,000.
Known as the Gateway to Charnwood Forest, Anstey has another claim to fame, or infamy, in the shape of one Ned Ludd.

On the 9th of October 1779 Ned Ludd, an apprentice stocking maker, reportedly angered by the threat to his livelihood (according to one version), or annoyed at his father giving him a beating, destroyed a number of stocking frames with a hammer. News of the incident spread, and later whenever frames were sabotaged in protest at the growing industrialisation of their trades, people would jokingly say “Ned Ludd did it”.

Little detail is known about the first ‘Luddite’ attack in 1779, indeed in reality the true Luddite movement did not begin until the beginning of the 19th century. The Luddites were textile workers who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the craftsmen with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.

When the Luddites first took up their hammers, 32 years after the first attack, Ned’s identity was appropriated to become the folklore character of Captain Ludd, also known as King Ludd or General Ludd, the Luddites’ alleged leader and founder and who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.

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

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.

SS Great Western & Bristol Docks

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1886
SS Great Western
SS Great Western – the largest vessel in the world.

19th July 1837 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 236 ft steamship, the Great Western, was launched at Bristol. She was the largest vessel in the world. On the same day in 1843, his ‘Great Britain’, the first Atlantic liner built of iron, was launched at Wapping Dock.The Great Western was an iron-strapped, wooden, side-wheel paddle steamer, with four masts to hoist the auxiliary sails. The sails were not just to provide auxiliary propulsion, but also were used in rough seas to keep the ship on an even keel and ensure that both paddle wheels remained in the water, driving the ship in a straight line. The first steamship purpose-built for crossing the Atlantic, and the initial unit of the Great Western Steamship Company. She was the largest passenger ship in the world from 1837 to 1839.

In 1838 after sailing to London, where she was fitted with two side-lever steam engines. the Great Western set sail for Avonmouth to start her maiden voyage to New York. The ship hadn’t gone far when a fire broke out in the engine room. During the confusion Brunel fell 20 feet, and was injured. The fire was extinguished, and the damages to the ship were minimal, but Brunel had to be put ashore at Canvey Island. As a result of the accident, more than 50 passengers cancelled their bookings for the Bristol-New York voyage and when the Great Western finally departed Avonmouth, only 7 passengers were aboard.

The Great western’s first voyage in April 1838 was set to be a race with the British and American Steam Navigation Company’s rival ship the SS Sirius but the fire delayed the Great western’s start. Even with a four-day head start, Sirius only narrowly beat Great Western, arriving in New York on 22 April. When coal ran low, the crew of the Sirius burned 5 drums of resin. The Great Western arrived the following day, with 200 tons of coal still on board. Sirius is often credited as the first winner of the Blue Riband (even though the term Blue Riband was not coined until years later) at 8.03 knots. However, Sirius only held the record for a day because Great Western’s voyage was faster at 8.66 knots.

Still capable of making record Blue Riband voyages as late as 1843. Great Western worked to New York for 8 years until her owners went out of business. She was sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and was scrapped in 1856 after serving as a troop ship during the Crimean War.

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.

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

Map of the week – St. George’s Chapel, Windsor

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:1,056 – 1871
St George's Chapel, Windsor

 St. George’s Chapel, Windsor – burial place of Henry VIII

Henry Tudor was born in the royal residence of Greenwich Palace on June 28, 1491, son of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth York. Not much is known about his early life because he was not born first in line to the throne, a role destined for his older brother Arthur, but  in 1502, at the age of only 15, Arthur died in Ludlow Castle where he resided in his capacity as Prince of Wales. Arthur’s death thrust all of his royal duties upon his younger brother, the 10-year-old Henry.

Henry was crowned Henry VIII, king of England following the death of his father on 22 April 1509.

Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. His struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and his own establishment as the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

His contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive, educated and accomplished king, and he has been described as “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne”.
Later in life, Henry became obese, with a waist measurement of 54 inches and his physical decline can be traced to a jousting accident in 1536, in which he suffered a leg wound that never healed as well as head injuries.

Henry died in London on the 28th January 1547  and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, next to his third wife Jane Seymour, who had given birth to Henry’s only legitimate son, Edward, the future Edward VI. Over a hundred years later, Charles I was buried in the same vault. All three still lie in the vault beneath the quire in St. Georges Chapel, Windsor.

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

Map of the week – The Agricultural Hall, Islington

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500 – 1877
Business Design Centre

The Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington (now the Business Design Centre).This Grade II listed building was opened in 1862 and was one of the world’s largest exhibition halls of its time. It was built to provide a home to the Smithfield’s Club annual exhibitions of agricultural produce and livestock (later known as the Royal Smithfield Show).However, it has been put to many uses over time and has hosted Crufts and the Royal Tournament as well as acting a temporary Parcels Sorting Depot during WW2.

The hall fell into disrepair after the war and was not used again until 1986 when it was converted to house the Business Design Centre.

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


IAAA-logoThis summer sees the Business Design Centre host the 3-day
It’s all about Art” event and workshops run by the SAA, society for all artists.

The show runs from 25th to 27th July and is an ideal opportunity to give painting a try. Whether just starting out or been painting for years, It’s all about Art will inform, encourage and inspire you to get painting and enjoy this rewarding and relaxing past time. Plus, there’s lots to see and learn whatever your ability, and you’ll have a fantastic day out with friends too.

AASThere’s something for everyone at this three day event and it is a great chance for you to come along and meet with celebrity TV artists, take part in hands-on workshops (with all materials included), watch demonstrations, learn handy hints and top techniques, get your hands on all the latest products and be inspired to try something new.

Tickets are just £12 each and Cassini Map customers can receive a special discounted ticket price of ‘Buy one ticket and get the second for half price’.
Just click here and enter the code CASSINI or call 0800 980 1123 and quote CASSINI when ordering. Why not order some tickets today as they make a great Father’s day gift too.