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.

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The Cutty Sark, a witch and a horses tail

Map: Ordnance Survey Old Series 1866
Cuttysark
The tail of the Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Launched at Dumbarton on November 23 1869 for the Jock Willis shipping line, she was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest, coming at the end of a long period of design development which halted as sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion.

The opening of the Suez Canal (also in November 1869) meant that steam ships now had a much shorter route to China, so Cutty Sark spent only a few years on the tea trade before turning to the trade in wool from Australia, where she held the record time to Britain for ten years. In 1954 she had ceased to be useful, even as a cadet ship, and was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London where she is on public display.

The name Cutty Sark comes from  Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’.
Cutty-sark (hyphenated) was a nickname given to the character of the witch Nannie Dee, after the garment she wore – Cutty (short) and Sark (Nightshirt). The figurehead of the tea clipper Cutty Sark is named after the character and yes, for all of you who are wondering, the Tam o’ Shanter hat is also named after the poem.

The story goes that the hero Tam, while riding home from the pub on his horse, happens upon strange goings-on in a church yard. Among the dancing figures is a particularly beautiful young witch named Nannie Dee. She is described as wearing a harn (linen) sark (nightshirt) which fitted her as a child but is now rather too short for her. Tam is so enthralled by the erotic spectacle that he cannot contain himself and, not knowing her name, yells out “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”. The witches on hearing his cry turn and pursue him and Tam flees, heading for the River Doon as, according to folklore, witches cannot cross running water. He makes it across the bridge to safety, but not before Nannie has torn the tail from his horse. To this day Nannie, the figurehead of the Cutty Sark, can be seen with a horses tail hanging from her hand.

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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.

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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.

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Map of the week – Aintree and the Grand National

Aintree Race Course  and the Grand National
Aintree Race Course
Map: Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 County Series from 1906

The Grand National is held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. First run in 1839, it is a handicap steeplechase over 4 miles 3½ furlongs (7,200m) with horses jumping 30 fences over two circuits of the racecourse.

The most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £975,000, It is popular amongst many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing  first run in 1839 and has a special place in the hearts and minds of the UK public with bets expected to exceed £350 million.

The Grand National is not without it’s detractors. As one of the toughest, if not the toughest race in the world it has witnessed a documented 70 horses die since the first race in 1839, along with one jockey, Joseph Wynne, who was racing in his first Grand National in 1862.

Over the years there have been some exceptional events that have stayed in the public memory.The first race in 1839 secured its place in history as the first official Grand National. It was won by rider Jem Mason on the 5/1 favourite and aptly named Lottery.

Legend has it that on the day of the 1928 Grand National, before the race had begun, Tipperary Tim’s jockey William Dutton heard a friend call out to him: “Billy boy, you’ll only win if all the others fall down!” These words turned out to be true, as 41 of the 42 starters fell during the race leaving Tipperary Tim the winner at 100/1. In 1967 Foinavon  won in similar circumstances when a loose horse caused the leading horse to either fall or pull up leaving Foinavon to jump alone and gallop away to victory before the rest of the field could regroup.

The running of the 1956 Grand National witnessed one of the chase’s most bizarre incidents. Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, had cleared the final fence in leading position, five lengths clear of E.S.B. and only forty yards from what seemed like certain victory, when suddenly, and inexplicably, Devon Loch half-jumped into the air and collapsed on the turf allowing the trailing horses to pass the unfortunately stricken horse.

Possibly the greatest disaster from a racing viewpoint was the 1993 Grand national, which went in to history as the “The race that never was”. While under starter’s orders a series of incidents occurred which resulted in one jockey being tangled in the starting tape. A false start was declared, but 30 out of the 39 jockeys were unaware of the decision and began to race. Course officials tried to stop the runners by waving red flags, but many jockeys thought that they were protesters and continued to race. Seven horses ran the course in its entirety, forcing a void result. The first past the post of the horses that completed was Esha Ness in the second-fastest time ever run.

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Keys and Legends

Over the years the Keys and Legends (the two terms are interchangeable) shown on the various Ordnance Survey mapping series have changed as the features in the landscape have evolved. Over time the most important features on a map reflected the spirit of the day.

One inch to the mile (1:63,360)

Old Series
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. The maps elegantly capture the age of the canal, the coaching inn and the horse-drawn cart: the final decades of an agrarian society that was soon to be over-run by new transport links, rapid population growth and urban expansion.

OSEkey

Revised New Series
After the Old Series came the Revised New Series. 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. The late 19th-century was without doubt the age of the railway, and the Revised New Series is the definitive record of its glory years.

RNCkey
Popular Edition
The 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.
If the railways were the transport revolution of the 19th century, the motor car was certainly that of the 20th. The new Popular Edition had to reflect this. For the first time the gradations of the road network were described, with each route being coloured according to its suitability or otherwise for motor traffic. Twenty times more vehicles were registered in the UK in 1929 compared to 20 years earlier, and many of those who could not afford (or did not dare) to use a car cycled instead. Increased leisure time and rising prosperity fuelled a demand for travel. As a result, accurate, relevant and up to date maps were needed.

POPkey

New Popular Edition
These maps reveal the reality of the outwards spread of urban populations with great clarity. For the first time, the areas covered by the series shows the build-up of towns and cities and their rapid expansion into the countryside. The railways, though now at their maximum extent, are represented on this map far less prominently than are the roads, reflecting their reduced importance. The New Popular Edition is a record of a battered Britain at the end of a global war and nearing the end of a period of global imperialism.
NPOkey

Present Day Landranger
The current Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 mapping (represented, in most people’s minds, by the Landranger® series) is the culmination of over 200 years of painstaking and continuous surveys of the British landscape. Known as the 1:50,000 First Series when it was first published between 1974 and 1976, the printed form acquired the ‘Landranger®’ name in 1979. These maps have stood the test of time and remain the definitive survey of the country. Features as diverse as shopping centres and disused railway lines, car parks and stone monuments, rock screes and picnic sites are all included, indicated by an increasing range of symbols and abbreviations.
LANkey

Six Inch to the Mile County Series
The origins of the six inch to the mile (1:10,560) maps date back to 1824 when this scale was adopted for a survey of Ireland. By 1840 it had been decided to extend the project to Great Britain. Work began in Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1841 and in Scotland in 1843 with the first sheet appearing in 1846. It was not until 1890 that maps covering the whole country had been published, a family of maps that later became known as the County Series. By that time revisions to the earlier sheets were underway, a rolling process that continued until the last County Series sheets were superseded by the 1:10,000 National Grid Edition in the 1980s. Each sheet appeared in up to six editions, displaying various evolutions of detail, format and reproduction technology.
OS10kkey
1:25,000 County Series
The first maps at 1:2,500 (roughly 25 inches to the mile, or roughly one square inch to one acre) were Published in 1855 with coverage of the cultivated parts of Great Britain being completed in 1896. By then, a thorough revision had already started; indeed, the process of updating the information and publishing the results in a variety of formats has continued until the present day.
Almost every man-made feature of any significance is displayed on these maps which thus form a definitive record of the changing landscape of Britain since the middle of the 19th century. They are of considerable importance to historians (although this would have been inconceivable to their creators). The detail zooms in to house-level and offers a wealth of additional information concerning land usage, communications and boundaries. For genealogists they are of particular use and interest. Not only do they offer countless research clues which no other source can match but they also reveal every nuance of the landscape inhabited by past generations, so helping to explain many of the preoccupations and limitations that ruled their lives.
OS2500key