Ordnance Survey Maps, One-inch Revised new series, England and Wales, 1892-1908

Introduction

This series covered all of England and Wales in 346 sheets, forming a good general overview of the landscape from a century ago. It was published in a standard Outline edition (with relief shown by contour lines), with most sheets also published in a Hills edition (with relief shown by brown hachures).

In this section

Background

Detail of Wellington, Shropshire on OS One-Inch Revised New Series sheet 152
Detail of Wellington, Shropshire, from
Sheet 152 (Shrewsbury) - Hills edition, 1899

The OS one-inch series, which the OS Director General Sir Charles Wilson called "the standard map of the country" (1892), was first published in 1805 as the Old Series, covering England and Wales by 1869. It was originally published on 24 x 36 inch/mile full or double-elephant sized sheets, but from 1831, the series used quarter-sheets, north of the Preston-Hull line, laid out in regular 12 x 18 inch/mile extents ( based on a Cassini projection with Delamere as the origin ). The New Series, authorised from 1863, used these same sheet lines for the north (with different sheet numbers) as well as extending them south of the Preston-Hull line. These New Series sheet lines were used for the New Revised series too. View a graphic index of sheet lines for the New Revised series.

By the 1890s, many of these New Series sheets were several decades old, and in 1892, two committees were appointed to examine these and related problems of Ordnance Survey: a War Office Committee, under Sir T.D. Baker, and a Board of Agriculture Committee under Sir John Dorington. The former was chiefly responsible for recommending that the one-inch should be improved for military purposes by including new information on roads, railways, landmarks such as church steeples, as well as post and telegraph facilities. The latter recommended that the one-inch should be revised every fifteen years, independently of the revisions to larger-scale maps.

Revision order

Map showing order of surveying of One-Inch New Revised Series
General order of sheet revision

Work began in earnest in 1893 with the New revised series, and was complete by 1898, with all sheets published between 1895 and 1899. The first priority was southern England, moving on to Scotland and then northern England and Wales.

Purposes

Ordnance Survey's one-inch to the mile (1:63,360) series had military and civilian purposes behind it, and was of value too for official, administrative, scientific and recreational users. According to an OS circular of 1909, it was intended as a 'touring, cycling and small-scale manoeuvre map, [with] the primary object being that the average man should be able to find his way about unfamiliar country with ease' (quoted in Oliver (2005, p.47)). Essentially the one-inch was a general map, supplementing the main record of landscape change at the larger basic six-inch and 25-inch to the mile scales, so that minor changes may not appear even on full revision. By giving coverage of a wider area than the basic larger scales, the series is particularly useful in showing an overview of significant landscape changes such as urbanisation, the development of roads and railways, and changing patterns of woods and formal parkland. The series was used by several commercial map-makers for base mapping, including Bartholomew in their Half-Inch to the mile series.

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