G Taylor and A Skinner's Survey and maps of the roads of North Britain or Scotland, 1776


Although John Ogilby had published a strip road atlas for England and Wales a century earlier, George Taylor and Andrew Skinner's volume was essentially Scotland's first road atlas. It consists of 61 plates showing roads across Scotland at the one-inch to the mile scale, covering some 3,000 miles in total, with each page divided into three vertical strips of a particular road. The volume was designed to be folded into a portable accessory for the growing number of travellers and visitors in Scotland.

Taylor and Skinner were originally surveyors in Aberdeen, and whilst the latter was resident in Edinburgh during the 1770s, they went on to work in Ireland in the later 1770s, before heading west to America by the 1780s. Although they were assisted financially by the Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates, and by subscriptions (some no doubt from the landed gentry whose names and properties were shown along many of the roads) in 1778 they reported that nearly half the 3,000 published copies of their Survey were unsold, and they therefore had debts still to repay.

Today, the strip maps can be of unique value for showing the detail of routeways including the new military roads in the Highlands (with their relative absence of other detailed maps) and, through their criss-cross network of Great Roads and Cross Roads, covering much of Lowland Scotland to supplement contemporary county mapping.

Further reading

Fairclough, R H, '"Sketches of the Roads in Scotland, 1785" The Manuscript Road Book of George Taylor', Imago Mundi 27 (1975) 65-72.