Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finding your way in 1782

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Loretta reports:

Since I so often send my characters on the road, I spend a lot of time with maps and tourist guides of all kinds.  My trusty Paterson’s Roads, which some describe as the AAA or AA guide of the late 18th & early 19th centuries became the model, apparently, for all road guides, well into the Victorian era and beyond.  My 1874 copy of Black’s Picturesque Tourist follows the same format, though it includes railway travel and more extensive descriptions of the larger cities and towns.

But the most fun are the strip maps.  I saw my first one in person many years ago at the Yale Center for British Art’s exhibition Roads to Rails: Revolution in British Transport, and was enchanted.  They’re an early version of the TripTiks AAA provides.  Though I’ve found only one edition of Bowles’s Post-Chaise Companion online, and it’s 1782, it can be more helpful than modern maps when I’m trying to follow a coaching route given in Paterson's.  It helps me picture the hills and valleys and rivers my characters encounter, among other things.  Also, in cases of extreme nerdiness, it’s fun to compare older routes with newer ones.  But mainly, these painstakingly hand-drawn maps are just so interesting to look at.

You can view some sharper images here and here.





Annie G said...

Love your links!
I have used the equivalent 'strip' maps for Ireland and am adding the links for interest :

See Taylor and Skinner's maps of the roads of Ireland, surveyed 1777

Apparently they had previously surveyed the London to Bath coach road and those in Scotland:
See G Taylor and A Skinner's Survey and maps of the roads of North Britain or Scotland, 1776

Jenna said...

Thank you so much for posting this! It will be incredibly helpful for my next book, even though it's set a little earlier than these maps.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

For more about strip maps, you might want to watch Terry Jones' Great Map Mystery series on YouTube. Here's episode one.

Candice Hern said...

I'm a devoted map lover, too! A 1796 copy of Paterson's and an 1815 copy of Cary's are treasured possessions! I love using them to plot travel routes.

Isobel Carr said...

I so just ordered a copy of the Bowle's book. What a cool resource!

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