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The key principles of the Trust's Partnerships

The Historic Towns Trust has developed a long-standing successful arrangement of working with partner organisations to create the British Historic Towns Atlas and Town & City Historical Maps.

To continue to build on this 50-year track record of publishing, the HTT welcomes new partnerships with organisations that share the Trust’s vision and mission.

The following principles and guidelines are provided to help potential partners formulate new atlas and map projects in collaboration with the HTT.

Principle 1

HTT will work with willing partner organisations who share our aims

As far as possible, we look for partners who have:

  • charitable aims which broadly align with those of the HTT;

  • strong local standing and community connections;

  • sufficient expertise to deliver a high-quality project;

  • the ability to share in the task of fundraising under an agreement with the HTT; and

  • are ready to draw up an agreement with the Trust along the lines set out below.

Principle 2

HTT will pursue certain standards through partnerships

As far as possible, we aim:

  • to produce British Historic Towns Atlas volumes (and associated historical urban mapping) that meet the national (i.e. the HTT) and the international (i.e. International Committee for the History of Towns) standards for historic towns atlases, so as to aid comparative and local study of historic towns;

  • to adhere to the standard cartographic formats of the BHTA as followed internationally by national HTA committees, including maps created to a common scale, with standardised symbologies, and fitting with the conventions of the British Historic Towns Atlas;

  • to uphold high quality assurance processes as overseen by the HTT in terms of publication content, review procedures, image reproduction and production values.

Principle 3

HTT will agree a Memorandum of Understanding with each partner

A Memorandum of Understanding would normally include such elements as:

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)/ownership and acknowledgements;

  • Authorship of outputs;

  • Copyright agreements;

  • Publisher of the work(s);

  • Printing and production;

  • The production of a project plan (as below)

  • Distribution of income from sales

Principle 4

HTT and our partners will agree a project plan to give effect to the Memorandum of Understanding

A project plan would normally include such elements as:

  • A business plan with details of financing and fund-raising;

  • A timetable for production and delivery;

  • Plans for publicity and public outreach;

  • Sales and marketing plan;

  • Production details of the output(s), including publisher, format and content.


Become a Trust Project Partner

Are you interested in producing an atlas volume or map series for your town? We love to hear from local groups or university departments who may be interested in working with us to prepare a new volume in the British Historic Towns Atlas (BHTA) series or a historical map.

We view the creation of each publication as a partnership from the outset. We are here to help answer questions, such as those below, about what is involved. If we agree there is the potential to prepare an atlas or a map, we will be there, alongside you, all the way through to publication and follow up.

If the idea of producing a volume about your town or a map of your town sounds interesting, we welcome enquiries below.

Q: What is the British Historic Towns Atlas?

A: The volumes in our atlas series form part of a Europe-wide endeavour to produce atlases that tell the story of how historic towns developed. BHTA volumes are regarded as unrivalled in scholarly content and quality of cartography.

They contain huge amounts of information about the history of the towns that they cover. As an educational and research resource they are second to none. They are invaluable in helping to understand and conserve Britain’s historic towns at a time when they face daunting pressure for change.

All of our volumes have been produced in a high-quality board folder containing maps, illustrations, a text explaining the history of the town or city, and a gazetteer of the places named on the maps. Future volumes will maintain their outstanding quality but we have introduced several important changes to help bring down costs and speed up production.

In recent years the HTT has also published separate historical sheet maps of British towns (including Winchester, York and Oxford) as part of the larger project to produce an atlas, as Town & City Historical Maps. A map of this kind may well continue and become a component of a future atlas volume..

Q: What are HTT’s plans for the future of the series?

A: We plan to increase the number of volumes so that we can cover more towns and include parts of Britain that are as yet poorly represented; and to include different types of towns, for example those shaped by their industrial past or spa or resort towns. Our ambition is to achieve:

a representative national coverage that will provide at least one volume of the British Historic Towns Atlas for every historic county or regional authority in Britain by 2050.

Q: What kind of bodies are the partners?

A: A: Our ambitious plans to extend the series will only be realised by identifying willing partners who are ready to work with us and mobilise local support. Partners — normally one per town but two or more local groups sometimes come together — may be voluntary sector bodies like a local archaeological, historical or civic amenity society, or university departments, or local museums. What matters is the willingness to lead the project and the local networks the partner(s) can mobilise in support.

Q: How are volumes of the atlas prepared?

Producing a volume of the atlas is a serious and long-term commitment, with significant financial and staffing implications. The key to success is the partnership forged between the HTT and the local partner(s).

If, together, we feel confident that we have the potential to produce a publication, then we will jointly draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (see the sample MoU attached lower down the page) as a framework to guide the partnership at every stage through to publication – and beyond.

Q: What do we expect our partners to do?

A: The most important thing is commitment to the project. We ask partners to:

  • help raise funds to cover the costs of production. Some of these costs will be recouped through sales under a royalty agreement. The royalties from sales of separate sheet maps are also usually shared;

  • secure access to the information needed to build up the text and map content of the volume. Being familiar with the latest historical research about the town in question, and being able to access it and secure the participation of the researchers is an essential role of the local partner;

  • lead the local efforts to raise wider interest in the project, especially among schools, local history and archaeology groups, tourism centres and local authorities;

  • coordinate the local marketing of the publication, for examples by interesting local bookshops and taking advantage of suitable events;

  • appoint an Atlas Project Manager. He/she will have overall editorial responsibility for publication content and budgetary matters, and will work closely with the HTT’s Cartographic Editor and an HTT trustee nominated as the contact point for the project, in the creation of the cartography and compilation of the elements for the final atlas publication.

Q: What will HTT do to help?

A: For our part, the Trust will:

  • contribute some start-up funds to establish the project, act a ‘banker’ for funds if necessary, advise on fundraising and grant applications and lend our support to funding bids;

  • advise on editorial and cartographic issues through the work of the Cartographic Editor and nominated trustee;

  • undertake the cartography and co-ordinate the textual elements of the atlas and liaise with the book producers. The cartography and atlas project-management are two of the biggest costs of the project and are paid for from the project funds raised by our partners.

  • publish the volume or the map – whilst sharing copyright with the partner(s) concerned;

  • arrange the printing, distribution and marketing of the volume, working closely with the partner on local aspects of this;

  • make freely available all our experience with the BHTA series over more than 50 years.

You can download and read more about the way the HTT will cooperate with local partners in our recent atlas review report 'Mapping the Way Forward', along with the details of the Memorandum of Understanding that will underpin the partnership.

HTT-Mapping the way forward - the future of the BHTA
Download PDF • 2.27MB

Q: If I am interested, what do I do next?

If you think you might be interested, we would be pleased to hear from you and would be delighted to explore the scope for a possible partnership along these lines. Please contact us below and a Trustee member will be in touch.


Trust Project Guides

The Trust has produced comprehensive guides on how to run both atlas volume and map projects. As they are designed to cover all aspects of a project, they might look rather daunting to potential partners. However we guarantee they will prove useful when the project starts in earnest. These guides are provided to potential partners once the initial approach has been made and a HTT trustee has explained what is involved in a project. Below is a sample of the guide.

HTT-Sample MoU for producing a BHTA volume
Download PDF • 280KB

Short Guides

For those who would just like the gist of both types of project, we have also produced a useful short guide which is available to download below.

HTT-A short guide to creating T&C maps
Download PDF • 2.26MB

Related projects and partners:


Related projects and partners:

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