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The Wonder of our Maps…

I will always remember the day in late-June when I received a not unsubstantial parcel in the post. 

An image of a selection of HTT Maps with alnwick & Alnmouth on top.

It was from Giles, our Cartographic Editor. He kindly arranged the delivery of the Historic Towns Trust’s back-catalogue of maps and atlases for me to look through to get a true understanding of our work and what we do.

Having just started at HTT earlier in the month, it was a wonderfully exciting initiation into the organisation. As I unfolded and spread out the collection across the living room floor – excitedly gazing between Tudor London, to Medieval Bristol via Swansea and York – I realised what an absolute privilege this job would be.

It became immediately clear how unique our publications are. The information that could be packed into one area on the map, showing the given location’s layered history is staggering. 

A sample of from the Cambridge Map with Tanner's Hall in the Centre.

Here’s an example from our newly published Cambridge map. Through careful design, the history of the buildings, whether they are pre/post medieval, whether they still stand today, their function, their layouts, nearby medieval earthworks, historic waterways and roman roads are all clearly shown in one snapshot.

They also include a deep pool of knowledge to truly immerse yourself in. We build partnerships with local groups who meticulously study their neighbourhoods’ histories to unearth the gems within. These discoveries serve as the basis for our publications and as a gazetteer printed on the maps’ reverse.

This research and expert cartography can also be used digitally, and our work can be found on websites such as Layers of London and Know Your Place.

HTT Cartographer Giles Darkes discussing a map with two individuals.

With such engaging publications, it is exciting to think of all the audiences we can reach, organisations we can partner with and all the fascinating places throughout England, Scotland and Wales we can map in the future.


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