Using maps in the classroom

This map of Surrey was produced in about 1750.

Before the Ordnance Survey’s commission to map the whole of Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries there was no uniformity in map making. A few detailed very early maps exist for some towns, villages and estates but you would be lucky to find one for your area. The very earliest published maps were privately printed for a comparatively small market. They often show only what was of interest to the person or organization commissioning the map.

In the nineteenth century special maps were produced to accompany Acts of Parliament which enclosed common or waste land in some parts of the country whilst the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 required the production of ‘tithe maps’, many of which are enormous in size but cover only what land was titheable. In Surrey tithe maps cover parishes and many were based on enclosure maps if they existed. Where parishes had organised a satisfactory system for paying tithes before 1836 they weren’t affected by the Act and therefore didn’t have maps.

This a plan of the titheable lands of the Parish of Horsell 1854 (note that parts of Horsell are unmapped here) scale: 6 chains to the inch.

The Ordnance Survey (OS) was the first accurate and reliable survey of the country to be produced. It was set up in 1791 as part of a military plan to defend the country against the possible threat of invasion by the French. The very first OS edition to appear was at the scale of 1″ to the mile published from 1805 (now replaced by the 1:50,000 scale). Surrey, sheet 8 was surveyed in the 1790s but not published until 1816.

The earliest detailed large scale (25 inches to the mile) Ordnance Survey maps for Surrey date from the 1860s or 70s – dates vary according to the area as some parts of the country were surveyed before others. There were four regular editions before the Second World War. The first edition for Surrey was in 1860/70, the second edition in the 1890s, the third in the 1910s and the fourth in the 1930s. There was very little civilian mapping during the second world war and there have been no regular editions of maps produced since. The Surrey History Centre has a good coverage of maps but it cannot be guaranteed that we have a copy of each pre-war edition for every part of the county. To see if there are suitable maps of your area for use in the classroom contact the Learning Officer.

Maps can be used with Census returns and population statistics and County and town directories to build up a picture of the development of an area.

Copyright on OS maps for classroom use

Copyright is a very complex issue and you may need to ask a member of staff for advice about the maps you wish to have copied.

Pre World War Two OS Maps

Within any constraints of the law of copyright and if there are no restrictions for conservation reasons, maps from our holdings may be copied for use in the classroom.

Post World War Two OS Maps

Maps will all be subject to some copyright restrictions. Surrey Local Education Authority (LEA) schools wanting copies of maps for classroom use in Surrey will be covered by the County Council’s licence to copy. Many private schools and educational establishments hold their own OS licence but unless this specifies copying from a public library it will not cover material within the holding of the Surrey History Centre. A member of school staff must produce a licence to copy public library material before copies can be taken.

Goad Plans

Published by Charles Goad not the Ordnance Survey. These are modern large scale plans for town centres and although the Surrey History Centre holds some plans for some towns you may find that if there is a large library in the town you’re interested in they may have a copy of the map you want there. Goad plans are produced every year and this makes them particularly useful for tracing the recent development of town centres. Teachers, please note – Copyright. These maps are not covered by Ordnance Survey Licence, you will need to buy a map for classroom use from Charles Goad.

Heritage Learning and Communities Officer
Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND
[email protected]

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