Digimap for Schools Launches 1950s Maps of Great Britain

Digimap for Schools Launches 1950s Maps of Great Britain

Digimap for Schools now has a second historic map layer added to its popular online service, giving teachers and pupils direct access to Ordnance Survey mapping from three centuries. Covering the whole of Great Britain, the new historic map layer features OS mapping from the 1950s and comes with a unique tool that allows users to compare this mapping with mapping from the 1890s and present day.

The historic OS maps have been scanned and geo-referenced by the National Library of Scotland (NLS). The 1 inch maps were published between 1952 and 1961 by Ordnance Survey and were originally known as the ‘Seventh Series’. This was the last series to be known as ‘1 inch’ before its replacement in the 1970s by 1:50 000 scale mapping.

Basingstoke 1890s

Basingstoke 1890s
Credit: OS

The 1890s OS maps in Digimap for Schools were originally published between 1895 and 1899 as the Revised New Series in England and Wales and the 2nd Edition in Scotland. These historic maps are high quality scans at 400dpi for Scotland and 600dpi for England and Wales, which means pupils can enlarge them far beyond their original 1 inch to 1 mile scale.

Elaine Owen, Schools Manager at OS, says: “Teachers are very enthusiastic about the 1890s mapping, but asked us if it would be possible to add some historic mapping somewhere in-between the Victorian map and the modern day. The 1950’s map is the perfect halfway point revealing the landscape in the post WW2 period. It is a fantastic resource for teachers and pupils for looking at how landscapes have changed for geography and for local history projects”.

Basingstoke 1950s Credit: OS

Basingstoke 1950s
Credit: OS

Pupils and teachers using Digimap for Schools can save and print maps at A4 and A3 size. The maps can be printed as a historical map, or combined with the modern map at different transparency settings as a merged image. The full set of annotation tools is available for use on the historic map, providing many opportunities for students to highlight changes.

Since Digimap for Schools launched in 2010, the service has been adopted by over 25% of secondary schools. Digimap for Schools is open to all schools in Great Britain via an annual subscription. The subscription costs £69 for a primary school and up to £144 for a secondary school.

Chris Fleet, Senior Map Curator at NLS said: “The Ordnance Survey ‘Seventh Series’ not only provides an excellent overview of the landscape of Great Britain in the 1950s, but also a very attractive one through its colour scheme, hand-lettering, and symbols. The maps quickly became a standard topographic authority, deservedly popular with a wide range of users, and today they allow many useful insights to be made into the physical and human landscape of half a century ago. The ‘Seventh Series’ also represents the final blossoming of the Ordnance Survey’s trademark one-inch to the mile map before its replacement in the 1970s by 1:50 000 scale mapping.”

Basingstoke today Credit: OS

Basingstoke today
Credit: OS

Peter Burnhill, Director of EDINA at the University of Edinburgh, says: “Students, pupils and their teachers now have unrivalled access to the very best maps to gain rich understanding of how Britain’s urban and rural landscape has changed in over a century. The result is endlessly fascinating enhancing the relevance of teaching based on schools and their neighbourhoods. The skill and generosity of staff at the National Library of Scotland have enabled a real sense of place when combined with Ordnance Survey’s maps of today’s Britain.”

For further information about Digimap for Schools, please contact JISC Collections for Schools by email: help.digitalresources@jisc.ac.uk

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