Saturday, 26 January 2019

Side by side maps

I spend a lot of time looking at maps. I obviously use them to plan walks, but I also find them objects of beauty in their own right.

But maps can also be historical documents, and the National Library of Scotland have created an excellent resource that allows you to compare various historic and modern maps.

The detail this shows can be amazing. You can see how villages have grown over time, or how factories and railways have disappeared from the landscape.

As an example, below is a comparison of the Purfleet gunpowder stores, with an 1892-1914 Ordnance Survey map compared to the latest Google Maps view.

It is still recognisably the same location. However the pier has disappeared, whilst all but the southernmost of the gunpowder store buildings having been replaced with flats. Even though much of the surrounding area has been redeveloped, the outline of the old military area can still be seen in the landscape within the loop of Centurian Way.

Or this one of the centre of Derby, where virtually nothing remains the same. The canal and basin and many streets of houses have disappeared, replaced with roads, shops and the massive Westfield shopping centre. Only a few streets have remained the same, and one of those, Morledge, has been radically reduced in size. Not even the street layout has been respected.
This website has proven to be an invaluable resource for me, and one that is an utter time sink: I spend far too long just scrolling through the landscape, seeing how areas have changed.

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