Skip to content

This Catalogue of British Town Maps locates town maps extant in UK public archives and libraries.  It provides details of almost 8,000 maps and provides for each the key cartographical and other features and the location of publicly-accessible exemplars. Associated with each catalogue entry is a PDF image outlining the area covered by the map.  Catalogue information is available from a straightforward and easily searchable user interface. For ease of access the maps are also searchable via a simple Google maps search function.
This electronic catalogue of British town maps and their associated boundary maps is accompanied by a printed book: Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver, British Town Maps: a History, London, British Library, 2015, 166 figures, 256pp.  ISBN 978 0 7123 5729 6.  Price: £30.00. The book provides a brief narrative history of British town maps and mapping and further details on how the Catalogue was compiled.

Search Page

This page allows you to identify particular town maps by searching the catalogue of all the urban maps known to be extant and available at the time the fieldwork for this project was undertaken. You can search by any or all combinations of county, place or year. However, it is a requirement to enter, as a minimum, a specific county or place. Alternatively, you can also enter the reference number (CBTM) of the required map which can be obtained from the index of the forthcoming printed book: Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver, The Town Maps of Britain. County level search criteria are entered via a drop-down list and other criteria by simply entering text. Once you have entered your criteria click on the search button immediately below and the results will appear in a new window. You can also search via the Google Maps search function. After selecting a county of interest you can click on the ‘Search by Google Maps’ button which will provide red pin drop hyperlinks to all the available map entries for a particular county.

Browse by Google Maps on the front page

The frontpage displays all the maps available in this database using the Google Maps. Each available map is indicated with a red pin drop hyperlink. Click on a cluster marker to reveal the map pins, and then click on a pin drop and a pop-up window will appear providing a link to the basic details of the chosen map, or a list of all maps available on the one location.

Full catalogue record for a selected map

This page shows the full catalogue record for the selected map. If variables are blank or missing it means no information is available for that particular map. Below the variables list you can download a PDF of the full map area, as well as see a view of the map area outlined in red on an Ordnance Survey base-map dated from between 1874-1914. Beside this is also a Google maps display with a red pin drop indicating the location of the map on the current Google map.

Browser compatibility

The map area display at the bottom of the map record pages work best using an up-to-date web browser. Older web browsers may be unable to display the Ordnance Survey PDF files inside the web page directly. If you are unable to view this, please update your browser or use the link provided to download the full PDF.

Notes on the data

  • There are a number of entries, largely from Scotland, for which there are no ‘town maps’ although there are references to Ordnance Survey maps for these entries. These entries have limited information listing only the town, county, year, and scale of the OS map(s). There are no PDF boundary images or Google maps feature for these entries. The CBTM for these entries range from 200003 to 200146.
  • Sub divisions of counties, e.g. Hundreds, Wapentakes, etc., are not included.
  • Bristol is situated in Gloucestershire.
  • The wider metropolis of London was not a separate county before 1888, and neither must it be confused with the distinct City of London, therefore many places currently thought of as London are to be found in Middlesex, Surrey, Essex or Kent.
  • The Isle of Wight is included as a separate county and not as part of Hampshire.
  • For County of Southampton, search under Hampshire.
  • For Soke of Peterborough, search under Northamptonshire.
  • For Isle of Ely, search under Cambridgeshire
  • The alternative names for Scottish counties, such as Angus, were only adopted officially at various times after 1900. The counties are listed using the historical name with the modern one in parenthesis, e.g. Forfarshire [Angus].
  • If no maps are listed following a search, such as for Island of Skye (Inner Hebrides), that means that there are no maps for that area included in the database.
  • The county boundaries used are those current immediately before the passing of the Local – Government Act of 1888. They are used both in the Enclosure Maps database, hosted by UK Data Archive, and in the Historic Parishes of England and Wales: An Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata, published by the HDS in 2001. They also correspond to the boundaries on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 and larger-scale mapping, published 1846-91 and readily available over the internet.
  • The base-maps are mostly derived from Ordnance Survey 1:63,360 mapping published 1874-1914. Base-maps at 1:10,560, 1:126,720 and 1:243,440 are derived from Ordnance Survey material of similar date, except for limited 1:126,720 mapping in northern Scotland which is derived from Bartholomew mapping of the early 1900s.
  • Unfortunately the additional Google map function in the ‘Area covered by the Map’ results page will not currently display using Windows Explorer; although the more important annotated base-map does display properly. The Google map function works fine in all other browsers including Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari and we would therefore recommend you use one of these browsers if you require that functionality.
  • Download the The Catalogue of British Town Maps to 1900 (CBTM) Guide for Users