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Magdalena Peszko
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Although the concept of waterways as a means for transportation has been known for centuries, canals still play a vital role in trade – as highlighted by the recent obstruction of the Suez Canal when a wedged vessel disrupted international trade for nearly a week causing havoc and massive financial... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2021 at Maps and views blog
While dealing with an enquiry I came across this beautifully coloured copy of Münster’s Cosmographia. This monumental publication is one of the most important works of the Reformation era and considered one of the earliest modern descriptions of the world. The first edition was published in Basel in 1544 containing... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2021 at Maps and views blog
London, as well as many other cities around the world will not be having the traditional New Year’s Eve firework performance usually associated with this time of year so to cheer you all up here are some examples of historical firework displays found in the King’s Topographical Collection of maps... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2020 at Maps and views blog
11th December marks International Mountain Day giving us a great reason to celebrate mountains in maps! Mountains cover approximately 24% of the Earth’s land surfaces therefore not surprisingly they form a core features appearing on countless maps produced through centuries. Unlike vegetation or rivers which can disappear or change their... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2020 at Maps and views blog
You may already be aware with all the recent publicity surrounding the release of the first batch of images from the King’s Topographical Collection that this is indeed an incredible resource with countless unique maps and views. I thought I would share with you some of my favourite items which... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2020 at Maps and views blog
A guest post by Chantelle Richardson, Librarian of the National Library of Jamaica and former Chevening British Library Fellow Throughout my year at the British Library, I was privy to seeing some amazing resources. One of my projects focused on Non-book Bibliographic materials from Latin America and the Caribbean before... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2020 at Maps and views blog
With the 2020 Tour de France coming to a head in Paris this weekend (20th September) the final stage is expected to be a very different affair without the usual cheering crowds so I thought I’d mark the occasion by writing a blog about a very peculiar and unusual item... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2020 at Maps and views blog
On the 2nd September 1666 a fire started in a bakery in Pudding Lane near London Bridge. The flames quickly spread to neighbouring buildings and within a few hours the fire was out of control. Owing to the long period of drought and strong wind the fire burnt wildly for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2020 at Maps and views blog
For centuries scholars speculated about the Earth’s composition with many believing that our planet’s centre was occupied by an eternal inferno. By the mid-17th century geographers were attempting to describe man’s physical environment and maps played an important part in this process. The great minds were interested in and studied... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2020 at Maps and views blog
Have you ever heard of Potosí? Or perhaps wondered what is so special about this Bolivian city that it appeared on the early maps of South America alongside the views of well-known places like Havana, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City? Most atlases produced from the mid-16th to 19th century... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2020 at Maps and views blog
Exactly 250 years ago today Captain James Cook ‘discovered’ the Great Barrier Reef the hard way when his ship Endeavour ran into it on the 11th June 1770 and nearly sank. The Reef is located in the Coral Sea off the north-eastern coast of Australia and stretches some 2,300 km... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2020 at Maps and views blog
Growing interest in natural sciences in the 19th century resulted in the establishment of many scholarly societies devoted to the study and promotion of the advancement of specific disciplines, particularly geography. At this time military surveys were recognised as an instrumental administrative tool in generating data in order to produce... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at Maps and views blog
The 20th of May marks the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ death, a man whose name is immediately associated with early transatlantic voyages of exploration and discovery. When Columbus set off on his quest to establish the western sea passage to the East Indies he encountered entirely new lands. During his... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2020 at Maps and views blog
Today the world commemorates the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Renowned for her pioneering nursing work and the establishment of modern practices in this field, she understood the importance of well organised medical facilities and the need for trained nurses as crucial elements of efficient healthcare practice. Nightingale is best... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at Maps and views blog
The Eiffel Tower, Seattle’s Space Needle and the Atomium in Brussels – these instantly recognisable landmarks are must-see iconic attractions. Whilst original and daring in style, they also have something else in common - they are all architectural structures specifically designed for the Expo World Trade Fairs and maps relating... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2020 at Maps and views blog
The telegraph is one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century. It revolutionised long distance communication and British journalist and author Tom Standage even nicknamed it the Victorian Internet. Most of the world’s population nowadays use the internet on a daily basis and we rely on it for communication,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2020 at Maps and views blog
With spring in full bloom and Easter Bank Holiday approaching it can be tempting to go out for a stroll or even an Easter picnic. However, with the current pandemic you may consider the British Library Digital Collections instead which allow you to tour some of London’s parks without even... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2020 at Maps and views blog
The Collection of London Maps and Plans assembled by Frederick Crace is one of the Library’s treasures and offers an unparalleled overview of the history of London’s topography up to the mid-19th century. The collection contains a significant number of plans and drawings of public buildings including hospitals. With the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at Maps and views blog
Over the centuries the Levant (or the Middle East as we now know it) has received a significant amount of cartographic attention and has featured on countless maps. This isn’t particularly surprising considering the region’s role in trade between Europe and Asia but what makes it rather special is the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at Maps and views blog
For many of the thousands of British men and women who ventured abroad during the eighteenth century, travelling to Italy was the highlight of the trip. To some it was even considered an essential activity for any aspiring socialite or person of culture. In the words of Dr Samuel Johnson,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2018 at Maps and views blog
A remarkable new acquisition has arrived! Planning your neighbourhood is a proposal on twenty display boards for post-war reconstruction produced by an architect Ernő Goldfinger and Ursula Blackwell in 1944 for the Army Bureau of Current Affairs. Planning Your Neighbourhood. Title page. British Library Maps C.49.e.82. Goldfinger, educated in Vienna... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at Maps and views blog
Watch out for two new treasures from our map collection which went on display last week in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery. The new arrivals are two original manuscript maps – A correct outline of Scotland (Maps CC.5.a.223.) and Spain and Portugal (Maps CC.5.a.227.) both drawn by Lilian Lancaster (1852-1939)... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Maps and views blog
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Jul 8, 2016