An Overview of the Hornsey Historical Society Map Collection

We hold a small collection of reproductions of early maps dating from 1593 to 1787, and also hold a range of Ordnance Survey Maps dating from 1801. All the maps can be viewed at the Old Schoolhouse. We also have a variety of reprinted maps for sale.

Early maps

In considering the history of Hornsey the early maps showing Middlesex or the environs of London are obviously an important source of information. Amongst our collection are the following:

  • The earliest map is that of 1593 by John Norden called County of Middlesex from Speculum Britannica.
  • John Speed produced a map of Middlesex dated 1611 based on Norden’s map.
  • John Warburton’s 1724 map republished in 1749
  • Two maps by Roque: the 1746 map of London and its Environs and the 1754 Topographical Map of the County of Middlesex.
  • John Andrews’  An Accurate Map of the Country Fifteen Miles Round London, produced  in 1787

Few of these maps are original, in particular Norden’s and Roque’s maps are published copies, nevertheless they all help to make up valuable cartographic reference for those interested in the emergence of the district known as Hornsey.

We also have later 19th century maps and access on computer to the Enclosure Map of 1815 which is drawn to the scale of 3 chains (198 feet) to an inch.

Ordnance Survey maps

We also have the following Ordnance Survey Maps:

A. Six inches to a mile (1:10,560 or 880 feet to an inch) These maps show streets, public buildings and open spaces etc but do not show all individual properties, terraces of houses, for example, are shown diagrammatically. We have three six-inch sheets:

  • Middlesex 12. 1938,
  • Middlesex 7. 1938
  • Sheet TQ 28NE undated but post 1950

B. 1:2500 25 inches to a mile (208.33 feet to an inch or 1cm equals 25 metres) This is the most useful survey for most purposes. Each separate property is shown together with its curtilage and some of the early editions show garden layouts and individual trees. We have:

  • A complete set of the Third Edition of 1935/36 sheets covering Hornsey.
  • In addition, for three of the sheets we also have the Second Edition 1912/15
  • In the case of Middx. 12.10 we also have the First Edition 1869.

A key map has been prepared to show the areas covered by each of the sheets.

C. 1:1250 50 inches to a mile (104.16 feet to an inch or 1cm equals 12.5 metres) This scale of map was used for all urban areas after 1950. Like all Ordnance Survey Maps after that date, it is based on the National Grid and each sheet covers an area 500 metres square.

With twice the scale of the 1: 2500 series the maps can show individual properties and their curtilages in great detail. However they do not have the detail of the earlier 1:2500 sheets and certainly do not have the artistry of the very early sheets of that series.

We have 1:1250 sheets covering the whole of Hornsey dating mainly from the fifties. Although relatively modern, these sheets are now historic documents as the Ordnance Survey no longer publish large scale maps and mapping to this scale is now only available as digital printouts

D. 1:1056 60 inches to a mile (88feet to an inch) This scale was used for a survey of London and its environs from 1870. It is a very detailed map. We have only nine sheets of this series:

  • Six of the 1894-96 edition
  • Three of the 1935/6 edition

A key map shows the area covered by each sheet. Any sheets more than 50 years old may be reproduced without infringing the OS copyright.

Godfrey Maps

We also stock the Godfrey Maps which are reproductions of the OS 1:2500 maps to a smaller scale and cover some editions of the series that we do not have as originals.

We have a short article about how the Ordnance Survey maps evolved which helps put put the different scale OS maps in context.