John Bartholomew: Scion of a map-making dynasty

Only those who have experienced it themselves can appreciate what it means to be born into a dynasty. Six generations of the Bartholomew family, culminating in John Bartholomew (John Christopher Bartholomew, or "JCB") and his younger brothers Peter and Robert, built the map-making dynasty of John Bartholomew and Sons.

Opinions vary as to the impact of his background on JCB. Schooling at Edinburgh Academy and Gordonstoun might have prompted him to break the mould, as might Second World War service in the Royal Engineers, in East Africa and the Middle East. However, he returned home to study Geography at Edinburgh University, while at the same time undertaking a cartographic apprenticeship at Bartholomew's.

In 1960 he became Cartographic Director, taking over, inter alia, supervision, until his retirement in 1984, of the numerous succeeding editions of the Times World Atlas. Changes in the world of commerce ultimately led to the sale of the company to Reader's Digest in 1980, so, although the name of Bartholomew would continue, the dynastic succession would not.

Cartography is extremely demanding, if the location and nature of places is to be accurately represented, as required by the intended user. Training, temperament and time produced in Bartholomew a man who, magnifying glass in hand, could identify any wrong mark on a printing plate, or any typographical error. He trod the earth, in the footsteps of his illustrious forebears, carefully and lightly, never being rushed to judgement. His peers recognised qualities which resulted in his being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1970, President of the British Cartographic Society, 1970-71, and Vice-President of the International Cartographic Association, 1972-80.

Consciousness of their international significance and their conservation needs led John Bartholomew to play a major part in bringing about the depositing in the National Library of Scotland (NLS) of two important cartographic collections. These are the Bartholomew Archive and the John Bartholomew Collection. The former came to the NLS in instalments, particularly from 1985 when control passed to HarperCollins. Consisting of a number of albums, the main series of which begins in 1877 and continues up to the 1960s/70s, it is in process of being conserved. The John Bartholomew Collection, of antiquarian atlases dating from 1525 to 1865, was donated in 1995 by the family in memory of John Bartholomew ("JB", 1890-1962).

In 1884, John George Bartholomew ("JGB") had played a pivotal role in the creation of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and served as Honorary Secretary. He was succeeded by "JB", to be followed from 1960 until 1988 by "JCB", thus constituting 104 years of continuous service. JCB's presidency (1987-93) saw major changes for the society, among them relocation of its headquarters from Edinburgh to Glasgow in 1993. JCB was not convinced of the wisdom of locating the headquarters outside Edinburgh; however, his example in accepting change, his unfailing courtesy, his calm and measured approach, contributed greatly to general acceptance.

John Bartholomew enjoyed properly researched travel and had experience of all the continents except Antarctica. He was a valued contributor to the work of the Scottish Rights of Way Society. His membership of the Scottish Arts Club reflected his other interests. His religious faith, never worn on his sleeve, was vital to him. Brought up in the Church of Scotland, after mature consideration he approached and was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church.

He bequeaths to posterity a substantial personal library and archive which will prove rewarding of study. This is far from being his only valuable legacy, for he enriched the lives of many who came to know him and most valuable of all, with the loving help and guidance of his wife, Ginette, and their five sons, he has bequeathed his talented grandchildren. John Bartholomew always enjoyed being confronted by a new map or a new landscape, but was never happier than when amidst his family.

Alistair B. Cruickshank

John Christopher Bartholomew, cartographer: born Edinburgh 15 January 1923; Cartographic Director, John Bartholomew and Sons 1960-84; married 1956 Ginette Achard-James (five sons); died Edinburgh 16 January 2008.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz