Early road map on show

IT IS 400 years since this map, the first in Britain to show roads, was published, writes David Keys. Prepared by John Norden in 1593, it covered Middlesex on a scale of 1:12,000 and, together with a guidebook, would have sold for about a shilling (equivalent to about pounds 25 today). Before 1593, maps were not designed for travellers, but for people interested in property ownership and antiquarian sites. Norden's map, now in the British Library, does not appear to have been a great success. Essex followed Middlesex in 1594, but never went into print, and from then on he left roads off his maps. Norden's work was also the first to use a key, with symbols for churches, mills, and castles. After Norden, road cartography ceased for about 80 years, and the Civil War was fought with hardly a road map in sight.

(Photograph omitted)

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