Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Maps"

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Maps—The ordinary ordnance maps of London and its environs are:  1. One on a scale of one inch to a mile, which shows the environs stretching some eighteen miles to east and west, and twelve or thirteen north and south, of the City, sold at 2s. 6d. per copy and dating about fifty years back. 2. The same map on four quarter sheets, at 1s. per quarter, showing improvements up to 1872. 3. A map contained on four sheets, scale six inches to a mile, price 1s. per sheet, which sheets are also published in four quarters at the same price, on a scale of twelve inches. Both the latter are what are known as skeletons—that is to say, only showing streets, roads, and rivers, without houses or other characteristics. The next size is a map on a scale of twenty-five inches to a mile, published in eighty-nine sheets, at 2s. 6d - each, which gives full details of houses, &c. and the last and largest on a scale of five feet to a mile, in 327 sheets, at 2s. each. These form the basis of most, if not of all, the private maps published , the skeletons being filled up in each case in accordance with the special object in view. Dealing first with what may be termed the normal map, which gives streets, squares, buildings, &c without any very specially distinguishing method of treatment, REYNOLDS’S COLOURED MAP OF LONDON is the most comprehensive of those that have as yet come into our hands, being, indeed, the only one which takes any account of that not very fashionable, but very populous district fast springing up west of Shepherd’s Bush-green, and threatening, before many years or even months are over, to join London to Acton as it has already joined it to Richmond. It is divided into quarter-miles, and has an illustrated index of streets, &c. MESSRS. W. H. SMITH & SON’s NEW PLAN OF LONDON it a remarkably clear and well-printed skeleton map, extending from Hammersmith to Blackwall, and from Upper Holloway to Brixton. It is very lightly and judiciously coloured, all water being tinted blue, and all grass green; whilst omnibus and tramway routes are traced out in yellow. The number of these routes, and the way in which they permeate every section of the town, is one of the most striking features of London, and comes out in this map with especial clearness. Another good point is the distinguishing between underground and surface railways, not in the ordinary fashion by eliminating the former altogether, but by differently-coloured lines. Altogether this map, which is divided into half-mile squares, calculated from St. Paul’s, is one of the most generally useful we have received. COLLINS’S STANDARD MAP OP LONDON, with illustrated guide, is a large, useful map, boldly printed, and with the stations, railways, docks, canals, &c., brought prominently forward by means of colour. It is divided into mile squares, indicated at the top and bottom by letters, and at the sides by figures, and has attached to the wrapper a small pamphlet, with woodcuts of some of the principal places of interest, and brief notes upon them. PHILLIPS’S MAP OF LONDON FOR VISITORS is of a similar kind, but on a somewhat smaller scale, more lightly printed, and with a less free use of colour. It is divided on the same principle, but into half-mile squares, and is printed on rather thicker paper. WALTHAM BROTHERS’ POCKET MAP OF LONDON (C. Smith and Co.) is a rough-and-ready little article, about the size of a small cotton pocket-handkerchief, mounted on strong calico, and folding into almost the compass of a rather small purse. It is a skeleton map, but is very clear and good, the railways and stations being printed in red. HOULSTON’S HANDY MAP OF LONDON is very similar, but on paper only, and folding into a paper wrapper. THOMAS LETTS’S SOUTH LONDON, and OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE BOAT-RACE MAPS are, as their name implies, partial in their bearing. The former, indeed, which is on the one-inch scale, has a rather more ambitious scope than its title would necessarily imply, being, in fact, a map not so much of South London as of the southern environs extending a mile or two beyond Croydon and Cheam. It is a very handy little map, about three inches square when folded in its cloth case, and very clearly drawn. The boat-race map is about the same size or a trifle bigger, and deals, as its name implies, exclusively with that section of the river between Putney and Mortlake, over which the famous race is rowed. It is on the six-inch scale, giving roads, paths, &c., in considerable detail and is a very useful companion for any stranger bent on assisting at the great aquatic event of the London year.
We come next to three railway maps, all of considerable interest in relation to the subject with which they more especially deal. MESSRS. W. H. SMITH & SONS RAILWAY STATION MAP OF LONDON AND ITS ENVIRONS, on the scale of one inch to one mile, extends from Windsor to Chiselhurst, and from a little north of Edgware to about a mile south of Epsom Downs. The tinting here is in counties, but is put in very lightly, thus throwing up the heavily-marked railway lines, which are the especial feature of the map. Following out the same idea, the names of railway stations are printed in a blacker type than that used for other places, the various indications of parks, gentleman’s seats, roads, &c., being also kept under as much as possible. One peculiar feature of this map is the unusually elaborate manner in which it is marked off for the calculation of distances. It is divided not only into three-mile squares, but into mile circles, the starting-point in each case being St. Paul’s. Altogether, for railway use, one of the best maps of the series. AIREY’S RAILWAY MAP is almost unique in its way, devoting itself to its subject with a singleness of purpose which is really almost sublime, and absolutely ignoring all such minor features of the country it portrays as hills, roads, streets, churches, public buildings, and so forth. It is rather startling at first to find the Metropolitan Railway pursuing its course through a country as absolutely devoid of feature as was the “Great Sahara” in the good old African maps of the Pre-Spekian period. But, as a matter of fact, it is only by such means that Mr. Airey attains, or can attain, his object, which is just to convey in simple but unmistakable form a considerable amount of curious information as to the ownership of the various lines which honeycomb the metropolis in every direction. Some of the facts thus conveyed are rather quaint, as, for instance, when we find a stray fragment of the London, Chatham, and Dover extending from the Crystal Palace High Level station to Nunhead, and thence, on either hand, to Blackheath-hill and Peckham Rye, absolutely isolated from the rest of the system, and only accessible over the metals of the London & Brighton Company. The real student of the metropolis will find this map well worth studying. LONDON RAILWAYS SIMPLIFIED AND EXPLAINED is a trifle less rigid in the simplicity of its adherence to one idea, inasmuch as it devotes a plain thick line—a mere scratch such as in ordinary maps of Europe serves to denote a fourth-rate river—to the tracing out of the more important streets and roads. But with it, as with  Mr. Airey’s, the railway system is the be-all and the end-all of its existence, and from it may in like manner be extracted a large store of useful and interesting information, much of it, indeed, to the ordinary traveller, of even more practical interest. The map distinguishes each separate railway according to its proprietary by a double system of colours and continuous or broken lines. Where the trains of one company have running powers over the metals of another, the same coloured or marked line is continued alongside of that proper to the railway itself but of a lighter type. In some instances five or six different lines may be seen wending their way side by side, while the uninitiated student is astonished to find the Midland, the North Western, and so forth, stretching out their feelers half-way between London and Brighton, whilst on the other hand the London and Brighton line burrows under the river on its way to Liverpool-street, and the ubiquitous London, Chatham, and Dover thinks nothing of thrusting out its tentacles to Palmer’s Green or Colney Hatch. It may be observed that these two maps do not in all respects entirely agree, as, for example, in the case of the little bit of London, Chatham, and Dover already referred to; which the map now in question connects with the parent metals by a line of its own running alongside the London and Brighton road from Peckham Rye. The ILLUSTRATED MAP OF LONDON (C. Smith and Son) is another specialty map, and of a very curious appearance, being printed on a solid orange ground, as of a glorified London fog. It is, however, one of the most useful maps that the tourist visitor could well carry about with him, every building of any importance, from his point of view, being given in propria persona on Brobdingnagian scale, whilst the omission of all ordinary houses, &c., and of all but the really important streets, reduces the problem of finding the way to a really charming simplicity. The railway stations too, coloured a bright red, are actual buildings into and out of which the railways to which they appertain pass visibly, as in the very structures themselves, and the whole map, which is by no means unwieldy in size, and which is strongly mounted on stiff cotton, is a capital companion. So, too, is the INDICATOR MAP OF LONDON and VISITORS GUIDE of the same firm, which has for specialty a good tape arrangement, by grace of which and of the alphabetical list of some 7,000 streets pasted into the cover, any required place can be found in a moment. The Indicator map, indeed, requires to be laid upon a table when consulted, and so far, for use at street corners its orange-coloured competitor would probably have the advantage of it. But, en revanche, the Indicator will conduct the enquirer at once to thousands of places with, which the other does not profess or care to deal, and for practical indoor use is probably one of the best published.
Arriving now at the maps of the country immediately around London, one of the handiest little sheets of really pocket size is LETTS’S ENVIRONS OF LONDON, on the inch scale, which folds up into a little cloth case of between three and four inches square, and is exceedingly clear and legible It extends from Hanwell to Erith Marshes, and from about a mile north of Friern Barnet to about half a mile south of Norwood Junction, the railways being coloured red except when under ground. It may, perhaps be questioned whether this exception is not a mistake, the almost entire disappearance of the Metropolitan Railway thus produced having a rather curious effect. But it is a capital little map. HOULSTON S HANDY MAP OF SURREY is another of the same kind, quite small enough for the waistcoat-pocket, yet containing all necessary detail. LETTS’S SURVEY OF THE COUNTRY ROUND LONDON, to the distances of thirty-two miles from St. Paul’s, is, of course, a much larger sheet, though on a slightly smaller scale. It contains also rather more detail, but dispenses altogether with the use of colour. STANFORD’S MAP OF TWELVE MILES ROUND LONDON, on the other hand, which is on a considerably larger scale, uses colour freely, to distinguish between the various counties; the railways also being laid down in red, while the parks, river, are shown similarly distinguished. MESSRS. W. H. SMITH & SON’S MAP OF THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON, on the scale of one inch to one mile, extends from Windsor to East Wickham, and from South Mimms to Epsom Downs. It is coloured in counties, of which it contains portions of no less than eight, the railways being strongly marked in red. The roads, parks, gentleman’s seats, &c., with all the natural features of the country, are clearly distinguished, the names of all places of any importance being printed in type of a size very acceptable to eyes that have lost something of their first vigour. THE EXCURSIONIST’S MAP OF THE ENVIRONS OF LONDON is on the half-inch scale, and uses colour for the boundaries of counties only. It is a useful map for its purpose, and giving fewer details than that last mentioned, is to some extent easier of reference. On the other hand REYNOLDS’S OARSMAN’S AND ANGLER’S MAP OF THE RIVER THAMES, from its source to London. bridge, and the same firm’s COLOURED CHART OF THE THAMES ESTUARY, with map of the river from London to Gravesend, abound in detail; the former especially having its wide margin studded thick with useful hints as to islands, weirs, ferries, currents, favourable fishing-grounds, preserves, but the two finest maps that have come into our hands are STANFORD’S ENVIRONS OF LONDON, extending twenty-five miles from the metropolis, and the same firm’s magnificent six-inch scale map of London in twenty-four handy sheets. It is hardly necessary to say that neither of them are strictly adapted—or intended—for casual study at street corners on stormy days, but for home use they are as nearly perfect as maps can well be, while their scale admits of an amount of detail which in smaller sheets would be hopelessly confusing to the most practised eye.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879