Ordnance Survey ‘New Popular Edition’ map of Exeter (Sheet 176 of the National Grid mapping system) in one inch on the map = one mile on the ground scale.  Published in 1946 and could have been used until it was updated by the post-War re-survey of larger towns and cities was completed, which corrected past inaccuracies and mapped wartime destruction. 

These maps were used on family holidays to find your way and plan outings. Some people kept their maps in good condition and looked after them with care, others wrote on them, highlighting routes and viewpoints to be stopped at. Once the maps were unfolded it could be a challenge to fold them up again! 

Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping first started in the 18th century to provide detailed information on the landscape to enable the movement of troops and military campaign planning for defence purposes.  It was originally carried out by the Board of Ordnance, as the government’s defence department was called at the time.  During the Second World War, 6500 Trig Pillars were erected across Britain to enable accurate mapping of the landscape and, by 1945, by the time the War ended, 342 million maps had been created.  After the War, the National Grid system was introduced, still in use today, which breaks Britain down into progressively smaller squares, labelled using letters and numbers.  In 1945, the ‘New Popular’ Sixth Series of maps was started, each sheet covering an area of 40 x 45 km and incorporating the National Grid.  In 1974, one-inch scale maps, such as this one, were replaced by the metric system familiar today. 

The 7 shillings price for this ‘New Popular Edition’ map converts to about £12 in today’s money.  The modern equivalents of this One Inch map, the OS ‘Landranger’ and ‘Explorer’ series, currently cost around £9, so the price hasn’t changed that much, really. 

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More information:

Date 1940s
Material(s) Paper
Item number MBPO50

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