John Bartholomew's Half Inch Maps: 1895 - 1960


An Overview by Kit Batten
Copyright 2020.

I completed this short essay on the Bartholomew Half-Inch maps shortly before donating my collection to the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter.
The essay is divided into three parts 
1. The Bartholomew Company and the Development of the Half-Inch map series until 1960.
2. A list of examples of the North Devon sheets donated to DHC with different states.
3. A list of examples of the South Devon sheets donated to DHC with different states.

Click North Devon or South Devon to go directly to examples of different states.

1. The Bartholomew Company and the Development of the Half-Inch map series until 1960.

The Bartholomew Company


The first in a long line of engravers, George Bartholomew was not the real founder of the Bartholomew family business, this would be John Bartholomew, George's son. Daniel Lizars was a successful and well-respected engraver with his own business. One of his apprentices would be George Bartholomew (1784-1871) and George would be working for Lizars from 1797 in Edinburgh carrying out a wide variety of work including town plans such as those of Edinburgh in 1825 and 1829, published by J Lothian of St Andrew Square. But George was a journeyman working for anyone who required his skills and, later in life, being employed by his son. It is this son, John Bartholomew (senior) who will become an independent businessman and found the company of John Bartholomew and who will focus a lot of the firm's attention on the production of maps.

John Bartholomew was born in 1805. He finishes his apprenticeship in 1826 and within two years has established himself as an engraver to whom the company Gray & Son of Glasgow turns to help when another engraver lets them down. Perhaps the Directory Plan of Edinburgh, carried out for W & D Lizars in 1826, is his first cartographic work. If it is, it was a landmark for the company and gave the firm the direction it would generally take for the next two hundred years. At this time he is at 4 East St James Street, at the east end of Edinburgh's Princes Street.

By 1855 Bartholomew is married with five children and living at 59 York Place. His son Henry, born in 1834, is employed along with five engravers and apprentices and John's father. Meanwhile John junior, born 1831, has been studying the engraving arts by spending two years with Augustus Petermann at Justus Perthes' London office. Despite the allure of the offer of working for Perthes in Gotha, Prince Albert's home, John returns to take the reins of his father's business. John senior relinquishes control of the company in 1859 after seeing the company move to larger premises at 4 North Bridge.  Two years later, when he dies, the wages bill of the company runs to £1000 p.a.


Bartholomew and County Mapping – Black's Guides 1862


Black's guides appeared from 1855. Besley's Route Book to Devon appeared in 1845 and five years later John Murray published the first of his long series of Devon Handbooks. Originally combining Devon with Cornwall he later split the counties into two separate volumes. The company of A & C Black of Edinburgh was not slow to follow, Devon & Cornwall making up one of their first county guides.

Established in Edinburgh in 1807 by Adam Black, the company became famous for its familiar series of green bound guides. They began shortly after Adam's nephew, Charles, joined the company to issue guides, firstly Scottish cities and northern England, then Wales and Ireland and from 1855 they issued county guides. The first county guides were of Derbyshire and Hampshire and this guide of Devon with Cornwall and the Scilly Isles.

The maps which were used were taken from Black’s Map of England and Wales which, as well as appearing in some atlases, was published as a folding map Black’s Road & Railway Travelling Map of England. This was engraved by S Hall, Bury St. Bloomsbury. This was the company of Sidney Hall who died in 1831; his daughter, Selina, took over the business after his death and Edward Weller (c.f.) acquired the business on the death of Selina.

From the Guide’s beginnings a map of the area was included, and in the 1855 issue it was a map of Devon and Cornwall engraved by Friedrick Schenck[1] and William Husband M’Farlane. Although the title page is dated 1855, copies of the guide so far seen were issued later as revealed by careful scrutiny of the advertisements. The railways shown are somewhat anticipatory, Exmouth was opened in 1861 and Truro was not reached until 1865 although both are shown. How often the guide was reissued is not known; however, it must have seemed promising as the Black's published a new edition in 1862. This was issued as a combined volume including Dorset, Devon and Cornwall but also the counties were published separately (142). The series was so successful that editions were reprinted almost every year until the end of the century and a new Bartholomew map was included when the text was extensively revised in 1882 (150).

Emil Ernst Friedrich Theodor Schenck was born in Offenbach, Germany, in 1811 and died in Edinburgh in 1885. After training as lithographer and artist in Munich and Paris, he moved to Edinburgh in 1840 at the invitation of Samuel Leith. He proceeded to give talks on lithography to the R.S.S.A. and was later awarded their gold medal. He also wrote the article on lithography for the 8th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. At the time that the first Black’s guides of Devon appeared he was working with William Husband M’Farlane but the partnership was dissolved in 1859. Although Macfarlane[2] continued as Schenck and M’Farlane, Schenck had set up again as Friedrich Schenck. His son, Frederick, was taken into partnership, but the partnership only lasted 1866-1868. Friedrich Schenck retired in 1875[3].

Among the earliest involvements of John Bartholomew in English county mapping was his series of maps used from 1862.[4] Bartholomew drew and engraved a map (possibly of England & Wales) and a transfer was issued in Blacks Guide to the South Western Counties of England (1862). This was a map of Dorset, Devon & Cornwall. From c.1869[5] the map of Dorset was separated (there were now two maps, Dorset and Devon with Cornwall) in the three county volume. Concurrently the guide to Devon was issued with the larger map now cut down and rebordered, showing Devon separately, and until c.1878 Black’s Guide To Devonshire always included this separate map of Devon. For the Tenth Edition (1879), a new larger Bartholomew map was used (see below).

Although McFarlane's name appears on the first map, the guides were printed by R & R Clark of Edinburgh, and were reprinted almost every year with little or, more often, no change to the text as shown by the fact that the pagination for Devonshire remained that of the combined volume. The early Black’s Guides had an Index Map on the inside front cover which covered Dorset, Devon & Cornwall (also regularly updated) and was used in all three county guides. In 1882 this was replaced by a key map of Devon only (B&B 156).


Bartholomew and County Mapping – Imperial Map 1868


Among the earliest involvements of John Bartholomew II (1805-1861) in English county mapping was his engraving of the Imperial Map of England & Wales, published in 1868 in atlas form on 16 sheets.[6] The publisher of the Imperial Map was Archibald Fullarton, who commissioned it to replace the earlier maps from his Parliamentary Gazetteer (B&B 107) which were very out of date by this time. Although a wide variety of sectional maps of England and Wales were prepared from the plates, they were only used to produce county maps, i.e. maps of a single county on one sheet, for two other publishers and one local Plymouth publisher. Throughout the life of these plates updated transfers at different sizes, of different areas were taken to produce regional maps, excursion maps and local guides for other publishers such as A & C Black, W H Smith (Fig. 1), Houlston & Wright, Houlston & Sons, Milligan & Co., Hiorns and Miller, Abel Heywood and Charles Pearson[7]. During this period Bartholomew's own Royal Atlas appeared using the same map as base and with the sectional, not the county, approach. In the twentieth century the plates were still being used to make maps for Varnan Chown & Co[8]., G W Bacon & Co.,[9] and also for Darlington’s Devon and Cornwall guide (c.1908). Transfers were also taken for sectional maps for Dulau and Co’s guides, i.e. the Thorough Guides series[10], from 1882.

The first county map of Devon (B&B 150) seen taken from the Imperial Map was a folding lithograph map published by John Heydon, printer, stationer and book-seller in Devonport, according to White's Gazetteer of Devonshire, 1850. In 1857 Heydon was advertising himself as Bookseller, Stationer, Printer, Music Seller, News Agent, &c. at 104 Fore Street Devonport and 47 Treville Street in Plymouth (Billing´s Directory). He was also a major seller of second-hand and new books for sale at very low prices. How Heydon came across the map or why he added the Plymouth Forts is unknown[11]. He possibly sold it as a tourist's map of Plymouth. He also published three maps of Plymouth (including an edition of a map by John Cary) and a print of Brunel’s bridge at Saltash.[12] 

Fig. 1: Environs of Exeter for W H Smith from Imperial Map plates.

The map of Devon was next issued by W H Smith, a company started by two brothers c.1820, Henry Edward and William Henry, who actually ran the company. But it was not until his son, also William Henry (1825-1891), became a partner in 1846 that the firm became the well-known booksellers and stationers. In 1848 he started a newsagent shop at Euston with a concession from the L&NW Railway. This was soon to be converted into a virtual railway book-stall monopoly. The firm soon became the largest newsagent in the country and expanded further into circulating libraries. William Henry later entered Parliament and became the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1877 (Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore was supposedly based on him).[13] W H Smith used to have an estate in Rewe in east Devon where he had a stable built opposite St Mary the Virgin church for the use of the parishioners so that they could tie up their horses.[14]

The Imperial Map was continually updated and W H Smith used it for their general Series of Tourists‘ Maps & Plans of England. The series included North and South Devon, Environs of Plymouth and Environs of Exeter (Fig. 1). These were issued at periodic intervals up until the 1890s.

Black’s Guide To Devonshire included Bartholomew’s map in all editions after 1882 (see 142). Originally the guide, printed by R & R Clark of Edinburgh, contained two maps: a sketch, or index map on the inside front cover; and the county map, taken from the Imperial Map. The county map was originally on two sheets inserted between text pages, in the fourteenth edition it was on four sheets and later it was a single sheet, folded and located in a pocket formed carefully on the back cover. In 1892 Black's guide was extensively revised by "C W", probably Charles Worthy who had also edited some of Murray's guides. The fifteenth edition of Black`s Guide was revised by A R Hope Moncrieff who was the editor of a number of topographical guide books for Blacks into the 1920s. A seventeenth edition was issued in 1902.

In the early 1880s the company of Dulau & Co. began publishing a series of Thorough Guides with the first volume on the English Lake District. Subsequent volumes covered tourist areas such as Scotland, the Peak District, Wales and Ireland, as well as the watering places of the Eastern Counties. Two volumes were issued covering Devon and Cornwall: in 1882 Volume III on North Devon and North Cornwall appeared; and in 1884 Volume VII, South Devon and South Cornwall, followed. Both volumes were written by Charles Slegg Ward, and he and M J B Baddeley were the series editors. The guides contained many sectional maps made from transfers from the earlier Bartholomew plates produced for the Imperial Map (see 150) and which later appeared in the Royal Atlas. Both north and south guide books had, in the inside cover, the identical index map of both counties. The map shows the main rivers, main roads and railways with, superimposed, those areas covered by each of the sectional maps included within the volume.

Mountford John Byrde Baddeley (1843-1906), a school master, earned his reputation as the compiler of these Thorough Guide books for pedestrians. He settled in the Lake District which he popularized as a pleasure resort. According to the advertising text in the guides: In English topographical writing for tourists, the Thorough Guide Series is so far ahead of any other that there can scarcely be said to be a good second to it. (Saturday Review, August 28th, 1886). The Times (August 3rd, 1887) even went so far as to compare a Baddeley with a Baedeker. A cursory glance at the contents page and page numbering of different editions seems to imply little up-dating, but a lot of new detail was added for each issue.

The Devon guides were printed by either Strangeways & Sons or by J S Levin (1885, 1888, 1889, 1890).

Bartholomew took transfers from the Imperial Map to provide sectional maps for guide books (e.g. Dulau and Co’s Thorough Guides series, 157). From March 1899 to May 1900 transfers of the Imperial Map were again taken to produce a set of regional maps. These were published in 20 parts to produce The Royal Atlas of England and Wales (Edited by J Bartholomew and published by George Newnes Limited). South Devon was sheet XXXI with North Devon on sheets XXV and XXVI. Included in the Atlas was a second overview map of England and Wales on six sheets with a map of the West Country (Plate 12). Transfers from this map[15] were used to produce a cyclist’s map specially prepared for the Pattisons whisky company. The cyclist would not have gained a tremendous amount of useful information from this small scale map; but it did give Pattisons the opportunity to advertise their products. Main roads and railways are shown but although a note below the maps refers to a key for cycling roads, in fact it only shows the major roads. Around the map there are vignette scenes from the Pattisons` distillery and two of their products. The map is vertical compared to the frame which has Pattisons Limited across the top and Scotch Whisky Distillers, Leith, Edinburgh & London below (i.e. the map has to be turned to be read correctly).

The reverse is titled Pattisons` Scotch Whisky is invaluable to all Travellers & Sportsmen Abroad or at home who go in for Cycling - Golfing - Curling - Hunting - Coaching - Yachting - Shooting - Fishing and there are delightful little engravings of each of the sports listed and the addresses of the Pattisons company. The maps were used to advertise the company floated by Robert and Walter Pattison in 1896 and 15 maps of England and Wales and 8 of Scotland were produced. The brothers went bankrupt in 1898 and were imprisoned for embezzlement in 1901.[16]

The plates of both these England and Wales maps were extensively used. Darlington’s Devon and Cornwall guides (Llangollen. Darlington & Co. and London. Simpkin, Marshall & Co. Ltd. from c.1908) used a transfer of Cornwall from the smaller map and transfers of the larger map for an urban map of Torquay, Dartmouth and Exmouth as well as one of Plymouth and Tavistock. Sectional transfers from the smaller map were taken for The Touring Atlas of the British Isles (London. George Newnes.) and were still being used as late as 1944 in the British Isles Pocket Atlas (11th Edition: John Bartholomew & Son Ltd. Edinburgh.).

Abel Heywood’s series of Penny Guide Books included transfers from the Royal Atlas. A map covering most of North Devon can be found in A Guide to Ilfracombe and Clovelly published by Abel Heywood and Son in Manchester in 1900.[17] Heywood, a bookseller and publisher of radical literature who kept prices low through the inclusion of advertisements and vile printing began his series in 1866 with Buxton and Kent appearing in 1872.[18] Earlier guides of Devon may have been produced.


Bartholomew and County Mapping – Encyclopaedia Britannica 1877


The first Encyclopaedia Britannica appeared in three volumes in 1768-71 under the auspices of a Society of Gentlemen. Andrew Bell (1726-1809) founded the Encyclopaedia Britannica with Colin McFarquar. On Bell’s death Archibald Constable bought the Encyclopaedia and published the 5th & 6th editions. When he went bankrupt in 1826 the Blacks bought the copyright (1828) and published the 7th edition 1830-1842. The 8th edition was published 1853-1860 and the 9th, and arguably the best, 1875–1888. Although John Bartholomew had acquired the privilege to print the Encyclopaedia maps in 1839 it was not until the 9th edition that English county maps were included.

The Americans appreciated the Encyclopaedia in a big way and soon Blacks were selling more copies there than in Britain. The firm of Little, Brown of Boston were official agents with Charles Scribner's Sons (New York) covering subscription volumes. The latter reported sales of 18,000 sets as early as 1879. However, there was also a flourishing pirate trade (British authors were not given full copyright protection until 1957!). Indeed, the Encyclopædia Britannica first appeared in the United States in the form of a pirated edition printed in Philadelphia in 1790 by one Thomas Dobson. Among its purchasers were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. Its American success resulted the Blacks being approached by James Clarke & Co. for the rights to reprint and sell 5000 copies in 1897.

In 1898 a full-page advertisement for The Encyclopaedia Britannica. A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature appeared in The Times. The success was astonishing with new reprinting being needed immediately. By 1899 James Clarke & Co. had bought the copyright.[19] W & A K Johnston must have taken over printing of the maps at about this time.

In 1892 Black’s Handy Atlas of England & Wales appeared using the Britannica maps. The Devon map was also used in Black's Guide To Torquay in 1901.




Fig. 2: An example of Bartholomew's experiments in hill shading.


 Bartholomew and hill shading

 Bartholomew was providing W H Smith and Son with maps from circa 1874, two of the earliest Imperial Map sections being sold as North Devon and South Devon quite soon after the publication of the Imperial Map. W H Smith advertised maps of both North Devon and South Devon in its Travelling Maps series, however, North Devon was available at 4 miles to an inch (i.e. the Imperial Map scale) and only South Devon was sold at 2 miles to an inch, indicating that parallel versions of North Devon were not produced.

W H Smith was founded c.1820 by Henry Edward and his brother William Henry (who actually ran the company). But it was not until Henry’s son, also William Henry (1825-1891), became a partner in 1846 that the firm became the well-known booksellers and stationers. In 1848 he started a newsagent shop at Euston with a concession from the L&NW Railway. This was soon to be converted into a virtual railway book-stall monopoly. The firm soon became the largest newsagent in the country and expanded further into circulating libraries. William Henry later entered Parliament and became the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1877 (Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore was supposedly based on him).[20] W H Smith used to have an estate in Rewe in east Devon where he had a stable built opposite St Mary the Virgin church for the use of the parishioners so that they could tie up their horses.[21]

At the same time as the map below was on sale a similar map of North Devon was also being offered in the same red covers. This covered an area slightly further north, ie the whole of the north Devon coast as far east as Burnham in Somerset and south only to Teignmouth and Tavistock. This was taken from the same map plates.[22]

However, John Bartholomew was known to be experimenting with hill shading in the 1880s and the Bartholomew records show various printings of this map in the years 1884-1887 (probably referring to the first one below). Two maps have been found, both executed by the Bartholomew company and both sold in W H Smith covers, and displaying attempts at portraying heights. The first used a very harsh hachuring to achieve hill shading: four separate versions of this map have been found but the actual sequence remains unclear and all seem to have the same map detail, the differences lie in imprint, railways and covers. A later version uses a very subtle brown tone (Fig. 2) to give the impression of height. These seem to be the precursors for Bartholomew's Reduced Ordnance Survey Maps published in 1895/1896.


Bartholomew Half Inch Series and cover designs


From 1875 John Bartholomew & Co. had been publishing a series of maps of Scotland at the half-inch scale.[23] However, towards the end of the century they began to produce a series of travelling maps of England and Wales at this scale for Tourists & Cyclists: these new maps being completely overprinted in colour depicting accurately the heights of the landscape. This was, in fact, the first systematic commercial application of layer colouring to maps in Britain with a key to the height of land and the scale of colours added for ease of use. There were 37 sheets covering England and Wales: Devon was produced on two sheets covering North and South Devon, and for clarity and detail they are excellent examples of late nineteenth century map production.

The maps had a long and varied life. The first sheets with colour contouring (South Devon and Surrey) appeared in 1895 and, according to the Bartholomew Printing Records held at the National Library of Scotland, North Devon and Sussex followed in 1896.[24] The maps were not necessarily distributed by Bartholomew immediately. Very early on the maps appeared advertising W H Smith's series of maps within the covers[25] or the plates were used to produce sectional maps for other publishers, e.g. for Murray's 11th edition of the Handbook for Travellers in Devonshire (published 1895-1901) (150.13). Sectional maps of both North and South Devon were included in the Handbook and one of the north sheet maps did not include the Lynton railway which was shown on the first recorded (and seen) North Devon sheet suggesting a pre-folding map impression. The Dulau Thorough Guides also used sectional transfers from about the same date.


Fig. 3: Early covers: Brown for paper and blue for linen mounted maps.

The original folding maps simply have a title consisting of North Devon or South Devon (centrally) plus a subtitle Reduced Ordnance Survey of England and Wales (together with the scale) top left. However, from 1898 the map series was numbered - South Devon became 36 (1898) and North Devon became 35 (1899) – and the map title changed to Bartholomew's Reduced Ordnance Survey of England and Wales (centrally with scale) and the previous title became a subtitle (top right, with sheet number top left). From this time the logo of the Cyclists' Touring Club appears on the reverse of the map cover and from 1902 also on the map. Bartholomew published and sold these maps, either on paper (in brown covers at one shilling) or mounted on cloth (2/-) under his own imprint from The Geographical Institute, first in Park Road and from 1911, Duncan St., Edinburgh.

Originally the cover title was Bartholomew's Reduced Ordnance Survey ... Coloured for Tourists & Cyclists above and below a sticker with the title of the map. Fig. 1 shows the brown paper cover of South Devon and the scale. At the end of the century the title was changed to Bartholomew's New Reduced Survey above the sticker which now had the sheet number added, e.g. Sheet 35 for North Devon. This design persevered until circa 1929. Fig. 3 also shows the blue cover of this later series for a linen mounted map of North Devon.

Although most maps were published, and presumably, distributed by, Bartholomew's the company also had arrangements to provide other publishers to distribute the maps. George Philip and Son were a very successful and well-known publisher of maps in their own right and Bartholomew's printed covers especially for them; all copies seen are the same design as for Bartholomew's own maps but in red with Philip's address printed on the cover (not on a label, see Fig. 12).

Other mapsellers and geographical booksellers sold the maps: Alfred Wilson, Map and Bookseller in Church Street, London, sold the maps mounted on linen; and Sifton Praed and Co. Ltd, of 67 St James's Street, London, offered the maps as boxed sets in leather cases. Both of these had specially printed covers and the maps were distributed to members by both the RAC and the AA in distinctive covers (Figs. 4 and 5).

Fig. 4: Maps produced for the Automobile Association and Motor Union.


Fig. 5: Maps produced for the Royal Automobile Club.

Early in the 20th century G W Bacon was selling maps produced from the same plates but without the layered colour. Bacon's New Half-Inch Maps Cycling and Motoring Devon was a map of the county covering the area of both the previous maps folding to pocket size. A larger example folding into boards 240 x 190 mm (unfolding to 1150 x 730 mm) was Bacon's New Library Map Of Devonshire And Part of Somerset. These were both the same plates as before but the layout was substantially different. In both, parts of east and west Devon were included in inset maps and the New Library Map had an Alphabetical Index-Gazetteer together with a Table of Distances By Road below. These maps did not utilise the layer printing (i.e. not hypsometrically tinted) and were either uncoloured or with standard colour printing. 

Fig. 6: New names were introduced for the sheets circa 1924.

 Map titles were changed circa 1924 (Fig. 6) to Bartholomew's "Half Inch To Mile" Map of England and Wales with second title (area covered) and sheet number as before. A slightly revised cover was introduced to reflect the titles: the cover is now Bartholomew's Revised Half Inch To Mile ... Coloured for Motorist's & Cyclists above and below the sticker with the name of the map area. The name of the map now changed: Sheet 35 became Exmoor; and Sheet 36 became Dartmoor.  Fig. 4 shows two covers subsequent to this change. The Exmoor map illustrated here was distributed by another well-known map agent, Edward Stanford, and bears their label. Paper maps (i.e. in brown covers) after this date have not been seen; it is presumed that linen-backed and dissected maps only were now on sale.

The cover design was radically altered about 1929 (based on North Devon, Fig. 7). The more "modern" design incorporated the Royal Arms top and advertised Cartographers by Appointment to the King. The series was now Bartholomew's Revised "Half Inch" Contoured Maps. Between 1935 and 1942 new numbering was introduced to create a British Isles set starting with no. 1 Cornwall, consequently South Devon now became sheet 2 (Dartmoor) and North Devon became sheet 3 (Exmoor). The transition in numbering took quite a long time and the first map covers only the number of the old series. The following variations to the North Devon/Exmoor map have been seen:


  1. Price only at top, and the title at bottom is England Sheet 35 North Devon.(A29)
  2. Price and number 35 (top right) only and the title at bottom is England Sheet 35 Exmoor.(B35)
  3. Number Eng. 35 (top right) and 3 (top left) and title at bottom is Great Britain Sheet 3 Exmoor. (B45) (Dartmoor in this form seen, B42).
  4. Only number 3 (top left) and the title at bottom is Great Britain Sheet 3 Exmoor. (1948)
  5. Number 3 (top right and top left) and title at bottom is Great Britain Sheet 3 Exmoor. (1950) (Dartmoor seen in this form 1948) 

Fig. 7: New modern covers post-1929. 

The last change coincides with the introduction of Exmoor to the top of the cover between the numbers. While the first of these covers had by Appointment to the King this changed to by Appointment to the Late King George V after his death (January 1936). Also at this time a policy of only issuing maps dissected and mounted on linen must have been made. No maps with this design have been seen in covers; the front and back covers are two sheets pasted on.

This changed over the years: The red and white design (not considered here) was introduced in 1961 with the thumbnail map of the area covered. The North and South sheets were still on sale up to the 1970s but the introduction of metrication with a scale of 1:100,000 brought about the demise of the half inch maps some 100 years after the original Scottish series and 80 years after the English maps.


Advertising insert slips


From very early on, pages were pasted onto the back of the map (i.e. not on the cover), only being revealed when one opened the covers. The number of pages inserted in this way varied and the actual text was also updated.

The 1896 edition of south Devon appeared with three extra sheets. The first was an index map of completed sheets of the Reduced Ordnance Survey of England and Wales. The map showed England and Wales divided up into (map) squares with 16 squares coloured to show availability of a map for that area: 1, 8, 11, 15, 18-20, 25, 26, 30-37 omitting 34. This represented the Scottish border by Berwick, Manchester, Caernarvon, a broad backward "C" area to include Birmingham, the east coast, London to New Forest and Devon and Cornwall. The other two sheets composed of an alphabetical list of maps in The Pocket Series of Touring Maps numbered from 1, Aldershot and Environs, to 127, Wiltshire. A list of Tourists' and Cyclists' General Maps and the World Series of Touring Maps followed. This list included two Aldershot maps and a map of Suffolk (see below).

Two years later a total of four sheets were included. The four pages were now:


  1. Reduced Ordnance Survey of England and Wales with index map of completed sheets
  2. Reduced Ordnance Survey of Scotland with index map of completed sheets
  3. List of special district maps and town plans
  4. General maps for tourists and cyclists


As the England and Wales sheets were not all completed early examples of the first sheet show differences in the number of squares (i.e. sheets) coloured in to represent maps available. The number of sheets completed rose steadily and maps with 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 32 and 37 (i.e. series complete) have been seen on Devon maps. Fig. 96 shows two identical maps (South Sheet state 2) of 1898 but with different index maps. At a later date (c. 1910) circles were added to the sheet numbers.

As the Scottish series was completed before the England and Wales series the index map on the second pasted insert is the same throughout except for minor print changes. About 1910, when Ireland was included, a new index page was printed with both index maps of Scotland (top) and Ireland (bottom) on the same page, and advertising text.



Fig. 8: Two index maps showing series progress.

 The third page insert was given to listing the maps and town plans available to the tourist. This was a much changed version of the two sheet list from the first edition (type 1). Usually this began with The Pocket Series of Touring Maps followed by two lists. The page is set out in two columns. The earliest lists seen have the district maps beginning in the first column, continuing in the second column with the town plans then being added (type 2.1). The first two of the district maps are Aldershot & Envs and also Aldershot Camp & Environs and the map of Suffolk County is present. In later tables the district maps have all been entered in two columns at the top of the page and the town plans are at the bottom of the page, Aldershot Camp map was first omitted then the Suffolk County map. Some copies of the map may have been sold by W H Smith at about this time as a fourth variation (same date) is where the original list is headed W H Smith & Son's Series of Travelling Maps. All maps are South Devon state 2 of 1898 (see Fig. 9).


  1. The Pocket Series of Touring Maps in single column stretching over two pages
  2. List on one page in two columns with Aldershot & Envs and Aldershot Camp & Environs and Suffolk County
    1. The Pocket Series of Touring Maps
    2. W H Smith & Son's Series of Travelling Maps
  3. Aldershot Camp map has been omitted but Suffolk County is present 
  4. Suffolk County omitted 

Fig. 9: Sticker inside the Bartholomew map advertising

 W H Smith & Son's Series of Travelling Maps. 

By 1901 the Pocket Series was complete and a new section was included on page three with Special Cyclists' Maps (of Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, and Manchester and Liverpool districts). London north and south (i.e. 2 maps) were added a few years later.

The list of other map publications and the overview map of England & Wales became a standard feature on all maps published by and for Bartholomew until approx. 1935. In the maps listed below the 1929 and 1935 (North Devon, Fig. 10) issues have a blue label advertising Bartholomew's Pocket Atlases (with the addition of Liverpool and Birkenhead for the latter). On the introduction of the new cover design the list of other publications (blue) was inserted in the 1935 issue but in white and then ceased to be included. The overview map was kept at least to 1960 when this survey finishes.     


Fig. 10: The 1929 and 1935 (North) insert pages

 Page four of the inserts had a selection of maps available from John Bartholomew & Co. and began with a view of The Geographical Institute, Edinburgh. The list finished with a World Series of Touring Maps. The four maps described above (all 1898) finish with:

1. No list of other maps

2.1 and 2.1 Tourist's Map of Egypt 

3. Commercial Map of Australia

4. Oceania and the Pacific


Types of roads


The first issues of the maps had the key to the different types of roads to be encountered under the map border. In the earliest editions the roads were split into two types: Driving & Cycling Roads and Other Roads. Fig. 11 shows the first state (1896) of South Devon. 

Fig. 11: Types of roads - first state (1896) of South Devon.


Two years later the note on roads was moved to the map area (bottom right on the south sheet). The roads are still split into two types: Driving & Cycling Roads and Other Roads. Fig. 12.



Fig. 12: Types of roads - second state (1898) of South Devon. 

By 1901 the Explanatory Note is now contained within a box border. Cycling Roads becomes Cycling Routes. This panel was considerably changed between 1902 and c.1905. There are First Class Roads, there are Secondary (roads) as well as Indifferent (roads). In addition there is a key to Footpaths and Bridlepaths. For the intrepid cyclist there is even a note on dangerous hills with arrow representations added to roads with steep gradients. This latter note was omitted very soon after. At this time the height bar was from Sea Level to Above 2000 (feet).

Fig. 13: States of South Devon with Explanatory Note and height bar. 

Between 1905 and 1910 the Explanatory Note was again revised. The roads are as before but the note on dangerous hills has been omitted. Canals are introduced. The height bar was also altered at this time and now begins Low Tide to 5 Fathoms.Fig. 13.

About 1910 the note on roads was again updated. The Explanatory Note now reads: First Class Roads then Through Routes and Secondary (Routes). 


Fig. 14: Map distributed by George Philip c. 1910 with Explanatory Note and height bar.

In 1916 the table has been revised to read: Motoring Roads: Through Routes and First Class Roads and Secondary –. From circa 1942 the Explanatory Note is now replaced. Instead there is a table of roads below the map (AeOS) which reads: Recommended Through Routes with Other Good Roads and Serviceable Roads and a note on Other Roads & Tracks.


Compass and Printer's Mark


In about 1916 when the maps were revised both a compass and a printer's mark were introduced. The compass started out with magnetic variation and the next three issues were dated (1920, 1923 and 1927 have been seen). With the introductuon of new covers in 1929 the compass was moved to the right hand outside border and was also dated. Fig. 15.


Fig. 15: Three compass roses. 1916 (undated), 1920 and 1923 (both dated).

 Simultaneously with the introduction of the compass, a printer's mark was added. This can be found at the bottom of the map, extreme left under the map but within the border. In 1916 the south Devon map had the mark A20. As Ross Kennedy has pointed out the letter, here A but B can also be found, refers to the first half (A), or the second half (B) of the year in question. The 16 is for 1916. The first north Devon map seen is A19. This system remained in use until 1945, the last (north Devon) seen with this mark. From 1948 (the first Devon map seen) a note added under the map with the scale bar reads: Reduced by permission from the Ordnance Survey with local revision to date of publication followed by the date, here June 1948. North Devon has been seen dated August 1948. This continued to at least 1960 (north Devon). 

Fig. 16: Rear cover overview maps (North Devon) from 1945 (left) and 1952 (right)

Select Bibliography

A very large part of the history of the Bartholomew company has been taken from Leslie Gardiner's very good book Bartholomew 150 Years and published by J Barhtolomew & Son in 1976. I apologise for not quoting specific passages.

[1] The printer’s signature is very faint and it may be Schenk not Schenck.

[2] The printer used both spellings: Macfarlane and McFarlane.

[3] Taken from the Scottish Book Trade Index (SBTI) online.

[4] The three counties volume was probably written in 1861 and published the following year. A note on page 152 begins Even while we write (January 1861) and refers to a Spanish ship cast onto Morte Stone. 

[5]  The earliest known work so far discovered by the authors; there may be earlier versions.

[6] The information in this section is taken directly from Victorian Maps of Devon; Francis Bennett and Kit Batten,; Second Edition 2010; private printing now on-line in revised (second) edition.

[7] Tourist maps produced for these clients were published before 1901 can be found in Tourist Maps of Devon published in 2011 by Kit Batten, under Bartholomew Imperial Map entries 1 to 8.

[8] Varnan, Chown & Co.s "Half-Inch To Mile Map Of North Devon District. 290 mm x 560 mm. Scale 2 Miles to an Inch (5 = 65 mm). Inset PLAN OF ILFRACOMBE. Railways to Lynton and Northam and planned to Appledore. Map reverse covered in adverts. Folded into yellow cardboard covers c.1903.

[9] E.G. Bacon's County Map of Devonshire with parts of adjoining counties (c.1910).

[10] See Tourist Maps of Devon ibid. under Dulau p.206ff.

[11] William Wood, a local competitor was selling a map of the Plymouth area clearly showing the forts at this time. This was John Cooke’s map of the Environs of Plymouth (1828) adapted to show the forts (from c. 1861).

[12] The print was a lithograph by J Needham after C A Scott; see Somers Cocks; 1977.

[13] Pocklington, G R; The Story of W H Smith.; London; 1921.

[14] Anthony Taylor; Culm Valley Album; private printing.

[15] This became Bartholomew’s Tourist’s Map of England & Wales, 1040 x 820 mm, still in use in the 1900s.

[16] T Nicholson; A Scotch Mystery; IMCoS Journal; Issue 79, Winter 1999.

[17] Map Of The Environments Of Ilfracombe. Imprint: Abel Heywood & Son. 56 & 58 Oldham Street, Manchester. (Copy at MCL 942.35L)

[18] John Vaughan; 1974; p. 89 and footnote.

[19]  Adam & Charles Black 1807-1957; A & C Black; 1957; pp.6-7, 64ff.

[20] Pocklington, G R; The Story of W H Smith.; London; 1921.

[21] Anthony Taylor; Culm Valley Album; private printing.

[22] W H Smith & Son’s Reduced Ordnance Map Of North Devon: see B&B 150, especially states 2, 6 and 10.

[23] Taken from Ross Kennedy's notes in 2002. This information on dating Bartholomew maps has been updated and is available on line care of Green Lane Association Ltd at I am grateful to Ross Kennedy for guidance on dating the cover design changes.

[24] All information on Bartholomew records was kindly provided by the late Eugene Burden. This section is based on his correspondence and also Tim Nicholson's letter to the IMCoS Journal, Summer 1999, Issue 77, pp. 62-63.

[25] A copy of South Devon published by W H Smith & Son in 1895 (as map 24 in their series of Travelling Maps) was recorded by the late Eugene Burden but has been lost. I feel this may be an error in my notes and has been removed from the listing. (It advertised map 26 as North Devon.)


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