Explore the evolution of maps and the key figures behind them through expert articles and curious collection items. See how maps have influenced war, popular culture and movement.


Articles

Polar locations map (Maps MOD GSGS Misc.1524)

The map of the world in the 20th century

The British Library’s map curator Tom Harper details the evolution of the map of the world in the 20th century, from the Navy League map of 1901 to a digital world view a century later.

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Maps and views

What is a fantasy map?

The British Library’s map curator, Tom Harper discusses the existence of fantasy maps created in the 20th century, containing a mixture of real-life and imaginary influences.

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20th century London maps banner - London Mayfair Square (CC.5.a.555.)

20th century London maps

British Library maps curator Tom Harper explores the history of London through its maps, from the beginnings of the London Underground to immigration.

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Satirical maps

Satirical maps of the world

Objective geographical representation isn’t always the intention of maps – they can also provide social, economic or political commentary on a region, as British Library maps curator, Tom Harper discusses.

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Themes

War

Find out how maps have been used as propaganda tools throughout the World Wars and how they’ve plotted some of the most daring of escapes in history.

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Blog posts

Hollar in Hull

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

As UK City of Culture 2017 the city of Hull is currently host to an array of festivals, events and exhibitions, and the British Library is delighted to have been able to lend some of its map treasures to one...

Saxton's cost-cutting exercise

Friday, May 12, 2017

The first atlas of England and Wales was published in 1579. It is a landmark in the cartography of Britain, containing maps of the counties of England and Wales by the mapmaker Christopher Saxton, engraved mostly by Dutch artists but...

Picturing Places launched!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Last week the British Library was pleased to announce the successful launch of Picturing Places, a new online learning resource. The Tower of London with London Bridge and the City, from Charles of Orléans' "Poetry", around 1483. British Library Royal...

Canada Through the Lens: mapping a collection

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Above: early Canadian aerial photography from the Colonial Copyright Collection, from Wikimedia Commons. This summer, to mark Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations, the British Library will be displaying a selection of photographs from its Colonial Copyright Photograph Collection under the title,...

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Shop our maps-inspired range

Maps Shop Item: Exhibition Book

Maps and the 20th century

A global story of the most turbulent century in history through its most powerful and important object: the map.

£20

Maps Shop item: Cross Stitch World Map

Cross Stitch Map

A world map printed on cross stitch fabric and mounted on a wooden frame.

£25

Maps Shop Item: Orange Globe Light

Globe Light Orange

See the world, see the light. A bold and elegant globe light.

£85