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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MI9's escape and evasion mapping programme banner CC.5.a.421 - St. Gotthard map

Escape and evasion maps of World War II

Dr. Barbara A. Bond introduces the MI9's emergency escape and evasion mapping programme and shares the fascinating stories of secret maps used by prisoners of World War II and the contribution they made to victory.

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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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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

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,...

20th Century Maps: Everything Changes, Nothing Changes

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Maps improved in their technological power during the 20th century, and as a result became better able to meet the requirements of their time. Some of them even came to symbolise key themes of the age such as dynamism and...

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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