The hand colouring, carried out by apprentice draughtsmen, shows brick and stone buildings in red, iron and wooden buildings in grey, glass-covered areas in blue and streets in buff. The level of detail is demonstrated by the abbreviations used: L.P. (lamp post), F.P. (Fire plug), M.H. (manhole), whilst tree, tramlines, walls and fences are all in their actual position.
The source of Huddersfield’s prosperity is indicated by the oval-shaped Cloth Exchange, built 1769 and dismantled in 1930.
The large-scale town plans of the Ordnance Survey owe their origins to the growing anxiety over matters of public health. The Poor Law Commission, established 1834, quickly concluded that adequate improvements in urban areas could only be made if suitable maps existed. In response to this need the Ordnance Survey, then mapping the northern counties of England, produced the first town plan in 1843, of St. Helens at a scale of five feet to one mile (1:1056).
In 1855 the survey of all towns with a population of more than 4,000 was authorised by the Treasury. By the end of the programme in 1892, almost 400 towns throughout Britain had been mapped at scales ‘sufficiently large to show detail down to the size of a door-step’. (Ordnance Survey, Annual Report, 1891).
The plan of Huddersfield, on 49 sheets, was one of the last to be published before the surveyors moved on to the Scottish and Irish towns.
- Article by:
- James Elliot
- Transforming topography, Town and city
James Elliot explores the development of town plans through technical and social change during the 19th century.