A Family History Fair seemed a good way to spend a grey Sunday afternoon yesterday, as I needed some material for a study I’m making of opportunities for writers and editors in family history. This turned out to be a good decision as family historians seem to be an enthusiastic band, happy to share information or pass the time of day.
An extra delight was the discovery of a stall selling reprints of antique maps. I eventually chose replicas by Cassini of three of the first-ever Ordnance Survey maps, which appeared in 1805. West London is fascinating as it shows main roads such as the A30 much as they are now (disregarding motorways), villages and big houses scattered across open country as you headed west from the capital. That’s where History and Geography meet – nothing like the sort of History we were taught at school, which seemed to focus mostly on the first Duke of Wellington and the battles he fought, “Oudenarde, Ramillies, Malplaquet” is about all that’s left in the memory bank. It should have been enough to put anyone off the subject for life. Two 1805 maps of far western Cornwall show a landscape not vastly different from what is now and should be useful for a writing project I’m planning.