This month's HangoutOnAir returned us to the 2016 Shared Endeavour of Visualisation. The mini-theme for the hangout was The Places Within Our Places and looked at how names on maps can give us clues.
Kirsty gave us an introduction to place names, building names, street names and other geographical markings found on maps for her places. Older maps, while beautiful, generally won’t be in enough detail to show things within your place but from the 19th century more detailed maps became available. One source is Cassini who have a variety of maps for purchase – watch out for their Old Parish Maps showing the boundary and contents of each parish for 1911 census purposes (bonus for overseas residents with UK places – you won’t pay the 20% VAT on your Cassini maps).
Tithe maps will show property boundaries and the type of land use for each property, and you'll get a good visual representation of housing/buildings vs farmland vs forestation. The accompanying schedules give details of street and building names (plus details of owners and occupiers). These names may offer more clues – Lamb Park, North Wood Park, and Higher New Meadow all suggest what these portions of land looked like, how they were used (at one stage at least), and how long they might have existed, comparatively speaking. If you spot Kennels or Stables in your place you probably had a hunt based there. Cottages may be named after a former resident. If you had a "Do-As-You-Like Street" – well, watch the video to find out!
Peter then made us all extremely envious by showing off some of his handiwork producing a reference book of maps of his place. This clearly shows you the additions and removals of physical features over time. If you can visit your local record office, doing the same is an excellent idea. He also gave us a heads up re LIDAR to visualise the lie of the land, and Janet had an amusing story demonstrating that what you think you can see might be something else entirely!
The Hangout does have a UK focus, but while the specific resources mentioned would not be of use to those with one-place studies in other parts of the world the general principles remain the same. We’d love to hear from you with comments about the maps for your place, particularly if outside the UK. Watch the Hangout anytime at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9WD5vBOTqw and post a comment either there or here about your own experiences.
We also had a momentary diversion to agricultural surveys in the written form rather than visual – UK’s General View of Agriculture surveys that have been published by county can be found on Wikipedia , from whence you can take yourself to Google Books/Internet Archive/libraries and local archives to take a gander at the survey itself.