New Popular Edition Maps of the UK Made in Britain logo

New Popular Edition Maps are available to buy as follows:

Your chosen historic local map printed to order. Framed, Mounted, Print Only or on Canvas.

Add a personal dedication within a framed print to commemorate a special day or event.

Surveyed 1945-1948, New Popular Edition maps capture the ever-changing landscape of Britain at a crucial time in its history.

Explore the New Popular Edition Series

Surveyed during 1914-1948, and published 1945-1948. Scale is 1:50,000.

The New Popular Edition captures the ever-changing landscape of Britain at a crucial time in its history. The inter-war years arguably saw the emergence of ‘modern’ Britain. The patterns of development and transport links these maps reveal are in many cases familiar to the contemporary eye. Much, however, was about to change, in particular the suburban encroachment into the countryside and the further expansion of the road network. The Popular Edition is a potent record of the Britain that was about to be traded for the motor car. By an irony, it also provided the British with their first motoring maps.

Sample of an New Popular Series Map
A sample from a 1:50,000 scale New Popular Series Map.

The problem of surveying and recording Britain’s ever-changing landscape – one inhabited by over 50 million people by 1951 – had been exercising the minds of the government, the military and the Ordnance Survey ever since the completion of the Popular Edition in the late 1920s, although the cartographic ambitions of these parties did not always coincide.

The Fifth Edition of the 1930s was the result of various experiments of projection, sheet lines and styling which ultimately proved unsuccessful and the project was abandoned in 1939 with only a small number of sheets having been produced. Its replacement, devised in 1938, but delayed by the war, was the New Popular Edition, which first went on sale in 1945.

Initial publication was completed in 1947, but sheets covering south-east England, including London, were republished with road and other revisions (including bomb damage in the capital) between 1947 and 1950. The New Popular Edition was a mixture of Fifth Edition-style material in southern England and ‘old’ Popular Edition material elsewhere, with subsequent revision. It was eventually superseded by the Seventh Series between 1952 and 1961.

The New Popular Edition was in many ways a departure from previous Ordnance Survey series. Although still produced at the one-inch scale, it included (as recommended by the Davidson Committee in 1938) a metric National Grid. It was also the first series to incorporate Scotland as well as England and Wales using a consistent numbering system (although the Scottish sheets were not published), and was the first to be produced in portrait rather than squared or landscape format, with sheets of 45km x 40km.

The New Popular Edition was not produced from any one revision designed for the creation of the series and so is something of a hybrid: cartographically a stepping stone between the iconic Popular Edition of the 1920s, and the Seventh Series of the 1950s and the metric-scale 1:50,000 maps that followed from it. They provide a record of the country in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War and on the threshold of great social, economic and environmental change. Many rural areas were almost unchanged compared to how they appeared a century or more before, while many urban centres were industrialised, overcrowded and heavily bomb-damaged. Open countryside was still commonplace across the country as a whole, but was fast being eaten into by the suburban sprawl of large cities. The railway network remained intact, but Dr Beeching’s axe was only a decade or so away, as was the opening of Britain’s first motorway, the M1.

These maps, produced just after the Second World War, show that travel by road was now the dominant method of transport. Ministry of Transport classifications were now specified for roads, which were now numbered. Note also the new of symbols describing with the equally recent proliferation of the telephone and the wireless.

The New Popular Edition captures all this ‘raw material’ which planners and developers in subsequent decades were to use, for better or for worse, to create the Britain that we know today.

Sample of a New Popular Edition Series Map
Key for New Popular Edition Maps, as displayed on Folded Sheet Maps.

What people say:

This is just to say how delighted I am with the order I placed with you - order placed Tuesday, and arrived before lunch today. Absolutely brilliant. Item was required as a present for a member of staff at the Library, and everyone seems extremely pleased with the item.

Sent in by Carol Edwards

Hi Andrea,
Success! All maps have just arrived and they are perfect!
Thank you so much for sorting this for me. Dad will be so pleased.
Many thanks,
Sara

Sent in by Sara Roberts

I wanted an old map of Stoke Gifford, near Bristol for my husband's birthday. So l ordered an 1880 map from Francis Firth. I did pay for express delivery but I didn't expect it to arrive the next day! We are really pleased with the map which clearly shows our house. The framing is really good. The ordering process on the website was slick allowing you to see the various options for the mount and frame

Sent in by Dianne Webb

Delighted with map. Many thanks

Sent in by Christina Hardyment

I have been out and just returned to find my map in my office. Thanks for a great service at Christmas, best wishes for the festive season and a happy new year

I have been out and just returned to find my map in my office. Thanks for a great service at Christmas, best wishes for the festive season and a happy new year.


I have been out and just returned to find my map in my office. Thanks for a great service at Christmas, best wishes for the festive season and a happy new year.

regards, Richard

Sent in by Richard Cross

Excellent map with which we are absolutely delighted. Unbeatable service. Helpful customer service from Claire and Andrea. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Francis Frith. It is our second purchase and we will definitely be buying more :)

Sent in by Jo Seller

I ordered a framed print of a 1947 map of my Dads birthplace for his 80th birthday online. It arrived the next day! Both print and frame are extremely good quality. I couldn't have wished for better service. I would thoroughly recommend this company.

Sent in by Wendy Nettleship

Please accept my thanks for your prompt delivery of my order for the framed Victorian map of Shropshire. This is intended as a present to my brother on a forthcoming significant birthday. I am delighted with the map and the framing: the standard of workmanship is immaculate.
I am so pleased with it that I will order one for myself in the near future. I will be in touch again when I am ready to do so.

Sent in by Mr Alan Lloyd

Just a brief note to say the map has arrived safely and is all that we had hoped, and more!
Thank you for all your help and your team for completing the commission with time to spare.

Sent in by Mrs Margaret Handy

Just to say a big thank you for the quality of the map I ordered from your company for a Christmas present. I was really pleased with it but was concerned I might not have enough wrapping paper left over- then what did i find but paper & gift tag included.
I am a very satisfied customer
Happy New Year & thanks once again to everyone concerned

Sent in by Sue Whittaker

Hi Andrea. I have spoken to my son and his wife. They have received the picture. They are both delighted with it. Thankyou very much for your efforts.

Sent in by Steve Barton

I am writing to let you know how delighted and impressed I am with my historic map of the above address. It has provided me with a fascinating insight into my local area and looks particularly delightful in its frame. Thank you very much!

Sent in by Miss D Langham

We have just heard from our friend, who has received his map, and is over the moon. He is retracing all the steps of his youth, looking up the streets where family and freinds lived - just what we hoped! Thank you so much.

Sent in by Jennifer Birkett

Just a quick line to say that I received my framed historical map today and it is utterly wonderful. The gallery style frame is perfect and everything is just how I wanted it. Many thanks for a job well done.

Sent in by Steve Hill

Order received today. Beautiful!!
Thank you for the swift and excellent service

Sent in by James Warner
Read all our Reviews
(This will navigate you away from this page)