Popular Edition Maps of the UK Made in Britain logo

Popular Edition Maps are available to buy as follows:

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

Britain’s first full-colour maps showing the dawn of the motoring age. Surveyed 1919-1926.

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

Explore the Popular Edition Map Series

Surveyed between 1912-1923 and first published 1919-1926. Scale is 1:50,000.

The original Ordnance Survey Popular Edition series was conceived before, but published just after, the First World War. It was the first of Ordnance Survey’s series to be conceived from the outset as a mass-market product, and the first to be produced in full colour. The new technology was put to the test in catering for a wholly new market. These Popular Edition maps show England and Wales on the threshold of great change, capturing the point at which the motor car began to define not only the landscape but also the way in which map-makers represented it.

Sample of a Popular Edition Map
A sample from a 1:50,000 scale Popular Edition Map

The original impetus behind the creation of the Ordnance Survey and the original Old Series maps had been one of military necessity. Although the maps had soon assumed a more civilian aspect and market, the Ordnance Survey continued to fulfil an important wartime role. During the First World War its normal activities were suspended and over 5,000 people were engaged on military work, producing more than 32 million maps for the war effort.

The end of the conflict coincided with another revolution, as dramatic as that which had swept the country three generations earlier with the advent of the railways – the increased use of the motor car. By the 1920s, this new and independent means of transport had helped create an entirely new market for maps. In 1909, 53,000 cars were registered in the UK: twenty years later there were over a million. Many who could not afford (or did not dare) to use a car cycled instead. Britain already had over 280,000 miles of roads on the eve of the First World War and although these were not of a consistent quality, they were fast being improved. For the first time, the train companies were faced with a real competitor.

Sample of a Popular Edition Map
A sample of a Popular Edition Map

The post-war years also saw increased social mobility, prosperity and leisure time which helped to encourage Britain’s fledgling tourism industry. Many of the posters and publicity material produced at this time by resorts and transport bodies to attract these travellers rank amongst the finest achievements of British graphic art. More people were travelling than ever before – and all of them, particularly the motorists, needed maps.

Responding to this, the Ordnance Survey, under the Director-Generalship of Colonel Charles Close, began re-surveying the country in 1912 with a view to producing maps that were both accurate and eye-catchingly designed. After the war, and guided by the results of public consultation, the one-inch Popular Edition was launched, with its iconic cover of a cyclist sitting on a hillside studying a map; a separate 92-sheet Popular Edition series was created for Scotland and published between 1924 and 1932. Some one-inch district or tourist maps focussing on specific towns or attractions were produced from the early 1920s with eye-catching pictorial covers in an attempt to find a wider market.

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

Popular Edition Maps capture 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.

What people say:

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

I just wanted to say thank you for your help and for the excellent service provided by Francis Frith - my order arrived yesterday, so much sooner than anticipated, and it looks fantastic!

Sent in by N Morris

We received the package yesterday and we LOVE it. Thank you to you and your team on working with me on this and being so easy to work with to make sure I got what I wanted. The canvas was perfect, the writing clear and the map with the buildings marked is great. Turned into the perfect birthday gift which I had hoped for.

Sent in by Chris Gerlach

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

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

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

I just wanted to say thank you for doing such a beautiful job on the map we recently ordered. It arrived exactly when you said it would. Wonderful!

Sent in by Caroline Rhys-Jones

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

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

Sent in by James Warner

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

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

Hello Andrea

Just a quick note to thank you and your team for your speedy and considerate service. I ordered a map print and explained to you that I really wanted it by this coming Friday as it is a special gift. You dealt with my order with the utmost professionalism and assured me it would be delivered by Friday. It came today. The print, the mount and the frame are exactly as I expected.

I am really impressed with your company’s service. Thank you.

Sent in by Tim Harris

I am writing to say Thank you because I have been so impressed with your service. Unfortunately, the first item arrived damaged. A straightforward telephone call to a friendly/helpful member of your staff and a replacement was sent within 10 days. I noticed that the title of the map had been incorrectly stated on the reprint. Once again a telephone call to a friendly/helpful person and I was clear as to how things would be resolved. Within 2 weeks a replacement has once again been received. And even yesterday evening somebody telephoned me to arrange the refund to my Account of the Carriage Charge. My experience of using your service has been excellent. Mistakes and problems happen in Business all the time, but when you have an excellent Customer Service Team who are keen to resolve matters to a customers complete satisfaction it makes such a difference. If other Business took the same attitude as yourselves towards Customer Service it would make such a difference to them. I will definitely be using you again. And most certainly recommending you to others.

Sent in by Martin Deadman

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
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