The "New Edition" (surveyed 1842-1893)
The government and the Ordnance Survey took several measures to address this
issue. From the 1840s surveys were carried out at increasingly detailed
scales and were used for many purposes including railway construction,
geological survey and sanitary reform. In order to ensure complete and
accurate coverage, the 1841 Survey Act had already given surveyors the right
to ‘enter into and upon any land’ in the course of their duties. Having moved
into new premises in Southampton after a fire in 1841 had destroyed their
overcrowded Tower of London headquarters, the Ordnance Survey, armed with
its new powers and instructions, began work on re-surveying the country. The
results, published at the one-inch scale between 1876 and 1896, were later
to be known as the New Edition.
The Revised New Edition (surveyed 1893-1898)
In 1893 a more thorough revision was undertaken which resulted in the
publication of 346 sheets, between 1895 and 1899, of what became known as the
Revised New Edition (later sheets were merely the same with hachured hills
added). Improvements in reproduction and printing techniques helped these
to be even clearer and more accurate than their predecessors. By this time,
however, another change was being demanded; for from the early 1890s,
the military was pressing for a one-inch map in colour. Financial, technical,
aesthetic and political considerations as to how this could best be
accomplished were hotly debated between the numerous interested parties.
The Revised New Map Edition is an immaculate record of a vibrant society on the
threshold of a still greater period of development and urbanisation. It
records countless reminders of the past, many of which were about to be
swept away for good.
For local historians, this is the final record of your part of the country
before the changes brought by the motor car. If your interest is genealogical,
the Edition coincides with the 1901 Census, showing the landscape your
ancestors inhabited. Whatever your reason for being interested in your area’s
past, prepared to be entranced by these maps – enlarged and combined to match
the present-day OS Landrangers, they will reveal secrets of a familiar
landscape you never knew existed.