Landscape and maps
Ordnance survey maps
Ordnance Survey maps are very useful to the local historian as they trace the development of buildings, settlements and landscapes across the 19th and 20th centuries. This continuous series of maps, surveyed at varying dates, makes it possible to pinpoint the dates of significant alterations to a specific area and may reflect a changing community.
Tithe maps and their accompanying awards can be particularly useful, as they provide a record of the landscape and its inhabitants as they stood in the mid-19th century.
Enclosure maps and their accompanying awards are important sources for local, agricultural and economic history, and reflect a time when communities were experiencing significant change. They show the division of open, commonly-farmed land into individual enclosed fields, mainly in the late 18th century.
Aerial photographs can be an invaluable source for studying changing landscapes and evolving communities over the last 75 years. At the smallest level, they can be used to trace changes to individual properties and gardens, or reveal archaeological features, whilst on a wider scale they can show the development of roads and railways, urban expansion and industrial decline.
Estate maps and surveys date mainly from the 18th and 19th century, but are particularly useful where they pre-date the enclosure maps, or detail land use and occupation not recorded in other sources. They were produced for landowners and their agents for a variety of purposes.
County maps (those that represent the county as a whole rather than focussing on specific areas) present an overview of the wider context in which local settlements and communities developed. They date from the 16th century onwards.
Maps showing urban areas at a larger scale or in greater detail can help to trace the layout and development of towns in the past. In some cases, maps were drawn up that pre-date the Ordnance Survey.