Maps of Penarth and Further Afield

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Braving some very inclement weather, more than 30 people went to the Parish Hall in the evening of 28th October to hear Chris Higley’s  talk on ‘Maps of Penarth and Further Afield’.

Chris had a number of maps on display for members of the audience to study and told us that a lot of maps are now available online

The oldest map showing Penarth Chris showed was from 1578 with spellings such as Pennarth poynt.  This map would have been engraved, printed in black and white and then coloured by hand.  At this time travel by sea would have been easier than travel by land in many cases and there were few roads marked on the map.

From the early 19th century the government had maps of the country made (Ordnance Survey maps).  The first OS map of Penarth seems to date from 1833 when there were just a handful of dwellings, a number of farms and the old mediaeval parish church here.  Parish Road (now Stanwell and Albert Roads) was shown and was so named as it was owned and maintained by the parish.

The National Library of Scotland has large scale OS maps and the details are on their website.

Chris had on display a number of OS maps showing how the design of the covers has changed over the years.

Maps of 1919 showed defences but in 1924 these details were deleted in the interests of national security.

There was a wartime German map on display clearly showing the docks in Cardiff as a target.    Chris also had some Russian maps of the area which should have been destroyed when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 but instead were sold as scrap paper!  He also showed a picture of a Polish map of the south-east of England with the names of the towns spelt phonetically, hence Margit (Margate) and the seaside town (now about to become a city) with the longest pier in the country Saufend-on-Sji*.  The mapmakers must have been talking to a lot of people from east and south-east London!

This was a very interesting talk on a subject we don’t often hear about and is lthe ast in this series of three very successful autumn talks arranged by The Friends of St Augustine’s.

*Southend-on-Sea in case you hadn’t worked it out.

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