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Map Notes -- 
brief essays about a map in 
the HMCMS Map Collection   Map Notes

OS 1920s Popular Edition
to 1st map described 


These brief notes are about Hampshire as shown on sheets of the One inch map Popular Edition, published by the Ordnance Survey from 1918-31. The maps studied are in the Map Collection of Hampshire CC Museums Service, items HMCMS:FA2003.7.112, FA2003.7.113, B1972.67.36, FA2003.7.122, FA2003.7.123, FA2003.7.124, FA1971.424, FA2003.7.132, FA2003.7.141 and FA2003.7.142.
map type: HantsMap & OS 1920s Popular Edition
The Popular Edition, the 4th edition, of the OS one inch map, was reproduced by zincography, not engraved. Seven colours were used:-
black - outline detail;
green - woodland;
orange - contours, there are no hachures;
red and brown - classified roads, A and B categories as laid down in the Ministry of Transport Act 1919;
lighter blue - water, the sea;
darker blue - water, rivers and depth contours.

Card Cover

The maps are generally found mounted on linen and folded first in 3 on horizontal ie east west folds, then a zigzag of 7 or 8 sections across. The zigzag of map sections allows easy access to two thirds of the map; it is more of a bother to see the remaining third. The method of the first 3 way folding varies from example to example, some protect the map more, some are more accessible than others. Card covers provide outer protection for the map:-

The cover design is by Ellis Martin; the vignette of the cyclist is signed:-
in a scroll lower right. Ellis Martin was the first professional artist designer to be employed by the OS and his Popular Edition map covers had an instant effect of increasing sales of maps. The pomp of coat of arms, and swags of oak leaves, are tempered by a sketch of a cyclist sitting on a grassy hillside above a valley with river, bridge and village, studying his map. His bicycle is near, a safety model with a chain guard. He is dressed in norfolk jacket, plusfours, tweed cap, and he smokes a pipe. In later map editions the cyclist changes to a less formally dressed walker in the same scene reflecting the change in social mood. Below the sketch there is the title text, etc, and a location map showing the coverage of the sheet. The location map (sheet 132) has coast line with form lines, rivers, a few settlements to orientate the reader, compass rose, chequered scales in the borders, and a picture frame border decorated with shells and strapwork - an antique map.
The map size (sheet 132, cover with buff border, 7x3 fold) is: wxh, folded = 11x19cm; wxh, sheet = 75.5x56.5cm; wxh, map = 707x482mm over the borders. A different example (sheet 141, cover without buff border, 8x3 fold) is: wxh, folded = 10x18cm; wxh, sheet = 77.5x53.5cm; wxh, map = 709x483mm. In all sheets the map coverage is 27 x 18 miles.


Sheet corners and coverage, see:-


I make no apology for presenting these notes about maps which are so well known and so well described by far more knowledgable writers on OS maps. The comments are all made in the pattern used for early printed maps of the county; and may thus be inept for such modern maps as these, but can be set against the other descriptions for comparison. Limited comments are made about each of a limited range of features. For consistency most notes are taken from looking at the example of sheet 132 in the Map Collection, which is also used for many of the snip images of features. Other prints of sheet 132 might differ in some details, the HMCMS example is a buff border cover type; other notes are taken from sheet 141 as next choice, this type has no buff border on the cover.
map maker    

As well as the title printed on the cover there is a title printed at the top of the map sheet, eg (sheet 132):-
image snip from map

in decorative block caps.
Further along at the top is other handy information, eg (sheet 132):-
SHEET 132 (Hampshire & Sussex)
and to the left:-
Printed at the bottom right is data about survey, engraving, corrections, etc, eg (HMCMS sheet 132):-
First published by The Director General, at the ORDNANCE SURVEY OFFICE, SOUTHAMPTON, 1919, with periodical corrected reprints.
and on another example (HMCMS sheet 141):-
Engraved at the ORDNANCE SURVEY OFFICE, Southampton.
Surveyed in 1862-88 and Published in 1892-3.
Revised in 1893-96 and in 1903.
Revised (3rd Revision) in 1913.
Published by Colonel Sir Charles Close, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., Director General.
Printed at the Ordnance Survey Office, Southampton, 1919.
Railways inserted to 1922.
Reprint 4000/23.
These notes are not the place for a complicated description of the revision and printing history of the Hampshire sheets.

index diagram    
Printed in the bottom border is an index diagram showing the adjacent sheets in the series, eg (from sheet 132):-
image snip from map

No. of the adjoining sheets of the One Inch maps.

location map    
A reduced version of the map is printed in black on buff on the front cover with enough settlements and rivers to show what area the map covers.
image snip from map

On the back cover there is (sheet 132) an index map of Great Britain showing the arrangement of sheets in the whole series, variously captioned:-
Published by Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
The index map has a scale line.
Other printings of these maps have an index map of the south of England and Wales only (eg sheet 141). The Hampshire area is:-
image snip from map

table of symbols    
Printed in colour bottom left is a wide table of symbols for many of the features on the map, not settlements (shown here in pieces):-
  image snip from map

compass rose    
magnetic variation    
up is N    

image snip from map

Printed in the [probably] upper right border of the map, or perhaps in an otherwise blank sea area, is a compass rose; no circle, decorated lines for cardinal and half cardinal directions, North marked by an arrow and fleur de lys. A magnetic north line is also given accompanied by a statement like (sheet 132):-
Magnetic Varn. 15[degrees] 44[minutes] W Jan. 1925. Annual decrease 10[minutes] (not constant)

scale line    

The maps have scale lines for miles, yards and kilometres in the bottom border of each sheet, horizontal, for east-west distances. The style varies from printing to printing. On the HMCMS example of sheet 132 the scale line for miles is chequered and labelled in miles, and has a left extension chequered and labelled in furlongs. The 5+1 miles = 151.8 mm giving a scale 1 to 63610. In the right border a plainer vertical scale of miles, north-south, is 4+1 miles = 127.2 mm giving a scale 1 to 63260. The map scale is nominally:-
1 to 63360
1 inch to 1 mile
Printed above the bottom scale line:-
image snip from map

Scale of One Inch to One Statute Mile 1/63360
Apart from the inevitable stretch and shrink of paper with change of relative humidity these maps are reliably accurate in their scale. The map's projection has associated errors which are not significant in these small scale maps.

lat and long scales    
image snip from map

Printed in the map borders are sales of latitude and longitude; chequered at 1 minute intervals, labelled at 5 minutes intervals.
(This note is at the edge of my knowledge and comprehension; beware.) The projection used for the Hampshire sheets of this map series is a Cassini projection using a central meridian at Greenwich, and perhaps a central meridian base on Butterton Hill for the westerly sheets.

index grid    
An index grid is printed across the map; cells 1..14 across, the 14th cell is half size; cells A..J downwards, not including I. The cell size is 3520 yards square; it does not correspond to the lat and long scales in any obvious way.
Johnston 1920, questions after his paper, Col Whitlock:-
... The new one-inch popular edition is squared wih two-inch squares. This enables anyone to judge distances pretty accurately. ...
It isn't really an index grid at all?

sea area    
sea tinted    
depth contours    

The sea area on the maps is printed in lighter blue. Some sea areas are labelled, eg (from sheet 132):-
image snip from map

Stokes Bay
Johnston 1920:-
... The sea is printed in a solid tint in contrast to the lined efect on the older maps. ...
Depth contours are drawn in darker blue at 5 fathom intervals, labelled in fathoms:-
Sandbanks surrounded by water and submarine contours are based upon Admiralty Surveys, the datum of which is approximately Mean Low Water Springs.
The Submarine Contours are given in Fathoms, and are taken from the Soundings of Admiralty Surveys.
Sandbanks are mostly not labelled? though on sheet 132 there is:-
Spit Sand
labelled off Haslar, with a buoy at the end, etc. As well a few buoys the maps might show lighthouses or lightships. At Calshot (sheet 132) there are two lights, labelled:-
image snip from map

Calshot Spit Lightship
Calshot Lightfloat

coast line    
coast appearance    

The foreshore area is printed pale brown with black dotting, and creeks and river inlets and estuaries and tussocks of marsh grass, etc:-
image snip from map

Some of these areas might be labelled, eg (from sheet 132):-
Thorns Beach
Little Marsh
both west of the Beaulieu River estuary; and:-
Hamble Spit
East Winner
etc. The coast appearance might be drawn, as at Ballard Point and around Durlston Head in Dorset (sheet 141) where hachures show lower or higher cliffs. Some headlands might be labelled, eg (from sheet 132):-
Needs Oar Point
Stone Point
Gilkicker Point
Harbours are clearly drawn, with channels and islands among the mudflats, and labelled, eg:-
Titchfield Haven
Portsmouth Harbour
The large docks are shown at Southampton, eg:-
image snip from map

The Docks

coastal defence    

It is outwith the small scope of these notes to analyse what coastal defences are and are not shown on these maps, produced at a sensitive time just after World War I.
The old coastal defence castles might be noticed, as (on sheet 132):-
image snip from map

Calshot Castle
marked by a circle symbol not a ground plan, labelled in english black letter, with additional information:-
(Seaplane and Wireless Tel. Sta.)
and notice:-
Castle [Netley]
South Sea Castle
Drawn in outline. Other fortifications are mostly missing from the map? There is a simple outline of polygonal fortifications at Gilkicker, unlabelled; Haslar Hospital is plotted; the chain of forts defending Gosport are drawn in outline, unlabelled; the forts on Portsdown are absent; the Royal Dockyard is plotted; Lumps Fort and Fort Cumberland are just outlined, not labelled.


Rivers are printed in the darker blue, showing the stream's course and width, and braiding, in reliable detail. Every river that might show up at the scale is shown on the maps, many labelled, eg:-
image snip from map

Wallington River
Cove Brook
In river estuaries, as the river widens, the darker blue gives way to the lighter blue of the sea, with darker blue shading, done with a pattern of spots, at the edges. Further down still the foreshore is printed as described above:-
image snip from map

Johnston 1920:-
... In the new maps the rivers and streams are drawn solid, whereas on the old maps they retained their engraved form. ...
Bridges are drawn with a recognisable bridge symbol under a road, or railway. Some bridges are named, eg:-
image snip from map

Northam Br.
A ford might be drawn across a road, eg:-
image snip from map

across the Sandhurst to Darby Green road crossing the Hampshire boundary.
Ponds are drawn in outline, tinted blue, eg:-
image snip from map

Fleet Pond

spot heights    

Relief on the maps is shown by contour lines printed in orange. The vertical interval is 50 feet, the 50 foot and then each 100 foot contour are labelled. Labelling is along a contour line as near upwards as can be for easy reading: this means that the number is not 'up' uphill, and cannot inform the user which way is up through the series of contours. Contours provide a real plot of the lie of the land, but, as with most contour line systems it is not easy to see the shape of the land from the contours, except where they happen to be close together, perhaps helped by a spot height of a hill summit, or a river in its valley:-
image snip from map

Park Hill / 670
image snip from map

on Broadhalfpenny Down
It is hard to follow a contour round the map till a label is found, by which time you've probably lost where you started.
Spot heights are given by a figure, with the spot marked by a dot in a triangle. Spot heights on roads are a figure by a dot.
Johnston 1920, questions after his paper, Major General Lord Edward Gleichen:-
Do I understand you to say that these 'popular' one-inch maps are approved of for military purposes? It occurs to me that one does not grasp the lie of the ground anything like as quickly .... does not differentiate hills and valleys ...
The stonewall reply was:-
It has been accepted by the War Office.
Printed at the bottom of the map is:-
The Altitudes and Contours are given in Feet above Ordnance Survey Datum (Mean Sea Level.)
Contours surveyed on the ground, 50', 100', 200', 300', 400', 500'. 600', 700', 800'., Other contours interpolated and only approximately correct.
Johnston 1920:-
... it will be noticed that the contours, instead of being at 100 and 250 feet apart, are now uniformly at 50 feet vertical interval. The interpolated contours have been engraved from the 2-inch hill drawings and from spot levels. The old contour lines, viz. 50 feet, 100 and every 100 feet up to 100, and every 250 above that height, had been previously surveyed on the ground.


Woodland is indicated by small tree symbols, with bushes and dotting for undergrowth. The symbols are printed in black over a green ground. Deciduous and coniferous trees are distinguished; and orchards have trees in rows. Areas of woodland are outlined with a solid or dotted line, fenced or unfenced, and might be labelled, eg:-
image snip from map

Stoke Wood
NNW of Hambledon. On sheet 132 the:-
meaning East Bere Forest, is labelled across an area north of Havant, with some areas of woods.

Parks are shown in outline, with a green ground, and detail of house, ornamental drives, areas of woodland, etc. The park or its house might be labelled, eg:-
image snip from map

Southwick Ho.
Parks are no longer very significant.

image snip from map

The county boundary appears to be a dot dash line, which in the table of symbols is a county and parish boundary. A county boundary is meant to be a dotted line. There seems to be some confusion; and the maps do not show parishes anyway!
Johnston 1920:-
... it will be observed that only county boundaries are shown on the new maps. Parish boundaries which caused so much confusion with footpaths have disappeared. ...
All counties are labelled in borders of map, eg:-
image snip from map

Remember that these maps are not 'county' maps; they are not maps of Hampshire in particular.


Settlements are drawn by groups of blocks for buildings, or outline areas shaded in black for built up areas. The pattern of streets in all settlements is shown as well as can be achieved at the scale. Settlements are represented as truly as they can be, a far cry from the simple town symbol of early printed maps.
The conventions for labelling settlements were published in a sixpenny sheet by the Ordnance Survey in the 1930s. Not having a full set of Hampshire sheets, these notes are abbreviated.

town     ... labelled in upright block caps, eg:-
image snip from map

Larger towns might be in large italic block caps, eg:-

village     ... labelled in upright lowercase text, eg:-
image snip from map


hamlet     ... labelled in italic lowercase text, eg:-
image snip from map

Durley Street

spot heights    

Roads are drawn by a double line, differentiated by width for bigger and smaller roads, by colour, and with solid or dotted lines for fenced and unfenced road boundaries. The conventions use the classifications set up in the:-
Ministry of Transport Act 1919
and are described in the contemporary handbook to the OS small scale books:-
... 1st class roads red, 2nd class roads (fit for ordinary traffic) brown, 3rd class roads (indifferent or winding) chequered brown. Minor roads in uncoloured outline. ...
For example (sheet 132):-
image snip from map

roads west of Fair Oak: red, brown, brown/white chequered, white, solid and dotted, and a spot height.
Johnston 1920:-
... the Road Classification stands out in a very marked degree. There is no mistaking the first-class roads, and users of motor cars can easily pick out roads available for their use. ...
and in questions after his paper, Col Whitlock:-
The roads where considered by a committee of representatives from the War Office, Road Borda, the Automobile Association, and an officer from the Ordnance Survey, and their recommendations ... the main roads are easily seen, and I think that the map is one that will appeal to motorists and cyclists and other people who use the road. ...

Canals are drawn by a blue line, perhaps labelled, eg:-
image snip from map

Basingstoke Canal
Eelmoor Bridge
The wide area is Eelmoor Flash; a flash is a swamp not a winding point.

The table of symbols provides a whole lots of conventions for representing railway lines, from mainline railways to mineral lines and tramways. Main lines are labelled with the railway company name, perhaps abbreviated. The scale of the maps allows some suggestion, perhaps unrealistic, of detail, eg:-
image snip from map

S.R. Works
showing part of the London and Southampton Railway, the junction with the Bishopstoke to Gosport branch railway, and Eastleigh Works of the London and South Western Railway, LSWR. And more anonymously:-
image snip from map

cutting and embankment drawn by hachures, over bridge and under bridge, ... Stations are marked by a red filled rectangle or circle, an uncoloured circle if disused.

The time of these maps is a time of tremendous developments in air transport. Various features show up on the Hampshire maps, for example:-
image snip from map

Flying Track
Laffans Plain
near Farnborough where the army and later the Royal Flying Corps experimented.
Several airfields are marked, eg:-
image snip from map

what is now Eastleigh Airport.
And there are several indications of flying boats in The Solent area, eg:-
image snip from map

Seaplane Sta.
at Hythe

No particularly careful study has been made looking for other features shown on the maps. The OS maps show allsorts everywhere as well as they can!

Wireless telegraphy stations are marked.

race courses    
image snip from map

Race Course
at Paulsgrove

image snip from map

Brick Works
SW of Chandlers Ford

image snip from map

E of Botley; elsewhere:-


image snip from map

Tumulus [english black letter]
on Yateley Common

water mills    

image snip from map

Durley Mill
a water mill on the River Meon.
image snip from map

Old Windmill
this is Bursledon Windmill, which is a tower mill; the symbol is a conventional symbol for a windmill, a postmill.

Numerous inns are labelled:-
though it is not often clear which building is meant in a village. On a road the building might be marked clearly, eg:-
image snip from map

Ely Inn
by the London road between Blackwater and Basingstoke, on Yateley Common.

image snip from map

Marlborough Lines
in North Camp, Aldershot


: 1930 (?): Description of the Ordnance Survey Small Scale Maps: Ordnance Survey (Southampton, Hampshire)

Browne, John Paddy: 1990 (about): Map Cover Art: Ordnance Survey (Southampton, Hampshire):: ISBN 0319 00234 9

Harley, J B: 1975: Ordnance Survey Maps, a descriptive manual: Ordnance Survey (Southampton, Hampshire)

Hellyer, Roger: 1999: Ordnance Survey Small Scale Maps, indexes 1801-1998: Archer, David (Kerry, Montgomeryshire)

Hodson, Yolande: 1999: Popular Maps & Ordnance Survey Popular Edition One Inch Map of England and Wales 1919-1926

Johnston, W J, Col: 1920: New One Inch and Quarter Inch Maps of the Ordnance Survey: Geographical Journal: vol.55: pp.192-200

Owen, Tim & Pilbeam, Elaine: 1992: Ordnance Survey, Map Makers to Britain since 1791: Ordnance Survey (Southampton, Hampshire):: ISBN 0 319 00498 8 (pbk)

Steers, J A: 1965 (14th edn) & 1925: Introduction to the Study of Map Projections: University of London Press

button map type OS 1920s Popular Edition -- menu of resources
button Durley Street -- OS13CRNR.txt
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.112 -- map (sheet 112)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.113 -- map (sheet 113)
button source item -- HMCMS:B1972.67.36 -- map (sheet 114)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.122 -- map (sheet 122)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.123 -- map (sheet 123)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.124 -- map (sheet 124)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.131 -- map (sheet 131)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA1971.424 -- map (sheet 132)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.141 -- map (sheet 141)
button source item -- HMCMS:FA2003.7.142 -- map (sheet 142)

button list of map notes

HantsMap Notes -- ORDNCE13.txt
MN: 9.7.2003
last edit: 24.7.2003