Scroll Britannia: The UK’s First Road Map

Posted by admin on Aug 8, 2009

This extraordinary map, dating from 1675, details The Road From LONDON to the LANDS END Comencing at the Standard in Cornhill and Extending to Senan in Cornwall. It was made by IOHN OGILBY Esq[ui]r[e] his Ma[jes]ties Cosmographer and covers 308 miles and 3 furlongs (almost 500 km).

The life of John Ogilby (1600-1676) can be qualified without exaggeration as rather eventful. He freed his father from debtors’ prison by buying a winning lottery ticket, founded a dance school in London and later Dublin’s Theatre Royal, got shipwrecked on his return from Ireland, produced a very successful English verse transaltion of Virgil, lost all his property in the Great Fire of London (1666), and towards the end of his life managed to produce the Britannia Atlas (1675), considered to be the first road atlas of Britain.

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