Historic OS Maps Online, Mapping History for Schools

Historic maps now online covering all of England and Wales

37,000 detailed maps that offer a fascinating glimpse into how every area of England and Wales developed from Victorian times to the 1950s are now available free online at the National Library of Scotland.

The six-inch to the mile series of Ordnance Survey maps, dating between 1842 and 1952, show how towns and cities have spread into the countryside and how the road and rail network developed.

Individual buildings and streets can be identified clearly and smaller features can be seen including post boxes, bollards on quaysides and mile posts. The maps can be viewed over time for each place of interest.

National Library of Scotland press release.

Mapping History – an introduction to historical maps and Digimap for Schools

The NLS Learning and Map Library teams in partnership with Archaeology Scotland, have created a new website for young people and community groups to learn about historical maps.

The site has both online and downloadable activities and a simple step-by-step guide which demonstrate how to read and use a wide range of maps. These activities can also be used to learn more about the history of an area using maps.


The NLS Map Library team have contributed to a fun, new online service created in partnership with Ordnance Survey and The University of Edinburgh that provides current and historical OS maps for schools.

Maps can be downloaded and printed off for use in the classroom, for homework or school projects. There are also a range of helpful online tools.

The popular NLS historical map overlay is also built-in to the site so schools can view historical maps for learning about the past.



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