Mapping Group Newsletter - February 2020
To see the Gateshead Local Studies collection of maps, click the link and change the record type to maps.
Defra's Magic Maps
Alan Godfrey Maps - Reproductions of old Ordnance Survey Maps.
Digital access to George III's vast collection of Military Maps
The landscape south and west of the River Tyne, which centres on the wooded Derwent valley, has been a focus of human activity for thousands of years. The Romans drove a road through it to connect York, Corbridge and Hadrian's Wall with their distant northern outposts in Caledonia. St Cuthbert's Lindisfarne monks farmed these lands from their estate at Chester-Le-Street in the Viking period. The Prince Bishops of Durham ruled here. Jacobites, royalists and the kings of England and Scotland fought over these lands in their long-lasting wars; great houses and estates were carved from its hills and vales. The noisy revolution of the Crowley Ironworks at the end of the 17th century heralded two centuries of industry: of the sword makers of Shotley Bridge, the pioneering pitmen and waggonways of the Team Valley and the keelmen of the Tyne.
The Land of Oak & Iron has always seen partnerships between people and nature, and the mapping group aims to explore and celebrate those partnerships by mapping the human impact on the landscape from as far back as we can right up to the present.
We have a collection of paper maps, made by the Ordnance Survey, which show many of these elements: fields, woods, roads and lanes, weirs, mills, mines and trackways. How and why have they survived, or been lost? Why are villages, towns and farms where they are? By extracting the many layers preserved in these maps and transferring them into digital, interactive media, we aim to explore the evolution of our landscape and share its many fascinating secrets with both the people who live and work here, and the visitors who will come to explore its magic.
Participants in the Mapping Group will learn to read old maps and documents, assemble information on tracings and spreadsheets and help transfer these into exciting new graphics. A number of small interlinked groups will concentrate on pairs of maps ad then pool their information, providing a resource that will stand the test of time and enrich our knowledge of the landscape for generations to come. You are invited to contribute your time, your passion for the local area and history, and your skills in reading the sometimes complex patterns of the past. You will have contributed to a very special historical project whose fruits will be enjoyed by visitors, residents and researchers from across the world.
To find out more about this project and register to get involved, please click here.