Ordnance Survey maps at The Keep

6 December 2016

By Philip Bye

For local and social historians, maps are among the most popular resources at The Keep. Our archive includes beautiful estate and tithe maps, and a substantial collection of Ordnance Survey (OS) maps dating from 1870 to 1990. The East Sussex Record Office has just finished listing 7,961 OS maps; the list can be viewed on our online catalogue and the maps themselves are on open access in the Reading Room (although you’ll need to register as a user of The Keep to access this room).

This collection of maps (which includes 1,391 maps formerly stored at Brighton History Centre) was received chiefly from the Planning Department of East Sussex County Council, although nearly a thousand were recently sent to us from Hastings Library.

As shown in the examples below, the maps are at a variety of scales; these range from fairly small (2½-inches to the mile) to very large for urban areas (50-inches to the mile). They show a wealth of local detail, which will enable searchers to investigate their history of houses, locality and changes to the countryside.

Digital images of 6, 25 and 50-inch OS maps for the whole of the UK from 1842 to 1952 are available online from the National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk/). On that website, you’ll find map-based finding aids to help you find the relevant sheet numbers for the area in which you’re are interested.