The Historical Maps of Alnwick and Alnmouth is only one of the latest in what has been centuries of mapping. Many of the earlier maps were commissioned by the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland, some of which are reproduced below.
Robert Norton – 1620
Isaac Thompson – 1760
Thomas Wilkins – 1773
Claude Joseph Sauthier – 1778
Click here to read more about Sauthier.
John Wood 1827
John Wood was born in Yorkshire around 1780-85, and he died in 1847. He trained in North Yorkshire then lived in Edinburgh after he married. He is best known for his detailed plans of Scottish towns, but he produced town plans across England and Wales as well. Apparently his normal practice was to do field-work between late March and September / October, then he would return to Edinburgh to have his drawings engraved over the winter. By 1826 Wood had almost completed his work on Scottish towns, and he mapped Alnwick for a Town Atlas of Northumberland and Durham.
Thomas Bell 1850
From the mid-19th century, the Ordnance Survey maps became more relevant. Click here to find out more about local surveying.
Public health concerns provided the initial rationale for the Ordnance Survey large-scale town plans. The major cholera epidemic of 1832, along with continuing outbreaks of typhus, were strong in people’s minds, along with the growing awareness that cartography had provided the vital links to discovering the causes of these diseases. During the 1840s, the Poor Law Commissioners recommended that the Ordnance Survey should create detailed town plans in conjunction with their mapping of counties, for encouraging local authorities to make sanitary improvements. Following the Public Health Act of 1848, Local Boards of Health were formed in urban areas, and were given powers to ensure clean water supplies to their districts, as well as control sewers, clean the streets, and regulate slaughterhouses.