The Ordnance Survey and John Betjeman

The Guardian this week has a nostalgic reflection by Rachel Hewitt asking  if this is “The end of the road for Ordnance Survey? Ordnance Survey paper maps are under threat from digital devices. Rachel Hewitt celebrates an ‘icon of England’ beloved by generations of hikers, poets and artists”

Rachel Hewitt is the author of “Map of a Nation: A Biography of of the Ordnance Survey” and often writes about cartography, such as her review of “On the Map by Simon Garfield”  Although many articles have been written about the impact of geospatial technologies on traditional paper maps, none have been as poetic because Rachel Hewitt is one of the BBC’s Ten New Generation Thinkers selected by the BBC and AHRC to disseminate their research through radio and festivals.

In the article, Hewitt quotes from the late Poet Laureate John Betjeman who was famous for his love of  Ordnance Survey one inch maps immortalized in his verse autobiography Summoned by Bells (1960). “DEAR lanes of Cornwall! With a one-inch map, A bicycle and well-worn “Little Guide””  His alma mater, University of Exeter,  houses John Betjeman’s library categorized by subject categories including English topography and architecture.


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