Writing about Place
Loved this! I find old maps so fascinating and have recently started collecting them. Feel like it’s going to become a very expensive hobby. Really enjoyed how you related it to Place Writing here. Out of interest is the writing project you mentioned here your thesis?
I always start with maps when I am writing about places and planning trips in the UK. Old maps in particular add layers of knowledge to a place. Cities change all the time but it is also fascinating to see the changes to even a rural landscape, places that we think have stayed the same for centuries. I like to read the place names for woods and hills and think about how they came about too.
I own old maps of where we live but others are often available online. This is quite useful https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/maps/?layer=europe&xMin=3201757.86723338&yMin=3007828.41968226&xMax=3231757.86723338&yMax=3037828.41968226
I’m not sure what I’d do without maps, especially old ones. They bring a place to life for me, especially through the names of woods, copses and even hedgerows (that I then research). On some of our old local maps they have individual trees, that I love to find and sit under. I often wonder how many other people have done the same and have planted themselves in their surroundings.
The NLS map site is a really good way to lose an hour or three... https://maps.nls.uk/
Nothing gives me a fever dream like a good map, and a great map is a novel all of its own. Enjoyed this piece, thanks.
I'm so glad I found you, Yasmin! I'm enjoying your work here and looking forward to more. I'm a novelist, and every book I've written is mapped in one way or another, for one reason or another. (My favorite experience was exploring (via maps and on the ground) the Lake District area around Near/Far Sawrey and including what I found in a series of novels about Beatrix Potter.) I'm launching a Substack in Sept--writing from our Texas place.