Behind the Scenes at the British Library Map Room

I was lucky enough to be on a private tour of the British Library Map Room, as part of the Society of Cartographers conference at the beginning of the month.

The tour showed some of the treasures of the Map Room, including the world’s first printed colour map, proofs of the world’s largest atlas, and a fragile nested set of globes; followed by a walk through the huge, industrial map storage facility in the bottom basement underneath the British Library (the Northern Line could be heard rumbling above!) and a quick look in the Map Reading Room. Some of the older maps of (real) places look like they are straight out of a fantasy novel – presumably the latter being heavily influenced by the former. A good example is above.

Thanks to the SoC for organising and the Curator of Antiquities for showing us around.