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Know Your Place
- By Hilda Stoddart
An Introduction to the maps in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland
Friends of the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland - 2009 - Occasional Paper No 4
If you have an interest in maps or an interest in local history, do
read this book. In relatively few pages, it covers a large spectrum
of map-making; not just descriptions but details about
publishers, surveyors, patrons, reliability and legislation. As Hilda
Stoddart says at the beginning of the book, whatever touches
your interest ‘there is almost certainly a map to illustrate or
educate’. Many are included in this volume from tithe, enclosure,
military and transport maps to geology, sewage and field names.
There are county maps, town maps, village maps and estate
maps; some covering an extensive area and some just a field or
two. Most unusual are those illustrating our mapping of foreign
lands and foreigners mapping of our country.
The text is clear and succinct and the reproduction of the maps –
68 of them – is superb. These factors give the book general interest
but for those of us living in Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland
there is the added bonus that nearly all the map examples are of
this area. (More than a quarter of them are from Rutland.)
Sad to say, the book has one major flaw. When you want to refer back to a particular point or a particular person, you will be frustrated
because there is no index, no list of contents (and indeed not even page numbers). This is a shame because it reduces its value as a
reference book. Fortunately, however, it is to some extent offset by the referencing within the text which is very clear – each map
described is identified by its number in bold type and maps are titled with their date and Record Office reference. The production of the
book with a spiral binding also makes it easy to handle and flick from text to map as you read.
The book not only achieves its intention of providing an introduction to the wide variety of maps available in the Record Office but also
puts them into their historical context and encourages exploration of the many not included. Thanks are due to Hilda Stoddart and the
Friends of the Records Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland for ensuring that the 2006 exhibition ‘Know Your Place’ was not
just put back in the archives.