This detailed and coloured map of Buxton was created in 1898 by John Bartholomew of the long running map publishers, Bartholomew & Co., first established in 1832. The company is still running today as ‘Collins Bartholomew’ and is owned by the well-known Harper Collins publishers.
Although slightly difficult to see from this image alone, the map of Buxton shown is very detailed and shows notes of elevation in feet, and the train line. You can even see the walks and footpaths mapped out in Corbar Woods and through the park.
The map shows recognisable landmarks of Buxton that we still have today like the Devonshire Dome and the Crescent. However, can you spot things which aren’t here anymore or haven’t been built yet? The iconic Buxton Opera House is missing from the map as it wasn’t built until 1903. The map also depicts the two platforms on the station, one of which is no longer standing. Maps like these are a window into Buxton’s past.
John Bartholomew’s father (also bearing the same name) had first started the company but Bartholomew and was a talented cartographer and geographer in his own right. He even held a Royal Warrant and was known as both ‘Cartographer to the King’, and ‘The Prince of Cartography’. Arguably, his longest standing legacy was naming Antarctica in 1890, a place which up until this point had mostly been ignored due to its harsh climate.
His maps were extremely detailed, taking information from the Ordnance Survey mapping which aided in accuracy. He was the first to introduce coloured contour layering on his half-inch maps, which represented landscapes and different heights. Even at the end of the nineteenth-century, these maps were quickly advancing in what they could tell travellers about the surrounding areas.
Not only was Bartholomew creating maps with visual representations of the height of hills and other features, but the maps provided information that most others did not and made this useful material more accessible for travellers. The maps showed street names of major cities, roads, cycling routes, and even railway timetables.