Fantasy maps in literature

Merryn Henderson drew my attention to a brilliant thread of tweets from Frank Cottrell-Boyce with maps from classic literary fiction. I’m not sure if these are #MapsintheWild but they are an absolute delight so I thought I would share them with you (apologies for the way some tweets in a thread get duplicated)

The thread goes on for quite a while with loads of people chipping in other fantasy maps. Well worth a peruse

Mr Beck’s Diagram

Seen on the London Underground in December, this poster sits next to the regular Tube Map that we all know. It shows Harry Beck’s original “diagram” of 1933 and a preceding “geographic” map from 1908.

May not be quirky or wild but hey! I edit this thing so I get to choose something as iconic as this. Well played London Transport.

Gare Gale also spotted one of these posters and sent it to us, he said

“The first map I ever really used and comprehended. Sometimes it feels like TfL have forgotten the heritage behind Harry Beck’s seminal design as they rush to the next iteration of the tube map. So it’s lovely to see the history of the map recognised in a poster like this. 

Spotted on the Northern Line platform at Waterloo this morning.”

If you haven’t already got it, I can’t recommend enough Mr Beck’s Underground Map by Ken Garland

London floor at Stanfords

Basement floor at Stanfords, Long Acre

Stanfords has been a ‘go to’ place for map lovers for over a century. Founded by Edward Stanford in 1853, they have been located in their current Long Acre premises since 1901. They are about to move to a new location in Mercer Walk and while clearing stock out of their basement found time to share this photo of a magnificent London Map that decorated the floor.

“In the midst of our move we have cleared the basement floor of our Long Acre store so the full London map is now on show. Stay tuned to see what floor maps we’ll be installing in our new store on 7 Mercer Walk “

Here’s to the next 100 years of Stanfords 🙂

A bit of Mapping History on 412 Kent St, Sydney

Francisco Urbina sent us this magnificent street plan on a hoarding in  Sydney

‘This was on a construction hoarding down on Sussex Street in Sydney and is a Fire Underwriters’ Association of NSW, Plan of Sydney 1917 – 1939 from the City of Sydney Archives

It includes the Esri Australia building (you can leave this bit out if you want but it was interesting to me ;-p). Our building is made up of 412, 414, 416 and 418 Kent St. Actually the address today is 412 Kent St now.

You can see St John’s church on the Map, intact today and is now the Genesian Theatre next door to us.

It’s an interesting map as it is an underwriters risk map and it notes;

  • 412 as GoodEarls Ltd, Store for Calico Canvas and Ticking in Bales
  • 414 – 418 is BJ Ball Ltd and others
    • Bulk store for Paper, Paper Board, Metal Bearings, Hardware, Twine Nets , Tennis Court Marking Machines, *  for Haberdashery, soft goods, fancy goods, Assembly and Repair workshop for Printing Machines.

BTW you can still see BJ Ball Ltd signage on the side of the building above the Church today..”

What’s not to like about a massive detailed historic map on a hoarding? Nice one Cisco, keep them coming!


Delft Station

Erik Meerburg of Geo Academie sent us this picture of the ceiling at Delft Station

Hi Steven and Ken,
It is a strange world… nobody showed you the ceiling at the Delft train station yet? It is a huge map of the city of Delft in the 19th century. And, of course, done in (Delft) blue :-). It is a part of the new combined train station and town hall, opening a few years ago. And it does feel good living in a city with a map like this one… 


Maybe it’s the photo but I’m struggling to see the “blue” but regardless of that this is a magnificent ceiling and I love the use of the Delft pottery style.

This could be the largest map that we have yet had sent to us (no doubt that will prompt some entries for the Largest Map in the Wild award)

North America in the Ice Age

Warren Davison (he is @WarrenDZ) sent us this globe showing a frozen North American map from Ontario

“North America is in the midst of an ice age in this concrete globe with topographic relief

It’s outside a local reclaimed materials outfit in the Waterloo, Ontario. Would have been salvaged from a historic building that was due for demolition. Meant to ask which building and if there was a second half…

No price tag either ;)”