Nautical Charts and Coastal Maps
North East Coast of England and Humber Estuary
North West Coast of England
South Coast of England
A nautical chart is a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions. It shows details of the coastline, water depths, navigational hazards and manmade structures such as harbours, bridges and buildings. (Wikipedia)
The Phoenicians used primitive charts as early as 2,000 BC but until the 15th century sailors were only coastal navigators. They determined latitude by measuring the angle of the North Star above the horizon. They used the magnetic compass, astrolabes and quadrants.
From the 13th century mariners started to keep records of their journeys and the first nautical maps were developed. Over the following centuries they developed new nautical tools. John Harris invented his chronometer from which longitude could be measured.
At the end of the 17th century the Dutch were the masters of the sea and produced the best nautical charts in the world. Samuel Pepys, then secretary of the Navy under King Charles II, appointed Captain Greenvile Collins, a Trinity House Pilot, to chart the British coastline. In 1693 “Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot“ was published. This contained 48 beautiful charts of the coastline of the British Isles of which some areas had never previously been mapped.
Nautical Charts and Coastal Maps
The Dutch were by far the early leaders in marine cartography, and most British charts were based on those of produced by the Dutch. After the Dutch sailed up the Thames in 1667 and destroyed part of the British Navy, Sir Samuel Pepys as Naval secretary realised we should draw up our own charts.
Captain Greenvile Collins
Captain Greenvile Collins - a Trinity House pilot - was appointed to survey the British coastline. Using a compass and lead-line he took seven years to complete the task and in 1693 Great Britain's Coasting Pilot was published. It contained 48 charts, many with profile views showing conspicuous landmarks. This lovely collection was reissued many times up to 1785.
Britain's sea ports
Britain's famous sea ports grew as we expanded our World trade, but some of our smaller coastal villages and towns also underwent transformation for other reasons. Many Victorians who could afford to escape from the rigors of industrial life in some of the inner towns and cities did so in the thousands towards the end of the 19th century.
Famous sea-side towns grew into the sea-side resorts we know today; Blackpool to the North, Great Yarmouth to the East as well as the likes of Brixton and Bournmouth in the South. Therefore along with the many county maps, town plans and borough surveys we will include Victorian maps of many of our sea-side towns, some of which have seen conflict as bastions at the front line of our island defences for many centuries.
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