Late Eighteenth Century Birmingham - A history in maps

Early town maps provide one of the most useful sources for urban historians, whether they are looking for the location of places, events in the past or understanding the growth and development of a town. With more than twenty maps covering the century from William Westley’s plan of 1731 to James Drake’s plan of 1831, the Birmingham historian is better placed than those of most other industrial towns.

As well as providing snapshot images of the growing town maps have the potential to both add to and make clearer the evidence provided by documentary sources. However, they should not be trusted until their accuracy has first been assessed. Not every street or feature shown on a map existed and not everything that existed was necessarily shown. At times, even the date on the map should be questioned.

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