Mapping our History – Literally

Mapping our History

Peter Noakes, a local historian & Chairman of the Local History Group, shares his first thoughts on using a new mapping tool offered by the National Library of Scotland (yes you read that right, Scotland), to explore West Bergholt.  Also, a quick reminder about a talk Peter will give on 18th May.

Peter’s Thoughts

First of all, thanks to Tom Stevenson for finding this very useful website.  You can use it to access digitised old maps of the UK, but we were particularly interested in West Bergholt of course.

The site which is run by the National Library of Scotland can be accessed via  Clicking on this link should bring up the 1885-1900 1 inch OS map showing West Bergholt.  Interestingly if you adjust the Overlay Transparency slider (the BLUE blob) on the left-hand side of the screen in the selection box, you will find that this old map is overlaying a much more recent satellite image of exactly the same location!

Spy on the Past

If you select the SPY view from top options you can move an adjustable size “spy circle” around over the satellite image.  The circle shows the corresponding section from the map you have selected!  See the picture top right, did you know about the gravel pits?

Follow the development of West Bergholt with various maps from the selection available in option box 2.  There is even a 3D facility available to show the changes in altitude over the area of the map; perhaps not so important in West Bergholt.


This website makes my overlaying of manual scans of maps a little bit superfluous!  It’s a great site which is well worth a visit, maybe you might give it a go?

Also From Peter

A reminder that on 18th May Peter will be presenting a talk on “St Mary’s Through Time” with slides about the history of St. Mary’s Old Church.  Taking place in the Old Church the talk starts at 2:30 pm, entry is free and accompanied children are also very welcome. Donations towards the upkeep of the Old Church would be most welcome by the Friends of St Mary’s.  Refreshments will be available.