Maps & Plans

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The Thoresby Society Digitised Map Collection

As the local history society for Leeds, the Thoresby Society has concentrated its map collection on Leeds and the West Riding of Yorkshire, though there are maps of other parts of the county. There are versions of the 1726 Cossins map of Leeds, the earliest detailed map, with vignettes of many houses of the main merchants’ of the town around the edge; there is a fine copy of Thomas Jefferys’ map of Yorkshire (1775), with its inset plan of Leeds (and some of the later plans derived from that – 1770 and 1792); there are copies of the great Netlam and Francis Giles map of 1815, and a wide selection of maps of Leeds from then to the present.

There are also many detailed plans for buildings, works and events: proposed alterations to the Brunswick Tavern in 1861, for example; plans for traffic management in the centre of Leeds from 1976; or the route of Queen Victoria’s visit to Leeds in 1858. There are numerous estate plans; a copy of the colourful map of the Earl of Cardigan’s estates in Headingley, Kirkstall and Burley (1711), for example. Some estate plans are part of the detailed sales particulars of properties, and some are part of lengthy series showing the development of a property over a number of years – the Hill Top Estate at Burley, 1851 onwards, for example. There are maps relating to the development of the railways, canals and turnpike roads: Leeds-Selby railway, 1829, and the proposed canal between the two, 1772. There is even a map of Co-Operative stores in Leeds in 1897, and a plan of the bell pits discovered under Lloyds Bank in 1929.

There has been a long history of interest in maps in the Society; not just articles in the journal but also the extensive and invaluable detailed catalogue Printed Maps and Plans of Leeds, 1711-1900 (Kenneth J. Bonser and Harold Nichols, Thoresby Society Publications 47, 1960). The digitised collection which follows is extensive, but by no means all the maps and plans in the Socierty’s collection are included here. But the process is ongoing. Meanwhile all are listed in the Maps and Plans Catalogue and all are available for study on application to the Librarian.

The maps are in year order with the oldest first. Use the menu on the left to take you to the year you are looking for and you will find yourself on the first map or plan for that year. There may well be more than one for a year but the menu would be unmanageable if all maps for a year were listed. I know because that is how it started.

Use the Next and Previous links to explore around the date.

There may be more than one copy on a page so always scroll down.