Friday 4 November 2011

Early 20th century maps available from NIFHS

A wonderful selection of historical maps of town and districts in northern counties is now on offer through the North of Ireland Family History Society website.

These Alan Godfrey maps are reprints of Old Ordnance Survey Maps and are based on either 25-inch (or 1:2,500) plans, reduced to '15-inch to the Mile', or “Inch to the Mile” maps.

Each one predates WW2 (some are considerably older) and show the configuration of streets before bomb damage, after which many streets in Belfast were lost. Each map includes a history of the area, and some include extracts from contemporary directories.

Here's an example description, from the Lisburn 1902 map:

The very detailed map covers the busy town (now a city) of Lisburn, with coverage stretching from Longstone Street and Longstone Lane eastwards to Grove Street and Grove House; and from North Circular Road southwards to the Workhouse and Cemetery. Note that the Co Down part of the map is left blank but the map does include the Largymore area east of the Lagan, which was part of Lisburn Urban District Council.

The many features include Christ Church Cathedral, Market Square, town centre with all the buildings neatly delineated, Castle Gardens, Millbrook and Beetling Mill, cattle market, Smithfield, St Patrick's RC Church, flax spinning mill, railway with station, Christ Church, handkerchief works, Union Workhouse, Manor House, River Lagan and Lagan Navigation, Largymore, Largymore Factory, Ballymullan area, Lagan Factory, The Island, Roseville etc. On the reverse is a list of private residents taken from a contemporary directory.

Is there anyone with ancestors from Lisburn who wouldn't want such a map?

There's a wide range of towns included in the 15-inch series – among them are Downpatrick 1901, Larne 1903, North Belfast 1920, Cavan Town 1909, Limvady 1904, Monaghan 1907, etc – and in the Inch to the Mile selection. Among the latter are Coalisland, Dungannon & District 1899 and Belfast & Hillsborough 1901.

Most of the maps are priced at just £3.50 (a couple are cheaper, one is slightly more expensive), which strikes me as a bargain. You should also take a look at the other publications offered by the NIFHS; you won't find such detailed, locally-researched books and cds on Amazon, that's for sure.