The Historian's Map

Sarah Collins


In 1789 the Reverend John Brand, Fellow and Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London, published a two-volume history of Newcastle. Included within the volumes was a pull-out map of 1788 that recorded Newcastle on the cusp of change. Newcastle’s Corporation was in a process of improvement and the plan by Ralph Beilby captured a turning point in Newcastle’s history between old and new. While the intricacies of the map are important, the historical tension of the plan as a product of its time, as well as a projection of the future, is best demonstrated by examining the map’s production. Analysis of the plan, in addition to the five-year correspondence between Brand and Beilby reveals the tension of producing an accurate representation of Newcastle when the urban landscape was in such rapid flux.

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