I found The Map That Came To Life while scouting about for Ronald Lampitt. He illustrated my favourite Ladybird book Understanding Maps and this is in a similar vein, but even better. Published in 1948 it tells the story of John and Joanna, stuck at their uncle's for 4 weeks during the summer holidays. He sends them out into the open countryside with only an Ordnance Survey map for comfort.

The Map That Came To Life

As they wander along it explains what the markings and symbols mean. Learning about OS maps was one of my favourite things at school - I could look at maps all day. This is a really exquisite combination of fact and decoration. I love the cleanness of it all and the beautiful bright mid-century colours. Oh, and the ragged edges around the text. Nice touch.

The Map That Came To Life

I'd love to tell you all about Ronald Lampitt but can't find out too much about him. He did a few travel posters, a few Ladybird books and some other prints, mostly architectural in nature. There are some more pictures from the book in this Flickr set. Happy trails.

Update: Thanks to Daniel Weir for pointing out that scans from the whole book are available on The Alphabet of Illustrators. I'd forgotten about that site - it's very good, if a bit idiosyncratic in the way it's laid out. There's a short bio and some other Lampitt bits and pieces.

Coincidentally my mum gave me an old copy of "Understanding Maps" this week whilst she was having a clear out, which in a more modern guise comes under the slightly odd title "Learnabout . . . Maps" with a new cover but with the original drawings inside. "The Map That Came To Life" looks lovely, one to add to the every increasing list (although at £47.00 on Amazon it may have to wait) - in the mean time the whole book can be found here :

shit i swear i used to have this book when i was a kid, though i can't really remember. if i remember correctly it was a brilliant book.

Thanks for that. I realise now I'd looked at that site while wondering whether or not to shell out for the book. Should have remembered, d'oh. I didn't pay as much as £47, I hit it lucky on alibris or abebooks. They're often much more reasonably priced.

I bought a copy of this the other day for £1 in one of the diminishing number of bricks-and-mortar secondhand bookshops. My wife tells me she had a copy when she was young and I too was fascinated by OS maps from an early age though I didn't have Mr Lampitt to thank for interest. I intended to blog about THE MAP THAT CAME TO LIFE as a way of talking about how Ordnance Survey maps can lead one to interesting places and buildings - maybe I still will.

Good to hear you can still find a bargain Philip. I hope you write that post, I'd like to read it.

What do you want to know about Ronald Lampitt? I knew him, as he was married to a distant relative. I don't know everything, but might perhaps be able to answer some questions.

Hi Margaret,

Nothing in particular really. I just expected to be able to find a short bio somewhere saying where he was from, his main pieces of work etc. Anything you know would be really interesting.



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