Herb Lester's Glasgow companion

Herb Lester, makers of the coolest maps around have come up trumps again with their guide to Glasgow. In one beautifully-designed sheet, Glasgow's best bits, well-known and hidden, are picked out by Glaswegian connoisseurs. I suggested a few of my favourite places for it and can vouch for it being a very valuable asset for anyone visiting this fine city.

Herb Lester's Glasgow map

The maps are available from the Herb Lester website and in Glasgow, from the Maisonette and Monorail among others. In the time it has taken to write this they're on to their next map - a beautiful guide to Untamed London in partnership with Caught By The River . Like the others it's a breath of fresh air.

Herb Lester's East London Companion

Here's another cartographical delight from Herb Lester. This time it's a comprehensive guide to the delights of east London from Old Street to Hackney Wick. There's a lovely map on one side and 99 things to do and see listed on the other.

Herb Lester's East London Companion

This is going to be so handy next time I'm down at the Newspaper Club HQ. It's available from the Herb Lester shop for £4. Their last release Where The Sidewalk Ends: How To Find Old New York is similarly wonderful.

May We Help You: The Best Specialist Supplies in London

The amazing Herb Lester Associates have produced another mapping triumph in May we help you? The best specialist suppliers in London. Similar to their wonderful You Are Here: The best places to eat and work in London map this folds out into a beautifully-designed compact map with notes on the reverse. The topic this time is specialist businesses like umbrella makers, taxidermists, invisible menders, chandlers and many more. The sort of places that have disappeared from many towns, making the ones that survive even more remarkable.

May We Help You: The Best Specialist Supplies in London

It's useful but also a thing of beauty as the 50s-style design is spot on. It's a steal at £3 (inc P+P) from the Herb Lester Associates website.


Boundaries by Tom Taylor is a nifty thing that uses Flickr shapefiles to find a place and its neighbours. I'm saying that like I understand it (I don't), but it sure is pretty. I guess it's a crowd-sourced, more accurate version of this.

London map

It doesn't seem to recognise Noho anyway, like most Londoners, apart from the ones that made this map in the first place.

This is a superb clip from 1953 showing how Ordnance Survey maps were made. By men with tweed jackets, horn-rimmed glasses and complicated machinery, that's how. It really is a delight, from that documentary era where everyone tootled about their business to uplifting music and optimistic voiceovers. There are more current clips showing how it's done now, but they're really dull in comparison. Thanks to Ramage for this little cracker


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.

The Panorama of the City of New York

The Panorama of the City of New York, the amazingly-detailed model of New York City built for the 1964 World's Fair has its own Flickr photostream. The lovely people at Queens Museum of Art, where it lives are putting up some great photos, old and new. It would be great if every city had one of these. Seeing it on my first day in New York really helped me understand how the city was set out. I could have cheerfully gazed at it all day but there's so much to see in Flushing Meadows Park which surrounds it (The Unisphere, the ruined New York State pavilion, a Buckminster Fuller-designed aviary) that there's a good incentive to get out into the actual-sized world again.

Handy map of London

I took a photo of this map in a window in Fitzrovia, thinking it would be handy if more maps looked like this. Obviously you need to drill down into the detail at some point but generally, this sort of thing is great for quickly getting a grip on a city. Not sure what's in the grey bits though. The unimportant and the poor, I suspect. Anyway, a lively debate is breaking out in the Flickr comments about the titling of these circles with diamond geezer questioning the existence of London's Midtown and dusty7s pining for a mythical place called Tyburnia. Is there really a Noho? I didn't know(ho) that.

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