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A self-sabotaging railway map

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Calthrop

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I’ve become the owner – via kind relatives who know of my railway interest – of an interesting item, titled “Railway History Map of Britain”, by the well-regarded map firm of John Bartholomew & Son Ltd. It measures roughly 3’ 6” by 2’ 9”: it’s beautifully and artistically designed, and done in fine-looking colours; but it tries – in my estimation, disastrously – to combine two incompatible features. It embodies, filling most of its space, a map of the railway-containing parts of the British Isles proper (Great Britain and its nearby lesser islands; Ireland; and Man).

Said map tries very hard, to accurately represent the British Isles’ rail system at maximum extent; with ownerships shown as in the approximate period 1925 – 1947: relevant respective colours for the “big companies”, for lines jointly-run between the big companies, and special indication / representation for “other / minor” lines. Place-names are fairly few-and-far-between -- very many lesser lines run from “un-named to un-named”; but meticulous accuracy re lines and their existence and location, is striven for. The odd brick is dropped: a line or two is omitted, a line or two generally unknown-and-unheard-of is included, and they label Cheltenham as “Gloucester”, and leave the real Gloucester unidentified; and Kenmare is labelled “Valentia Harbour” (the true Valentia Harbour is absent – see below) – but in the main, it appears a painstaking job.

But then they proceed to ruin it with lots of captioned pictures – largely of locomotives / trains – often superimposed on the map: blotting out the parts of the map and lines therein, which they occupy – thus in a considerable measure, making nonsense of the splendidly precise chart. (Wales is particularly hard-hit in this way.) Plus large, beautifully-executed renderings of the heraldic badges of the pre-Grouping companies, running round most of the sheet’s border: the badges impinge on the uttermost west of Ireland, and are allowed to do so – thus blotting out various rail routes, “then and now”, in Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, and Cork. Hence the Valentia Harbour business referred to above.

One feels, what a waste of skilled cartography; and wonders as regards the creators of this work – aiming as they were at a target clientele which renownedly includes many precisians / compulsive nitpickers / detail-Nazis – what were they thinking? Did they not see what they were setting themselves up for?
 
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I suspect the target market is precisely the kind relative who knows of someone's railway interest - or the less specialist enthusiast (who is reputed to exist in the world outside this esteemed forum).
 

Cowley

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I suspect the target market is precisely the kind relative who knows of someone's railway interest - or the less specialist enthusiast (who is reputed to exist in the world outside this esteemed forum).

Definitely. "And I'll one of those Flying Scotsman cuckoo clocks for him too coz he loves trains".
You'd have to get the map and the clock out then every time the well meaning aunt visited...
 

Calthrop

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Yes, bless 'em -- it's nice that they remember that this stuff is one's fancy, and put themselves out accordingly, gifts-and-greetings-wise: even if they really consider that this particular obsession makes one a complete social outcast and "loser"...
 
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