John Bartholomew & Son Ltd published maps from the early 19th Century until the company was finally purchased in 1989 and became subsumed into the Harper-Collins publishing group. Although they continue to publish maps they do not attract the affection that the Bartholomew’s Half-Inch series, in its many evolutionary states, did.
The Half-Inch map was much loved by motorists but especially by cyclists as it covered a good area of land, contained a good amount of detail and was easy to stow. It was also beautifully drawn and printed from it’s earliest form right up until its demise in the 1980s.
The popularity of the Bartholomew’s Half-Inch Reduced Survey map is evident from the many copies that have survived and there are many collectors who still hold it in high regard.
A vast amount of material about the company, their maps and other publications can be found in the National Library of Scotland in their online Bartholomew Archive.
Modern Bartholomew Maps 1945-1989
Compared with Ordnance Survey maps, Bartholomew’s maps are a dream to date.
Modern (from 1945 onwards) Bartholomew maps are almost always dated, usually in the bottom margin.
Bartholomew up-date maps pretty much every year so you know what you are getting just by reading the date at the bottom of the sheet.
Until the mid-1970s the date was in standard numerals with a month as well as a year. But, for some strange reason, later ones employed Roman Numerals and placed these just under the map border, usually bottom right, with the ISBN number.