This month sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dr John Snow and for anyone who has attended a Better Mapping seminar, the first map will be very familiar to you as it is used by Giles Darkes as part of his talk illustrating how you can present statistical data using maps.
Coming far more up to date for our third anniversary, this one actually happened 50 years ago when on 27 March 1963 the Chairman of British Railways Dr Richard Beeching issued a report calling for huge cuts to the UK's rail network.The map shows just how extensive our rail network used to be and even this one doesn’t show all the smaller branch lines that criss-crossed the country at the time. The initial report proposed the closure of over 6000 miles of railway and over 2300 stations. Some were reprieved, but over 1900 stations did close and the many ‘dismantled railway’ annotations that appear on OS maps bears testimony to just how many miles of track were decommissioned, with lots of the former lines now forming part of our long distance footpath or national cycle network routes.As one commentator noted, the name ‘Beeching’ quite often evokes a response normally associated with mass murderers and the report was deeply unpopular at the time. The Beeching closures failed in their attempt to eliminate BR's losses, achieving a saving of just £30 million, whilst overall losses were running in excess of £100 million per year. Beeching himself was unrepentant about his role in the closures: "I suppose I'll always be looked upon as the axe man, but it was surgery, not mad chopping."
What do the following have in common?
- Maps as music
- Edwardian transport planning
- Smells of Paris
- The map of 1000 cuts
- Maps in the media
- Word maps
We were treated to some very engaging talks from a range of speakers and it was noticeable that similar themes kept being picked out. The underlying theme was the sense of place and how we move from being in a ‘space’ to being in a ‘place’ by the things that we associate with it through a variety of senses.. We considered the associative elements of senses and what reminds us most of particular locations – think how often a smell can make you remember a particular place.
- If you haven’t yet booked for the talk by Michael Palin at the RGS on 12th April it’s not too late to do so. Entitled ‘A life in Maps’, it promises to be a fascinating evening from one of our ‘National Treasures’. Book your ticket now
- BCS will have a panel on the IMIA stand at the London Book Fair from 15th-17th April, so if you are attending, please make sure that you come and visit us to see the pre-publication details of the BCS 50th anniversary book. Due for publication later this year the book celebrates 50 years of the Society by selecting a UK event and world event from each year and illustrating it with an appropriate map.
Pre-publication price will be £12.50, so keep an eye on the website in the near future for details.
26th March 2013