George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

John Oglivie's 'Britannia': acquired in 1973

The chief resource in any study of British roads is John Ogilby's 'Britannia. Volume the first: or an illustration of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales'.

Published in London in 1675, Ogilby's volume of strip road maps set a pattern for depicting routes which is still in use today. Indeed, it was a century after the publication of 'Britannia' before another full survey of the roads of England and Wales was made.

John Ogilviy (1600-1676) was a Scot, thought to have been born in Kirriemuir. His road maps volume of 1675 is part of the Newman Collection at the National Library of Scotland.

This collection was the result of Professor Sidney Newman's life-long interest in roads, their history and their depiction on maps. Much of Professor Newman's leisure time was spent in acquiring maps, road-books and itineraries, particularly relating to the British Isles, but also to Europe.

A former Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, he bequeathed his collection to the Library in 1972.

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