A later edition of John Walker, Joseph Priestley & Richard Nichols’ important ‘Map of the Inland Navigation’ first published in Wakefield in 1830. Shirley states that this was one of the very first maps to bring together the many aspects of the Industrial Revolution, namely the booming mining industry and the canal and railway networks. Engraved locally to a scale of six miles to one inch and ‘is a masterpiece of engraving in its own right’ (Shirley). Although on a slightly smaller scale than William Smith’s great map, it is very impressive at just over six miles to the inch, and gives the location of mineral and rock deposits. Each mine is identified by the mineral it produces; copper, tin, lead, coal, silver, iron etc. Unlike Smith’s map, strata are not represented.
John Walker is unrelated to any other Walker in the cartographic trade at the time. He was a land and mining surveyor who began in the 1820s in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Indeed there is a fine plan of the town from 1823 by him. Richard Nichols was the local publisher, postmaster, bookseller and newspaper publisher. Shirley recounts a fascinating tale of his temper. He had attempted to gain a seat on board a late night coach passing through Wakefield from Leeds to London one night and told that there was no seat available. Pausing for a rest the passengers stepped out to stretch their legs upon which Nichols promptly boarded the coach, curled up in the corner and refused to move falling asleep. Very quietly the horses were removed and hitched to another coach so that the original passengers could continue their journey!
Joseph Priestley was the manager of the Aire and Calder navigation Company, at that time in control of much of the waterways in eastern Yorkshire. His accompanying work details the seven year work of Walker in producing the map. Shirley records that in 1830, the year this map was published, the canal system in England was near its peak of 4000 miles. Barely a further 100 miles was added in the ensuing years. It crosses the fascinating point when their use was about to wane and that of the railway was about to explode. It was only in 1825 that the first passenger railway was constructed between Stockton and Darlington. A magnificent map highlighting the industrial prowess of Britain at the time.
The name George Bradshaw (1801-53) is synonymous with British Railways. He was the author and publisher of the railway guides which were such an important part of Victorian travel. ‘Bradshaw, whose name was to become synonymous with railway timetables, published his first guide in 1830 with the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester Line and his first timetable in 1839’ (Wardington). Apprenticed to an engraver in Manchester, Bradshaw shadowed the industrial revolution and began by publishing maps of the Canal networks in 1829. These were on a very large scale with great detail. In the introduction to one of his works Bradshaw states ‘It would be superfluous to expatriate on the vast utility of a correct map of the Railways of this Kingdom. The want of such a work has been long felt and acknowledged.’ For this issue the Explanation is expanded to include the railroads. This network is laid on the existing road network. In 1830 this network of passenger railways stood at barely 100 miles, by the end of the decade when this map was published the figure stood above 2000 miles. The previous dedication to William IV at the bottom of the map is here erased. Provenance: Sotheby’s 28 March 1996 lot 93; private collection of Rodney Shirley. James (1983); Shirley (1987) ‘Mapping Great Britain’s Industrial Revolution: Two Classic Maps of the 1830s’, in IMCoS Journal volume 7 no. 1 pp. 23-32.