This is the last issue of the final series of plates for John Cary’s Traveller’s Companion. On 17 January 1820, John Cary’s premises on the Strand burned down. The fire also destroyed his brother William’s premises next door. The business moved to 86 St. James’s Street shortly thereafter. John was now about 66 years old and chose this moment to retire to the King’s Road in Chelsea and died in 1835 aged 81.
The business was continued by his sons George (1787-1859) and John (1791-1852). It is not known if the plates for the Traveller’s Companion were lost in the fire or that they were again worn by overuse. Whichever it was, in 1822 a new series of copper plates was introduced. These were slightly different. Notable alterations are the removal of John Cary’s name as engraver either side of the title at the top. The plates are now all undated and bear the imprint of G & J Cary below. A more subtle change to the plates occurs in the alteration of the placenames on those of Berkshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northants, Rutland, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Westmoreland, North Wales and South Wales. These are now read from west to east.
Further editions appeared in 1824, 1826, 1828 and 1840. George Frederick Cruchley (1797-1880) had learned his trade with Aaron Arrowsmith and began to work for himself in 1823. His early days were concentrated on publishing maps of London but following the death of John Cary in 1835 he acquired much of the stock from the surviving heirs. Cruchley made lithographic transfers from the plates until he sold them all in 1877. Cruchley’s main marketing tool was to add to the original plate details of the railways, postal, telegraph and other useful information.
The maps are printed back-to-back and the atlas is undated. The accession date at the British Library is 1862 although it has been noted that the railway data is somewhat earlier. Provenance: private English collection. Chubb (1927) no. 550; Fordham (1925a) pp. 39-40; Nicholson (2003) ‘G. F. Cruchley and ‘Maps for the Million’, in IMCoS Journal 93 pp. 21-38; Smith (1989b) ‘George Frederick Cruchley, 1796-1880’, in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 49 pp. 16-22; Smith (1988a); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).