The 1886 Map Launch, on Saturday 2nd July at Hunting Raven
Photo by Alan Yeates: from left to right: Roger Gilson from Butler Tanner & Dennis, FSLS Chairman Peter Clark,
Deputy Mayor Pippa Goldfinger, FCS Chairman John Peverley and Richard and Anne Wallis.

The Frome Society for Local Study has published what may be the first map of its kind in Britain. This is based on a reproduction from the Ordnance Survey’s most beautiful series of engraved town maps produced in the 19th century, which were intended to provide local public health boards with enough mapping base on which to prepare designs for healthy water, drainage and sewerage systems to each individual house.

The 1886 mapping of Frome shows an amazing amount of detail and many buildings and public houses that no longer exist. Pumps and wells in back gardens are shown, together with garden paths, trees, ponds, fountains and sundials. In the streets, lamp posts, bracket lamps, bollards, hydrants, fire plugs, water plugs, letter boxes, milestones, drinking fountains and horse troughs are marked. For each church or chapel, the number of seats are mentioned.  Industries, breweries, malt houses and burial grounds are squeezed in the most unlikely places. There are more bridges across the river Frome than now.

John Peverley, chairman of Frome Civic Society, said the map had taken the society over a year to produce, and involved the digital merging of nine very detailed maps. The map has been reduced in scale by half, from the original very large scale of 10.56 feet to the mile to 5.28 feet to the mile, from 1:500 to 1:1,000 – at this reduced scale, the map becomes more comprehensible without losing detailed information.

The map was printed and folded by Butler, Tanner and Dennis using the same machinery on which they now print and fold the Ordnance Survey’s Land Ranger and Explorer maps.

For those wishing to see other parts of the 1886 mapping of the town, not included on this composite map, the Society have selected 23 sheets covering the most built up parts of the town and had these scanned onto a CD. These sheets cover an area extending from Innox House and Fromefield House in the north, to Lower Keyford in the south, and from Cottles Oak and Critchill Villa in the west, to Wallbridge in the east.

The map is available in folded and flat version for display and costs £10. The CD of the map covering a much wider area of the town is also available costing £10 and both can be purchased from the Hunting Raven bookshop.