Oxford Radcliffe Square map
Publish date: 

Oxford is one of Europe's most important and well-known university cities, famous for the quantity and quality of the buildings in its historic core.  Although the city has been the subject of many studies, the Historic Towns Atlas will present the history of its growth for the first time through a series of high-quality maps consistently charting its development and expansion across time.  Until late in its history, the core of the city was contained within its medieval town walls, with a pattern of settlement that became progressively more dense. Finally in the late 18th and early 19th century it burst out to create its famous northern suburbs for the wealthy, as well as the intensively settled suburbs built for workers as its industrial production expanded.

The atlas will include an introductory text prepared by Alan Crossley (Victoria County History of Oxfordshire), Julian Munby (Oxford Archaeology) and Malcolm Graham (Former Head of Oxfordshire Studies) It also has contributions from Paul Booth and Philip Powell.  It will have a comprehensive gazetteer of this important university, city and county town with entries on all the principal buildings, structures and streets shown on the maps which in itself will be a great asset to researchers.

The atlas will contain a series of maps of the city at the main points in its development: 1050, 1150, 1279, 1400, 1500, 1578, during the Civil War, 1675 and in 1800.  These maps have been produced to a common scale and use common symbology.  The atlas also contains a map of parishes, both medieval and in 1879, a amps of the Liberty of Oxford, and reproductions of some of the seminal maps of the city such as Ralph Agas's and David Loggan's.

In addition, there will be a detailed map of the city at 1:2500 showing all the sites of Oxford's most important buildings and structures on a base map of c.1870, the first time that such a map of the city has been made.

The volume will also have a 1" OS map of the mid 19th century rescaled to 1:50,000, aerial photographs of the city centre, and illustrations.

The maps, text, gazetteer and illustrations are presented in an A3 stiff card binder, and the format allows for maps of different date to be compared side-by-side.

Oxford atlas progress report

We anticipate that the atlas will be published in mid 2021, although we don't yet (December 2020) have a specific date to give you.  The atlas is due to go to Oxbow books in the early new year 2021.  The text is finished and the maps are in an advanced stage of preparation, with final amendments now being made.  We have assembled all of the illustrations that we'll include as well as the antiquarian maps that we have decided to include. The project has involved a huge amount of research and scholarship, all of which takes time, as you will no doubt appreciate, but the atlas will contribute substantially to the body of work on the history of Oxford on its publication.


Can you help us to complete the Oxford atlas?

 Although the contributors to the atlas give their time, the costs of map production and professional cartography are high. The estimated cost of completion of the project is £10,000. To produce each development map of Oxford will cost about £2750.

Can you help? We are looking for supporters and sponsors to enable the completion and publication of the volume. In return for a donation, all supporters will be acknowledged in the volume.

  • Supporters who give £50 will receive a copy of the separate historical map on publication.
  • Supporters giving £250 or more will receive an atlas and a copy of the historical map, be listed as patrons of the project and will be invited to the launch of the atlas.

All contributions will be gratefully received and acknowledged, and should be sent to:
The Hon Treasurer, HTT, 7 Juniper Drive, Maidenhead, SL6 8RE.

Cheques should be made payable to the Historic Towns Trust.