Mapping the Town: 50 Years of the British Historic Towns Atlas

Course details

From £70.00

Sat 12 Oct 2019
9.30am - 5.00pm

Mapping the Town: 50 Years of the British Historic Towns Atlas


Maps are very useful tools to help us understand how towns and cities take shape over time. Historic maps of particular time-periods offer a snapshot of what a place looked like and so provide important historical information for studying the urban past. Maps can also be used to tell a story about a place, a visualisation of its 'spatial' urban history. The British Historic Towns Atlases combine both historic and historical urban mapping, and through using the Atlases this study day explores the theme of 'mapping the town'. The programme includes contributors to the British atlas series, speaking about the insights maps provide on urban topography and history for towns and cities across Great Britain, including Oxford, Winchester and York.  During the day there will be an opportunity to study the atlases and their maps close-up, as well as to hear about the close connections between Oxford and the origins of the British Historic Towns Atlas, the first volume of which was published fifty years ago, in 1969. 


Programme details

 In association with the Historic Towns Trust



Saturday 12 October 2019

9.30am           Registration

9.45am           Mapping the Town—An Introduction

                       PROFESSOR KEITH LILLEY

10.00am         The Origins of the British Historic Towns Atlas

                       PROFESSOR CAROLINE BARRON

11.00am         Coffee/tea

11.20am         The Oxford Historic Towns Atlas

                      ALAN CROSSLEY

                      JULIAN MUNBY

                     The Maps of the Oxford Atlas

                     DR JOHN HAWKINS

                     GILES DARKES

12.50pm       Lunch

1.50pm         The Winchester Historic Towns Atlas

                     PROFESSOR MARTIN BIDDLE

2.50pm        Tea/coffee

3.10pm        The York Historic Towns Atlas

                    PROFESSOR PETER ADDYMAN 

4.10pm        Summary of the day


5.00pm        Course disperses



During the day there will be parallel interactive sessions giving day school participants a chance to investigate the Oxford Atlas in detail.


Recommended reading


The British Historic Towns Atlases are available online to download for free (volumes 1-3) or purchase (volumes 4-6) at 

Kain R J P & Oliver R (2015) British Town Maps: A History. The British Library, London. 

Darkes G & Spence M (2017) Cartography: An Introduction. British Cartographic Society, 2nd New edition.

Barron C (2016) 'Mapping Historic Oxford'. The Oxford Historian, Issue XIII, p.45-47 [online at]

Lilley K D (2002) Urban Life in the Middle Ages. 1000-1450. Palgrave, London.

Kostof S (1991) The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. Little, Brown and Company, New York.



Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.


includes coffee/tea: £70.00
Baguette: £5.00
Full Hot Lunch (3 courses): £15.00


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses




Professor Peter Addyman


former director of the York Archaeological Trust

Professor Caroline Barron


Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway College, University of London

Professor Martin Biddle


Director, Winchester Research Unit

Mr Alan Crossley


Retired. Former Editor, VCH Oxfordshire. Member of Oxford University History Faculty.

Mr Giles Timothy Darkes


Cartographic Editor, British Historic Towns Atlas

Professor Vanessa Harding


Professor of London History, Birkbeck, University of London

Mr Julian Munby


Julian Munby works on historic buildings and landscapes for Oxford Archaeology, has been researching the history of Oxford for many years, with a special interest in its buildings and in drawn views of the city. He has wide interests in cultural studies from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, and he is a regular lecturer for OUDCE.

Professor Keith D Lilley

Course Director & Speaker

Professor of Historical Geography, Queen’s University Belfast / Chair, Historic Towns Trust

Dr Fiona McCall

Director of Studies

Departmental Lecturer in Local and Social History at the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education and a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.