Historical maps

  1. We have a good collection of maps for our city and the surrounding area, showing the development of the city from Roman times right up to the present day.

  2. What's available

    We hold the various series and scales of Ordnance Survey maps from 1848 up to 2011.

    Before this date, we have maps by mapmakers who recorded the area using different scales, and with varying degrees of accuracy. Maps can be used to help establish the age of particular buildings, to examine the area your ancestors lived in, to survey the viability of a site for future development or to establish boundaries or rights of way.

  3. How to access

    Some maps can be viewed on CD in the search room at Central Library, no appointment needed:

    • 60 inch to 1 mile Ordnance Survey town plans - Manchester and Salford 1844 to 1849 (also known as 5 foot to the mile, 1850 maps)
    • 25 inch Ordnance Survey Maps of Lancashire 1888 to 1893 - Disc 1: Northern Section, Disc 2: Manchester and South East, Disc 3: Liverpool and South West
    • Historical maps of Manchester - including Casson and Berry (1741, 1745, 1746, 1751), Tinker (1772), Laurent (1793), Green (1794), Johnson (1819), Johnson’s Plan of the Parish of Manchester (1818 to 1819), Hennet’s Map of Lancashire (1830), Adshead’s Map of Manchester (1851)
    • The Goad Maps of Manchester (c.1880s) - fire insurance plans of the city centre showing building layouts and businesses

  4. Related information

    Resources available from external websites:

    • The National Library of Scotland's map website hosts a good selection of Ordnance Survey maps for the UK. To use the map browser, select a location and a map series then choose the individual map you are interested in.
    • A plan of the towns of Manchester and Salford c.1750
    • Tithe maps (c.1840) and some old Ordnance Survey maps for the historic county of Cheshire are on the Cheshire Record Office website. This includes maps for Northenden and other parts of Greater Manchester which were historically part of Cheshire, such as Stockport, Altrincham, Sale or Hyde.
    • The University of Manchester's map collection can be browsed online. This collection includes over 250 mostly 19th century Ordnance Survey maps, including over 150 maps of Manchester from our collections (these maps are inaccessible via our library PCs)
    • A good set of topographical, land use and boundary maps for Manchester through the years is available on the Vision of Britain website
    • Aerial bombs on the City of Manchester, 1940 to 1941 (these maps are inaccessible via our library PCs).

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