21 Jun: Let’s Triangulate Britain

The Ordnance Survey – a government-funded agency created to aid the military in the event of invasion from France – took receipt of a theodolite on 21st June 1791, and so began the epic task of accurately mapping Britain. 

It took them twenty years to do the county of Kent. And another twenty years to do the South Coast. If you wanted a fragment of one of their hand-drawn maps on your wall, it would set you back two weeks’ wages.

In this episode, Olly, Arion and Rebecca pore through their OS Map collection to discover which county has the most commercial greenhouses, the exact location of ‘Britain’s highest pub’, and reveal the OFFICIAL answer to the much-pondered question, ‘Where is the centre of Britain?’… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The Quirky History of Ordnance Survey And The UK’S Maps’, from Much Better Adventures magazine (2020): 


• ‘A Short History of the Ordnance Survey’ from The Charles Close Society: https://www.charlesclosesociety.org/files/HistoryOSGB.pdf

• ‘Attacking Scotland: Five centuries of maps by our enemies’ A lecture by Chris Fleet, Maps Curator of the the National Library of Scotland (2021):