Edward Stanford, Cartographer of London: Historical notes.

NOTES ON EDWARD STANFORD – LONDON CARTOGRAPHER

Edward Stanford was born in 1827. He was educated at the City of London School until the 1840s. He was perhaps fortunate to have grew up in an era of dramatic political, industrial and technological change.

In 1848 joined the business of Mr. Trelawney Saunders a seller of maps and charts. Edward was 25 years old when he entered the employ of Mr Trelawney Saunders. In 1852 Edward Stanford became Saunders’ partner, but a year later, in 1893 the partnership of Saunders and Stanford came to an end and Edward Stanford took over the business.

In 1853 Edward Stanford established business in his own right. He saw the expansion of British colonialism as an opportunity for map production and the new vogue for international and colonial travel provided a second opportunity for guides and travel books. Edward Stanford sought to dominate the business of map selling in London; he took over neighbouring premises in Charing Cross and acquiring other premises in Trinity Place London which he could use for printing.

Edward Stanford commissioned the engraving of a series of large library maps of the known continents and employed surveyors to draw up the first accurate map of Victorian London. This was the project that was to bring him to prominence. Stanford’s Library Map of London was first published in 1862 and was lauded by The Royal Geographical Society as “the most perfect map of London that has ever been issued”.

The Map of London shows the fundamental difference between Stanford’s and the many generic map producers who based their pocket maps on Ordnance Survey plates- Stanford was willing to commission surveys of their own and this places them in a category fundamentally different to Cary, Cruchley, Gall and Inglis and to an extent Johnston and Bartholomew.

In 1873, Stanford moved the shop to 55 Charing Cross and he moved the printing works to Nos. 12-14 in Long Acre. He purchased the business of Messrs Staunton & Son in 1877, which carried the Royal Appointment status of ‘Stationers to the Queen.’ But did Stanford ever carry this “Royal Appointment”? the “Agent By Appointment” wording on their label is ambiguous. Bartholomew carried the Royal Appointment for George V but not for later monarchs.

Edward Stanford (the son) assumed the sales and marketing for the business in 1882, and eventually took over the shop when Edward senior retired in the year 1885. The purchase of Messrs Staunton & Son is said to have led to Stanford II’s appointment to Geographer to Her Majesty the Queen. (? see previous note)

Stanford expanded the shop on Long Acre to have the printing and map depot under the same roof. This shop was in its final form in 1900, the penultimate year of Victoria’s reign, and is still the current site of Stanford’s London cartographic shop.

In 1926, Stanford’s began production of a more commercial series: the Daily Mail Motoring Road Map. Editions of this continued to be printed until 1956.

In a foresighted move, and anticipating the 2nd World War blitz on the capital city, Stanford’s had their London shop strengthened with girdering – an operation that was completed by 1939.

In a public spirited move, Stanford’s shop was employed as a public air raid shelter and members of staff were on the premises nightly in order to open up in the event of an air raid.

In 1941, the works and map repository were hit from an incendiary bomb in a Luftwaffe Blitz raid on the capital. The top two floors were practically destroyed by the resulting fire. It had contained thousands of Ordnance Survey maps which, though scorched were not completely lost. The maps actually helped staunch the spread of the fire, for stacked paper does not burn quickly or well. Stanford’s continued to sell these maps in the Post war years despite the charred and marked edges.

In 1947, Stanfords was sold to George Philip and Son. Stanfords continued to provide a specialist map retailing service and their unique range of international maps, unattainable anywhere else in England, remained a feature of the company. Much later, in 2001, Stanfords regained their independence from Philips.

Some of Stanford’s famous publications on the 1880-1900 period:

STANFORD’S LIBRARY MAP OF THE WORLD: 4 sheets each 5’9”X 3′

LONDON AND ITS SUBURBS- 6 inches to the mile 76 x65 inches

UPPER AND LOWER CANADA 35 miles to the inch 40” x 26”

GENERAL MAP OF AUSTRALIA 80 miles to the inch. 44” X 26”

RAILWAYS AND STATIONS OF ENGLAND AND WALES- WITH HILLS AND MOUNTAINS. A very large single sheet library map (see also the 4 sheet bound version).

LIBRARY MAPS OF: EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, NORTH AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA, AUSTRALASIA in various scales.

TWO SHILLING TOURISTS’ GUIDES:

BERKSHIRE, CAMBRIDGE, CHANNEL ISLANDS, CORNWALL, DERBYSHIRE, DEVON, DORSET, ENGLISH LAKES, ESSEX, HAMPSHIRE, KENT, LONDON, LONDON ROUND ABOUT, NORFOLK, SOMERSETSHIRE (sic), SURREY, WARWICK, YORKSHIRE NORTH AND EAST RIDINGS, YORKSHIRE WEST RIDING. “FOR PEDESTRIANS HORSEMEN AND BICYCLISTS”

ENGLAND S.W.; ENGLAND S.E.; ENGLAND N.W.; ENGLAND N.E:

The four individually bound sheets of the Railways and Stations of England and Wales- a less commonly seen version of the most famous of Stanford productions. Stanford’s commissioned special editions from famous cartographers which were of exacting standards- but often the same price or even cheaper than their inferior common forms.

It was noted that Stanford also has another address in Whitehall at a number which seemed an unlikely shop address – It is possible that he had an office directly in “Civil Service Whitehall” to serve the Foreign and Home Offices when needed. The Whitehall address was given on a blue and white label as “Whitehall House”, and many of the maps sold from there were special editions of the OS series, invariably dissected , mounted on cloth, and conforming to Stanford’s standards: certainly selling directly to the Civil Service.