J. & C. Walker Cartographers


The three associates collectively known as J & C Walker were:John Walker, Alexander Walker and Charles Walker. John ,Alexander and Charles Walker were the sons of John Walker Senior who had worked for Alexander Dalrymple: Hydrographer to the East India Company in 1779 and to the Admiralty in 1795. John (senior) was appointed Hydrographer in 1808 and, when he died, Sir Francis Beaufort, who devised the Beaufort Scale of Wind Force, was appointed. John Walker the Younger became Hydrographer to the East India Company in 1836.

John and Charles continued the family firm until the 1890s. It is not certain why Alexander is so infrequently mentioned and did not have his name represented in that of the Company. They produced maps and engravings from 1820 in the Regency Period to 1895 in the Victorian Age. They were prolific engravers, generally working for other cartographers and draughtsmen, and they also engraved their own work.

They published maps of India, the Empire, the Americas, the World and are best known for the British Atlas, which contained forty seven maps of English and Welsh counties, and incorporated much or the Reform Act Representational information and the newly opening railways.

They were London print makers, and worked from No. 47 Bernard Street off Russell Square from 1830 to 1836 (essentially their Pre-Victorian period) then from No. 3 Burleigh Street off the Strand (from 1837 to 1840), then later from No. 9 Castle Street in Holborn, in the east of the City of London, from 1841 to 1847. Finally their address was No. 37 Castle Street in Holborn from 1848 until 1875.

J & C Walker worked with the S.D.U.K. (Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge) for whom they produced maps. They also worked collectively for the Admiralty as map engravers. They specialised particularly in maps of the British Empire and India. They produced the maps for the Royal Atlas which ran to many editions.

Their county maps for the period c 1835-1842 are of great interest for the inclusion of the first main line railways- often termed “railroads” and on some both “railroad and railway” are to be read for the same company on the same plate. It would be interesting to know the meaning of these two terms, perhaps they were not synonymous. Their county series particularly exhibited, in map form, the results of the Reform Acts of the 1830s in which Rotten Boroughs were abolished and counties allotted Rural and Parliamentary Borough Members of Parliament. They showed these boroughs as well as towns were votes could be cast. They showed rural regions which returned Members to Parliament independently of the Parliamentary boroughs. Their county maps were engraved on copper or steel with an etched base- and, on some, one can see this etched base when the engraver has missed a small feature with his burin (the River Ore on their Suffolk map is an example). The maps were generally extremely well produced with extensive and careful hand colouring of the parks and rural seats as well as the sub divisions of counties: Wapentakes, Hundreds, Rapes, Lathes or Divisions. (The first for being exemplified by Yorkshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent ). These county maps were often linen backed and dissected or “mounted in sections and were accompanied by floating boards and information on market days, fairs, assizes and population. Some but not all gave valuable information about the Mail coaches of the early 19th century.

Walkers were not generally, or usually, publishers in their own right: Longman Rees and Orme published the county map series from Paternoster Row in the City of London- the centre of London publishing at the time, near St Pauls.

It seems unlikely that Walkers undertook to survey of the realm, their source-map or base-map must have been the Ordnance Survey- reduced to the desired size and then amended. Thus, they were one of the many cartographers who worked from Admiralty and Ordnance Survey sources: others included Cary and later his sons, Cruchley, Gall and Inglis, Johnston Bacon and Bartholomew.

Railways on Walker maps:

Early railways on Walker maps are particularly interesting, for they were altering while publications was being undertaken; leading to several unexpected cartographic phenomena and anomalies. Sometimes Walkers has had to guess a route- not wishing to produce a plate that would be too quickly obsolete- and at times they guessed wrong. Battles between companies led to “stations of correspondence” changing: a particularly good example is between the London and Brighton Railway and the South Eastern Railway. They planned to meet at Streatham, then at Battlebridge, then finally at Redhill; and Walker maps can be found with all three forms. Certain railways received Parliamentary approval but were not built- they are to be seen on Walker maps in a provisional form- though never constructed- an example seen is the Godstone line in Surrey which actually terminated in Caterham. Another point of interest revealed by Walkers was the order of building- few were to radiated progressively from London. The maps reveal that the “network” was a later concept, an amalgamation of lines built for local commercial or military purposes. Also the correlation is marked between these early lines and the Country seats of Gentlemen and aristocrats- for Walkers marked those from their Ordnance base map. The correlation is close- and equally fascinating is the degree to which the correlation between railways and turnpikes was not close: bringing into question the premise that one quickly compromised the other. In a county where bother were directly or indirectly controlled by the same interest- such an orthodoxy is unlikely to have been true and Walker’s maps show that it was not. Thus these maps are a particularly valuable resource for the historian.

Well known Walker series include:

1815 Isle of Wight- by Webster and Walkers

1830 Jersey- by Creighton and Walkers

1830 Guernsey with Alderney and Sark – by Creighton and Walkers

1835 Boundary Commission Maps- Constituencies- by J & C Walker and Robert Creighton.

1835-40 Maps – published as a companion to Lewis’s Topographic Dictionary. R. Creighton was the draughtsman, J. & C. Walker the engravers, and Lewis the publisher- prompted by the changes brought in by the 1832 Reform Act.

1835-1840  Synonymous with the above : View of the Representative History of England a companion volume to Lewis’s Topographic Dictionary. County and Borough Maps, by R. Creighton and engraved by J.& C. Walker showing the electoral and boundary changes.

1837+ Walker’s British Atlas.

1840 Europe – by the S.D.U.K. and J & C Walker.

1845 Counties -J & C Walker, Published by Fisher.

1849-1880s Walkers’ British Atlas Maps were reused and reworked for what became “Walkers & Hobson’s Fox-hunting Atlas”. overprinted and coloured to show the territories of the famous fox and stag hunts.

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