George Frederick Cruchley was a cartographer of the middle of the 19th century.
He printed maps which were Ordnance based and his niche was to add the railways as they opened before the Ordnance Survey had updated their plates. The Ordnance Survey, generally added railways from 1852 onwards as they re-made worn plates with the electrotype process. They had added some railways to the earlier engraved plates but Mr Harvey, the cartographic expert noted that none of these maps have been located.
George Cruchley bought some of the old plates of John Cary- probably from his sons, who had continued the business a little while after his death in 1836. Cary has been an Ordnance map maker and had also adapted their surveys, in reduced form,for his own maps.
An Ordnance Map, or a Cary Map was a reasonably expensive item at the time. Cruchley designed and produced cheaper maps for the general public and his slogan was “Half the Scale, Half the Price”.
In 1877, Gall and Inglis, the Edinburgh cartographers, bought out Cruchley’s maps and produced them under his name, then under their own. So there is a continuum all the way from the early Ordnance Plates, through their own engravers reducing and free-lancing- to Cruchley, Gall and Inglis and thus into the 20th century. So there were copied and reduced Ordnance maps, copies of reduced copies of Ordnance maps, and adaptations of copies of copies of Ordnance maps. Cruchley might be considered “twice removed” from the original article.
He had a showman’s style and flowery language with which he embellished both his covers and map titles. He made claims to be bringing superior maps to the Common man at reduced prices. He titled his maps as showing “Gentlemen’s Seas and Turnpikes”, at a time when both may have been of little interest.
His maps often have three media; there is a monochrome base map- probably in a form of transfer engraving or letterpress. Over this is a blocked plate with the railways of his own manufacture; these use different type-styles for the stations than that used on the Ordnance base. Then a colourist adds the wash- borders, country estates etc. Sometimes, the very newest railways are added by hand.
The paper used was generally thin and the maps were usually not linen backed, though that could be had. The colouring was either robust or slapdash- and this actually gives the maps some charm- one can imagine a boy colouring a dozen for a 1d pay and not being too careful at his work.
Cruchley also added suggested roads- for carriage tours.
One might ask, with these generic maps- what is the importance and use of them? One response may be that they are a social phenomena; they take the map from the preserve of the gentleman’s library into the pocket of the ordinary man. They show how mass transport was taking root, and how the train was creating a mobile and travelling society.
Also they accidentally catch information which a more assiduous cartographer would miss: if a map plate was cut in 1820, adapted and reduced in fine copper plate by Cary or Walker in 1830, sold on and printed with new railways by Cruchley in 1840, and reissued by Gall and Inglis in 1880- it has some interesting juxtapositions. The new publisher wishes to suggest routes for the Victorian cyclist- and these are blocked or tipped in- but they go onto a road network which was surveyed may be 80 years previously. And the superimposition of one over the other shows the historian how the road network has evolved in the intervening years. A cyclist may be directed on to a road which is clearly an indistinct track on the base map.
Cruchley, in one regard, was regressive- He blanked out the mapping beyond the county border, as had Saxton, or Morden or Speed in earlier centuries. The Ordnance Survey had brought this tradition to an end- their remit was the production of a complete survey of the realm. Cruchley crops this survey to re-establish his county series. Some wording at the edges is inevitably cropped some of these cropped names were written back in, again using a different typographic manner than the Ordnance plate.
One slogan of Cruchley’s was 2Free postage on receipt of 7 stamps” or “Free postage on receipt of 13 stamps”; as stamps were 1d each and the map cost 6d or 1/-, this was not free postage- it was 1d postage added to a 6d or 1/- map. In fact it cost 2d postage- 1d added to the price plus the 1d used to send Cruchley the payment.
Cruchley exemplified that divide between the map as a document of record and a work of art; exemplified by Ordnance Survey, Edward Stanford, J & C Walker; and a map as a utilitarian object for practical use and, perhaps, disposal: exemplified Cruchley, by Gall and Inglis, Bacon, Johnston, Geographia. John Barthomew was the one map maker who seemed to straddle this divide.
Here is a typical Cruchley title wording:
“Cruchley’s Road and Railway map of the County of…… Showing all the Railways and names of Stations, also the Turnpike Roads, Villages, Gentlemen’s Seats etc, etc. Improved from the Ordnance Surveys. London.”
If the map cover says “For Cyclists and Tourists”, it is of the Post Cruchley period and is his format being published by Gall and Inglis. There were 42 titles in this County series which could be had for 1s mounted on cloth or 6d “with principle roads coloured”.
The Cover wording on Cruchley’s own County maps was:
“ Cruchley’s Railway and Telegraphic County Map of…… Sixpence colored (sic- he always spelled coloured in this way). N.B. Sent Postage free on Receipt of Seven stamps.”
His mission to bring maps to the general public was expressed by the following announcement:
“ These excellent County Maps, larger and superior to any other for Railway travelling, are offered to the Public at SIXPENCE EACH, the price at which the most inferior County Maps are sold. The names of all the Railways and Stations are inserted on these maps, likewise the Companies to which they belong. Sold by all Bookshops and Railway Stations”
The back cover usually advertised maps and generally these were of London. Cruchley maps were largely sold from stations, but this trade must have been compromised when W H Smith acquired most of the station bookshops and produced their own travel maps in collaboration with John Bartholomew F.R.G.S.
Cruchley printed and published from several addresses, but mainly from: 81 Fleet Street; he styled himself “Map Publisher and Globe Manufacturer”.
It is perhaps relevant that the County maps date mainly from 1836- the year of the death of John Cary from whose estate many plates were acquired, however Fordham, the biographer of cary, does not seem aware of this:.
H.G. Fordham, in his book on Cary noted:
“Cruchley who had being carrying on a similar business to Cary for some years, took over the cartographic department and stock in trade of Cary’s establishment. His 1850 sheet map of Dorset has on it “late Cary’s”. The plates of the three County Atlases of Cary came to Cruchley. Cruchleys “County Atlas of England and Wales”, was Cary’s “New and Correct English Atlas”. Cary maps appear in Cruchley’s “New Pocket Companion or Hand-Maid to Bradshaw & all other Railway Time Tables for |England and Wales” 1872 ( A typical Cruchley title).
Then. interestingly, Fordham cites the year 1862 for the 42 county maps, but Cruchley County maps are known from 26 years before this date.
In the London Directory of 1825, Cruchley is “Engraver etc of 349 Oxford Street.”
In 1826 he was at 38 Ludgate Street and a “Mapseller, publisher, engraver, printer”.
In 1834 he is at 81 Fleet Street, and there he remained.
Fordham remarks, “he flourished for half a century, at least until 1875-1876”: this is accurate for in 1877 his works appear as Gall and Inglis maps, so it might be assumed that Cruchley either retired or died in 1876.
Forham’s verdict on Cruchley is summed up by his reference to the reprinted Cary plates as having “numberous additions made to them to their great disfigurement”.
Cruchley’s best verbous title is probably: “A New Map of England and Wales, with parts of Scotland showing all the Railways with the Direct and Principal Cross Roads, the Course of the Rivers and the Navigable Canals, Cities, Market and Borough Towns, the Principal Villages, Parks, etc, Compiled from the Most Recent Surveys”.

In addition the the 42 Counties with Turnpike Roads and Railways (1836 onwards), on finds:
Reduced Ordnance Map of London
Cruchley’s Improved Environs of London 1827 (early and before the acquisition of Cary plates)
Fredonia or the United States of North America, ALSO Cabotia or the Canadian Provinces1833, 1849 (where did these names come from?)
New Plan of London and its Environs
New Plan of London Westminster and Southwark
Handy Map and Guide to London
“Cruchley’s Reduction of his Large Map of England and Wales, with part of Scotland” a reprinted Cary plate.
The Sixpenny plan of London
The Suburbs of London
Cruchley’s Railway and Excursion Map 24 Miles Around London.
The environs of London for Fifty miles around
London to the Kent and Sussex Watering Places
Sixty miles North of London
Cruchley’s Map of Surrey 1903 (this could only be a Gall and Inglis reprint)
Cruchley’s 12 Miles Round London.
Pocket Map of London 1849
London New Postal Districts 1857
Cruchley’s travelling railway map of England & Wales (this is a Cruchley reprinting Cary’s 1832 Improved Map of England and Wales)
Cruchley’s Travelling Railway Map of Scotland 1860
And interestingly “Cruchley’s Terrestrial Globe” of 1857 from 81 Fleet street, no stand, sold at auction recently for £4,000
Cruchley’s 1856 Map of Africa
New Map of Europe 1860.
Spain and Portugal by G.F. Cruchley
Cruchley’s Tourist map of the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland 1862.
China Taiwan and Korea by Cruchley