To condense information in lists on this site we have used various codes; codes for map covers, format and condition. A full list and other details can be found below.

Map lists explained

In order to list and describe maps on one or two lines, we have encoded certain information on this site and arranged all information in columns. Thus SC is a Standard Cover, p is a paper map and c means the map has a cloth backing.

Column headings

Item No. : For use when ordering.

Sheet No. : As printed on the map, usually top right corner.

Area : Sheet title when available, usually top margin.

Print code : Print codes appear in the brackets after a sheet title (4.12, 3038, 3500/33, A//* and so on). On maps, they are found in either corner of the lower margin. Only the last code is shown in our lists. Within each map series, sheets are in number order and then chronologically by print code or publication date.

Notes : Ownership inscriptions, dates and small labels are not noted.

Date : Publication date of first issue.

Cover : Codes for the major types of cover in any series are explained below, after his section. Unless stated otherwise, SC—Standard cover; BK—Book type cover hinged left; BF—Benderfold, single piece cover hinged at the top; HM—Home made cover; pf or cf—paper or cloth folded without covers.

Format : c—Cloth backing to map d—Map dissected on cloth p—Paper map

Condition : Most customers will want to know the condition of the maps offered. Some only want maps as they left the shop one hundred years ago, whilst others are happy with a sound but very used copy. By studying our gradings, one should be able to tell what a map looks like. Thus, a condition grading of 1/1 is for both map and cover in excellent, as new state, whilst 2/2 is a very nice bright copy. A 3/3 grading is for a nice clean map, with a 4/4 grading for a map in average but not tatty condition. A grading of 2/4 would be a very nice map in an average cover. Any annotations or small faults are noted in brackets after the sheet title.

Maps and covers are each graded on a scale 1 to 6; map/cover.


1. Excellent—as originally purchased.

2. Very good—almost new, very minor blemishes.

3. Above average—nice clean copy, obviously used.

4. Average—sound copy with no loss of information.

5. Well used—showing signs of heavy use at the folds, annotations, small splits.

6. Poor—listed for special interest of some sort.


1. Excellent—as purchased (see Notes above).

2. Very good—almost new, very minor defects.

3. Above average—bright clean copy, nice to hold, small amount of wear visible.

4. Average—sound; clean copy obviously used.

5. Well used—intact, but with obvious signs of a hard life.

6. Poor—possibly torn, badly creased etc.

£ : Price for the item listed.

Map covers

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Ordnance Survey issued maps as flat sheets and it was left to those who sold them to put them into covers. Thus, early maps are found in a variety of covers or just dissected onto cloth and folded.

To 1919

Before 1900, a lot of maps are found in marbled covers—MB, often with a map agent’s label on the front. The first Ordnance Survey covers appeared on the coloured version of the one-inch Revised New Series around 1897. Thereafter, until about 1919, covers were usually red or white waxy cloth, with the royal coat of arms at the top and just text or text with an index diagram beneath. Sometimes the details were stamped onto the front of the folded map.

AG—Covers supplied by Ordnance Survey agents

DP—Direct printing of cover details onto folded map

MB—Marbled paper used for covers

RL—Red waxy cloth cover, black text without diagram of map area

WD—White waxy cloth cover, black text and diagram of map area

WL—White waxy cloth cover, black text without diagram of map area


After the First World War, covers became more decorative, with most being designed by the Ordnance Survey’s own artists, especially Arthur Palmer and Ellis Martin. Most series had a distinctive cover design, with full colour illustrations for the various tourist and district maps.

For those interested in map covers, Map cover art by John Paddy Browne is the essential book; especially useful are the 199 small coloured examples of map covers (see Books section of this site).

AG—Covers supplied by Ordnance Survey agents

AP—Arthur Palmer design

BC—Black car, orange sky

BU—Buff covers

EB—Ellis Martin design on buff

EM—Local view or series design by Ellis Martin

ER—Ellis Martin design, red and brown on buff

HK—Roadside hiker reading map

HOY—E.J.Hoy design

LB—Large, with buff border; green design (Half-inch maps) or red design (Popular Edition)

SG—Small, all green border

SR—Small, all red border

WI—J.C.T. Willis design

1945 to the present

After the Second World War, covers continued as a mixture of standard series designs and artist illustrated covers.

A—Small, red and cream 7th Series design

AB—All blue, Quarter-inch Fifth Series design

B—Large, red and cream 7th Series design

BL—Black border, laminated

BW—Blue and white (or cream)

C—Large, red and white laminated 7th Series design

CB—Cream and blue

CR—Crest design pre-1940 or crest in top left corner, post-war

D—Large, all red laminated 7th Series design

FS—Frederick Sands design

GB—Black and white design on Great Britain outline, Quarter-inch Fifth Series design

LA—Large covers

OSI—Ordnance Survey of Ireland


RB—Red and blue

RC—Red and cream


c—Cloth backing to map

d—Map dissected on cloth (the paper map is cut into rectangles, which are stuck onto cloth with about an eighth of an inch between each piece, the cloth thus takes any wear through repeated folding. A superior product.)

p—Paper map

cf—Cloth backed and folded without covers

pf—Paper folded without covers

AG—Agent covers (map prepared by an OS agent, with covers usually bearing their details)

BF—Benderfold, single piece cover, hinged at the top (as used today)

BK—Book type, wrap around cover hinged left

DP—Direct printing of cover details onto folded map

HM—Home made cover

SC—Standard cover for the series