21 Maps of Britain

I saw this link on BuzzFeed and it reminded me of my funny map story from my second trip to England in 2008.

At the time of my trip, I had discovered historical fiction about Romano-Britain and the period just after, when the Vikings were romping around the countryside. Through my dear friend Jean, I discovered that the Ordinance Survey had created maps of not only Roman Britain, but the period which they refer to as Ancient Britain. (Incidentally, if you are unfamiliar with OS maps, they have maps for EVERYTHING in Britain.) I decided to wait until my trip to purchase both maps, rather than ordering it online.

So while I was visiting Jean, she suggested that I visit Waterstones to find the maps as they are the ones who primarily stock the maps. The first one we visited didn’t have either map, but a clerk in the shop saw that another nearby location did have them both in stock. Little did I know that a trip to a bookshop could be so entertaining.

In the shop I found the display of OS maps and quickly found the one for Roman Britain, but not the one for Ancient Britain. I figured the other shop might have made a mistake in telling me that this other shop had both in stock so I approached the check out counter to ask for help. The young man behind the counter was probably in his late teens or early 20s at the most.

Me: Hi, I’m trying to find an OS map of Ancient Britain, but I don’t see it on the display rack.

Him (turning to the computer to make sure there was one in stock): Um… do you know where in Britain is ancient?

Me (thinking surely I’d misheard him): Well, everywhere. You know, ancient as in “really old”?

Him: Oh, right. (Seconds pass with no typing on his part to conduct the search) How do you spell ancient? A-N-G…?

Me: A-N-C-I-E-N-T

Him: Thanks.

Needless to say I had to maintain good self-control to not laugh in his face. I’m happy to say I was quite successful, but Jean and I had a good laugh about it when I got back to her house.

21 Maps That Will Change How You Think About Britain


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