The Bastion of Liberty


This decorative map was published in or around 1946, as a commemorative keepsake for a weary city and a population that had just been through the Second World War, including The Blitz. It was designed by an artist, Kerry Lee. The map map approximately shows the modern-day “Zone 1” of central London, and is surrounded by vignettes of attractions in London and further afield:


The “busy” pictorial design, with numerous colours, gives a post-war London a wonderfully medieval look – even if the bombed areas of London were subsequently built to designs that were anything but old. Despite being a decorative print, it adheres to good cartographic principals, with consistent colours for features, and is approximately geographically correct. Some roads are “obstructed”, however, with shields, people and other ornaments and flourishes.


A bit of trivia – the map includes a vignette for Theobald’s Park, which is to the north of London, which intriguingly shows the Temple Bar, a structure which will be familiar to those who frequent the City of London. It used to be on Fleet Street, but, as a traffic obstacle, it was moved to the park for many years, including the time when the map was drawn, it has now been relocated to Paternoster Square, by St Paul’s Cathedral, much closer to its original location, and no longer anywhere near Theobald’s Park.


We first heard about the map from geographer Dieter van Werkum. He mentions also that there appear to have been at least two slightly different versions, one with a copyright notice of the “Travel Association of Great Britain and Ireland” appearing the right-hand side. There is very little information available about it on the internet, although are a few bits and pieces to be found – for example it is sold by a specialist bookseller, ABE Books (with an impressive $1242 current asking price) and another Old Imprints ($425), and you can buy a print of it on a silk scarf. Here is the complete map:


Thanks to various people: First of, Dieter van Werkum, who first let me know about the map, and supplied information and photography of vignettes. I also previously used images from Old Imprints. However I have now replaced these with extracts of the high-resolution photos from this auction site, the winning bid was by Janne Danielsson who let me know about the images. What a lovely map to have won!

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