Subject headings can be useful when searching for places on maps and atlases. Search for a particular place name, eg "London", then select "Subject" from the dropdown menu, to yield a more targeted list of results.

You can also choose to refine a search using the subject terms on the right hand side of the catalogue screen, under the heading "Narrow your search".

The Library has a large collection of early maps of London and other British cities and towns. City maps provide road and rail information, buildings, farms, industries, schools, churches, and many other features.

1. Search the Library’s catalogue

Enter the relevant city or town name eg “liverpool”, and select “Map” as the format. Date sort oldest to newest. Including the word "city" in your search may be useful in some cases.

To view only digitised maps, enter the relevant city or town name eg liverpool AND England AND map, and select “NLA digitised material” as the format.

Most maps on single sheets before 1900 have been digitised and can be zoomed in on for details.

There are also several detailed reproduction atlases of London available, such as The A to Z of Georgian London. To find and request these, enter the name of the city or town, eg “london” AND facsimiles in the search box, and select “Map” as the format.

Detail from Georgian London

Excerpt showing St James' Square, Pall Mall and St James' Park, The A to Z of Georgian London, Harry Margary, Lympne Castle, 1981, MAPq 912.421 R684, Page 21, map sheet 10.

2. Request to view the map at the Library

If the map or atlas is not digitised, select "Request" at the top of the catalogue record and then "Select" the item you wish brought to the Reading Rooms.

excerpt from a city map of Liverpool in 1854, showing the River Mersey, docks and city streets.

Detail from Liverpool: with its Parliamentary and municipal boundaries, together with part of the river Mersey and the opposite Cheshire Coast, G. Cruchley, Liverpool, 1854, MAP RM 4375.

This excerpt from a map of the city of Liverpool, published in 1854, shows details of the city on the banks of the River Mersey, including docks, warehouses, public baths, and a gaol.

Not sure where to start?