OS One Inch Fifth Edition

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OS One Inch Fifth Edition

Post by Steven »

The OS One Inch Fifth Edition was a strange little beast. It was intended to replace the old Popular Edition maps, but ironically in Scotland at least, the older map lasted longer, as the Fifth Edition had a production life of 10 years. It changed the depiction of hills from contours to shadings, but that was generally unpopular so it got changed back again - so there were sometimes two maps of the same sheet produced at the same time, one "relief" edition and one "contour" edition that are otherwise identical.

It's got a general brown colour tone and was called "muddy" at the time.

It was the first One Inch map to be produced on the GB National Grid. But it was measured in yards (hence the National Yard Grid retcon), not metres as we know it today.

Because of various problems in production, it only covered southern parts of England - and not all of it at that! There was no Fifth Edition map that covered Dover for example.

All in all, it was a confusing mess and a massive failure for the Ordnance Survey.


It's one of my favourite map series. It took me a little while to get used to it, but I find it very elegant, and so deeply of its time.

And the big, big reason it's now starting to appear as annual layers on SABRE Maps is this - it's the first One Inch series that featured those newfangled road numbers. And because they were produced either side of the great 1935 road numbering revision, we get to see in depth the changes that took place over the 1930s.

So, to celebrate this underrated map series, the first two layers have gone live today, including the very first Fifth Edition sheet published.

144 Plymouth - Revision 9200/31

137 Tavistock and Okehampton - Revision 5000/32
145 Torquay - Revision 5200/32
and two "district" sheets:
Aldershot North - Revision 4000/32
Aldershot South - Revision 4000/32

As usual, there's a Coverage Project page, so if you have any maps that we don't have - or a better copy, then please get in touch!

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From the SABRE Wiki: SABRE Maps/Fifth Edition coverage project#Progress by every sheet ever printed :

This SABRE Maps Coverage Project is to provide online coverage of the OS One Inch Fifth Edition and associated maps; such as Tourist or District sheets at the One Inch scale in Fifth Edition style; and the Two-Inch Scilly Isles maps. Because only maps covering the southern parts of England were published (with the exception of two Scottish Tourist sheets), it's not possible to offer coverage of the

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