OS Ministry of Transport Road Map

From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Ministry of Transport Road Map
1923 MOT Map Sheet 33.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (120)
Publisher:  Ordnance Survey
Scale:  1:126,720
First Published:  1923
Final Publication:  1936
SABRE Maps layer:  Yes
See Also: SABRE Maps/MOT coverage project

The Ministry of Transport Road Map (colloqually known as MoT Maps) series were the official maps to show classified roads, following their publication by the Ministry of Transport on 1st April, 1923. As such, they are possibly the most important resource documenting the early days of road numbering in Great Britain.

The equivalent mapping in Northern Ireland was the Road Map of Northern Ireland.


MoT Map sample from SABRE Maps, this from 1922-23 edition showing original route of A42.

The maps were conceptually similar to earlier half-inch maps (and indeed, carried the same map numbers) in that they were reduced from the One Inch Third Edition series, with a specific overlay - in this case 'A' roads in red, and 'B' roads in green, though later maps varied these colours. They were perhaps unique in that they displayed as many classified roads as were practical, including short links in towns that subsequent maps would often miss as unnecessary (which, to be fair, to the typical motorist they generally were).

A different series was issued for England and Wales, and for Scotland as the base mapping used different projections. Additionally, a set of six two-inch maps were created for the London area (extending as far as Berkhamstead, Brentwood, Guildford and Sevenoaks). Despite it being allocated a sheet number that matched the equivalent Half-Inch sheet (England and Wales sheet 4) and being shown on sheet index maps, the Isle of Man was never issued as an MoT Map. It was, however, packaged with MoT map sets, although the standard sheet was included.

While the London maps and a large number of Scotland maps were never officially reissued, the England and Wales maps were reissued annually following the reviewing of road classification and budgets on 1st April (England and Wales) or 16th May (Scotland), up to the 1930-31 editions, although most maps were not revised every year. Indeed, the map with the most revisions, Sheet 12 (Liverpool, Manchester and Chester) only has five different editions in the life of the entire MoT map series.

With the exception of a single map issued for the 1931-32 edition (England Sheet 1), the maps were then withdrawn due in part to poor sales.

The MoT Maps saw a final hurrah in 1936-37 when fourteen of the England and Wales sheets were released following the 1935 Road numbering revision, though by that time the official map to show road numbering was the Ten-Mile Road Map of Great Britain. By 1936, road numbers were appearing on Quarter Inch maps, and would soon make an appearance on the New Popular Edition maps. However, it was not until the 1950s that the Seventh Series maps provided regular one inch coverage of road numbers for the whole of Great Britain.

MoT Map Index Books were issued


MoT maps were produced in various different styles. In common with mapping from the time, they were produced in folded sheets printed on cloth or paper, whilst there were also "dissected" editions, where the folds were separated to a fabric backing, meaning that the folds were stronger than those on ordinary sheets. The dissected editions contained 18 separate panels.

In addition, there were Library editions that were dissected, but at a larger plan area containing eight sections.

Special collections were also available - boxed editions containing the full set of original 1922-23 editions for England and Wales exists (as well as boxed editions containing sets of later maps), whilst later, smaller collections containing six maps were also available. These special collections, in addition to the maps, also contained an Index and Reference Book to accompany the maps.


The covers were black-on-orange and showed a drawing of a typical roadside scene (here where the then A31 - now the A3090 met the B3043 near Hursley in Hampshire). Inside the inner flap were descriptions of various traffic signs.

The Library Editions were in a plain buff cover with the sheet number printed on the outside, but with no other identifying marks beyond the sheet number.

SABRE Maps coverage

SABRE Maps has full coverage of the 1923 sheets, including the special London maps. There are also a number of other maps available dated between 1924 and 1936.


Main Article: MoT Map sheet listing

OS Ministry of Transport Road Map
Related Pictures
View gallery (120)
1923 Central Bath.png1923 MOT Map Sheet 33.jpgB3319 map.pngB4426.pngWolverhampton MoT 1926-27.png
Road Mapping
Ordnance SurveyMoT Maps • Ten Mile Road Map • Route Planning Map • One Inch(Popular Edition) • Landranger • Half Inch • Quarter Inch • Routemaster • Travelmaster • Road Map • Travel Map • Pathfinder • Explorer  • Outdoor Leisure • Tourist • Ten Mile • City Link  • City, Town and Neighbourhood
Ordnance Survey Northern IrelandRoad Map • One Inch • Discoverer
Ordnance Survey IrelandDiscovery
Other MappingA-Z • AA • Bartholomew • Book of the Road • Google • Michelin • Philips • Others
Road Basics
Physical layoutSingle track • Single carriageway • Dual carriageway • High Quality Dual Carriageway • Road Widths • Urban Streets • Abandoned Road
Legal typesAll-purpose Road • Special Road • Motorway • Trunk road • Principal road • Classified Numbered road • Classified Unnumbered Road • Unclassified road • Primary Route • Non Primary Route • Right of Way • Unadopted road
Road numbers1922 Road Lists • Classification • Defunct road • Euroroutes • MoT Maps • National Cycle Network • Numbering principles • Numbering anomalies • Disputed Numbers • Recycled number • Unallocated numbers • Fictional Road Numbers • Junction numbers
Road FeaturesAutomatic Bollard • Balancing Pond • Arterial Road • Bott's Dots • Bypass • Cannon • Cats' Eyes • Cattle Grid • CD Lanes • Central Reservation • Chopsticks • Crash Barrier • Cuttings and Embankments • Cycle Lane • Emergency Phone • Escape lane • Expressway • Fingerpost • Flare • Ford • Gore • Green Bridge • Green Wave • Hairpin bend • Hard shoulder • Island • Junction • Layby • Level Crossing • Local Access Road • Managed Motorways • Milestone • Multiplex • No-Car Lane • Oxbow Road • Parapet • Petrol station • Raised Pavement Markers • Ramp Metering • Retaining Wall • Road Studs • Roadside Art • Roadside Quarry • Roadworks • Secret motorway • Signage • Smart Motorway • Snow pole • Speed Limit • Spur • Street Lighting • Surface Dressing • Temporary terminus • Throughpass • Tidal Flow • Tiger tail • Toll booth • Traffic cone • Traffic Signals • Tunnel • Weaving • Wig-Wag Signals
Traffic CalmingBuild-Outs • Chicane • Dragon's Teeth • Pinch Point • Quiet Lane • Rumble strips • Safety Cameras • Sleeping Policeman • Speed bump
Public Transport FeaturesBus Lane • Bus stop • Guided Busway • Park and Ride • Tramway • Trolleybus System
Other termsAnderson report • Guildford Rules • Highway Authority • Highway Code • Motorway alphabet • Pre-Worboys • Primary Destinations • Roads by 10 • Transport alphabet • Worboys report