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how does chard museum support you to research our  map collection

Maps not only show you the pathways of today but can also be portals to the past.

Chard Museum has almost 400 maps, most of which are of Chard, Ilminster, and our surrounding areas. These have been donated by local people over the years and additions to the collection are frequent. Some are copies, some are original, and most are Ordinance Survey in origin.

The earliest maps of Chard in the Museum’s collection date from 1780s and the majority date from the 1830s to the 1990s showing the development and changes to the local area over that period.

The wider collection includes geological survey maps, maps highlighting the infrastructure including road changes, old railway routes and canals.  There is also a selection of archaeological maps that have been included as a separate topic. These identify Hillforts, Roman villas, settlements, and roads such as the Fosse Way.

Somerset Speed Map 1610.jpg
How are our maps organised

Each map is assigned a Museum Reference Number when accepted by the Museum and put on a Map Register. It is then filed in sequence.

While the Map Register holds a lot of detail about the maps, it is difficult to pick out maps by topic or date. For this reason  a Map Subject Index has been created. This presently an Excel spreadsheet. The Map Subject Index is arranged alphabetically by Town and Village within County and Country as shown in the above.


Because Chard is so near the County boundary, for the Town of Chard only, the nearby Villages within 5 miles will be shown underChard. Other Villages will be shown under the corresponding County. Where the date is known, the Maps and Plans are arranged chronologically within each sub-category of Town/Village.

Map Subject Index Format.jpg
want some help then contact one of our wonderful researchers

You can come into the Museum and research or review our map collection. All you have to do is complete the History Research Form giving us the topic you want to research and include some dates that might suit you to visit. We will then link you with a member of our research team.

Many thanks to Doug Hislop, our passionate map researcher and resident expert for writing this Guide to Researching Maps at Chard Musuem and making our maps more widely available.

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Doug Hislop

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