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The Curious Case of the Anonymous Map Maker

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Chaplaincy Centre Quiet Room

Lancaster University

Bailrigg

LA1 4YW

United Kingdom

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In 1600 two new atlases of England were being planned independently. Recent discoveries (involving the speaker) of unknown manuscripts have expanded knowledge of the working methods of both these rivals, one an obscure failure and the other our most successful English cartographer. We shall hear their stories and end with a brief account of the eccentric maps included by Michael Drayton in his Poly-Olbion edition of 1618, one of which features the ‘Bowland Lady’.


The talk is free to attend and all staff are invited so bring your colleagues along. Tea, coffee and cakes provided.

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Bio - Dr Ian Saunders

Dr Ian Saunders was born in Glasgow and educated at Kelvinside Academy and Glasgow University. His MSc was awarded in December 1966 at the first Degree Congregation in Lancaster and was one of the earliest degrees granted by the University. In 1967 he moved to Lancaster University as a full-time research student, and was awarded his Lancaster PhD in 1969 just after joining the academic staff. Having found such a congenial home in the area and at the Lancaster University Physics Department, he remained there doing research on semiconductors and teaching Physics until 2011.

Years of service as a voluntary College Officer in Lancaster University led to his election as Principal of Bowland College from 1989 until 1999. Activity in the Committee of the British Association for Crystal Growth included a spell as Chairman, and also he has chaired the Lancaster Branch of the Institute of Physics. Until recently he was a consultant with the Ascentis Award Validating Agency as Chief Science Moderator.

Throughout his career he has lectured in schools, to student societies and to any public organisations (in three continents) willing to hear about applications of science. The topics presented included relativity, applications of crystal growth, the history and technology of integrated circuits, and eventually aspects of cartography, which became a major area of study for him in 1984 when he began to collect and research antique maps. He mounted large map exhibitions at the Lancaster University Library in 1987, 1989 and 1994, and further exhibitions in Preston in 1991 and in the Scott Gallery in 1994.

His illustrated book on “Printed Maps of Lancashire: the first 200 years” was published in 2013 by the Centre for North West Regional Studies (now the Regional Heritage Centre). An article in the April 2015 issue of the journal ‘Imago Mundi ’ reported his discoveries about the life and work of the herald and cartographer William Smith (1546-1618), including identification of an unrecorded manuscript map by Smith in the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

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Date and Time

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Chaplaincy Centre Quiet Room

Lancaster University

Bailrigg

LA1 4YW

United Kingdom

View Map

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