British Library makes 40,000 historical maps & images free online

The British Library is making 40,000 historical maps in its collection available for free online. The maps are part of the Topographical Collection of King George III or the "K. Top" Collection. Aside from maps, the online collection also includes images of atlases, cartoons,  watercolors, and architectural drawings. 

These images are free to view online on their Flickr Commons collection.

According to the Library, "Over seven years, a team of expert cataloguers, curators, conservators and imaging specialists at the Library have worked to catalog, conserve and digitize the K.Top collection. 

The collection is a distinct part of the larger King’s Library which was presented to the Nation by George IV in 1823. As a collection of maps and views that was built during the formative period of the British Empire, it is an important resource for the study of how Britain viewed and interacted with the wider world during this period.

The collection consists of printed and hand-drawn works dating between 1500 and 1824 and covers a broad variety of compelling themes."

The first batch of 18,000 images from the collection is now available, with over 1 million copyright-free images made available by the Library.

British Library makes 40,000 maps and views freely available online. (2020 November).

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