127. Joshua Archer / H G Collins 1852


Although it is not sure who produced the county maps which appeared in the Pocket Ordnance Railway Atlas, Joshua Archer, a well-known engraver of county maps (see 67 and 108), has been strongly suggested. Archer certainly produced a map of England and Wales which appeared in Collins Indestructible Atlas and Collins One Shilling Atlas, although these would not be published for another six years or so.[1] It was transfers of these plates which were taken and used to produce the following county atlas. The maps were on stiff card which was glued together in a leather wallet to be carried in the pocket.

Considering how often Henry George Collins (fl.1849-59) was found bankrupt, it is surprising how many geographical works he was able to publish in a comparatively short period of time. Born in London in 1808 a first partnership, as bookbinders, stationers as well as copper engravers, was dissolved in 1831. A further partnership was declared bankrupt in 1839 and dissolved. In 1847 he was working for William and Henry Rock (125) but found guilty of embezzlement and imprisoned for four months the same year. A move in to map publishing, during which he reissued the work of Henry Teesdale (99, c.1848-1850), Robert Rowe (81, c.1849-1855), William Ebden (95, c.1855) and Cole and Roper (67, c.1858), brought success for a limited time. However, in 1858 his plates, copyrights, entire stock and the lease of his premises in Pasternoster Row were sold at auction. In the ensueing years he patented a number of printing machines but his Electro Printing Block Company was wound up in 1861.[2]

Probably between 1850 and 1852[3] Collins produced his Pocket Ordnance Railway Atlas of Great BritainAlthough the small maps have no scale the text explains what scale was used and the Devon text reports that the width of the map equals 70 miles. No roads are shown, only hachured hills and some towns with the railways, as completed by 1848.

Size: 76 x 53 mm.                                                                                                                                                                Scale is irrelevant.

DEVON. above plate number - 7 - (CaOS). Railway to Plymouth and branches to Torquay (Torre) and Tiverton.

1. 1852 Collins´ Pocket Ordnance Railway Atlas of Great Britain[4]      
    London. H G Collins. (1852).     BL, KB.

[1] Archer has been listed by both Kingsley (Printed Maps of Sussex) and Carroll (Printed Maps of Lincs) but not by Worms and Baynton-Williams (British Map Engravers, 2011). The BL dates these two atlases to c.1858.

[2] Worms and Baynton-Williams; British Map Engravers, 2011, pp. 156-7.

[3] Chubb (1972) suggested 1852, but Raymond Carroll (1996; p. 299) suggests 1850 as a possibility based on railways and thickness of lines used (not noticeable on the Devon map).

[4] BL copy (Maps.1aa.6) is dated c.1852 and has text pages. KB copy contains only the maps on card bound together and in a travelling wallet, gilt-edged pages.