173. G Firks & Son 1895


This chromolithograph map, designed by Charles Everson, was probably intended as a wall map, perhaps for schools. The huge size and bright colours would have made it very attractive to children or even as a poster in today’s Tourist Information Office!. The map shows the Great Western and London and South Western Railways (which are colour-coded) and both the Bude and Torrington (to Halwill Junction) projected lines are shown. Also depicted are canals, seaports and watering places, bishoprics, Parliamentary and Municipal Boroughs, forts and even battlefields. There is an inset map of the Scilly Isles.


As well as a number of boats out to sea, there are four large colourful corner vignettes: of miners digging turf on the moor, possibly for use in the tin smelting works behind them (top left); of farm workers unloading a haywain after the haymaking (top right); flower sellers (bottom left); and a fisherman on shore with basket of fish and crab pot (bottom right).

G Firks and Son was registered at 1 East Street  in 1878 as a printer, book-seller, stationer and music-seller  and as stationers at 41 Old Town Street in a directory of 1930.

Westward Ho!, a new town, was created by a property developer exploiting the name of Kingsley's novel, published in 1855. The hotel was followed by the church in 1870 and then by terraced houses. The first county map to show the town was Philip’s Geography map of 1872 (149.1). The United Services College was opened in 1874 to become the scene for Kipling’s Stalky & Co. Helped by publicity, and perhaps by this map, the town had become a popular resort by the end of the century, with the golf club its sole redeeming feature. The railway line was opened in 1901.

According to an on-line encyclopaedia, a Charles Robert Everson was born in 1859 at Bere Ferrers, Devon, the third child of Thomas and Grace Everson. Thomas was a farm labourer and Charles first became a blacksmith before moving to South Wales, where he gained experience of public transport. In 1892 (aged 32) he was appointed as manager of Plymouth's newly formed Tramways Department. Charles accompanied Alderman Bray on visits to north Devon to purchase cobs for the transport service. Until his retirement in 1919 he supervised the growth of tramway transport in Plymouth. Everson interested himself in farming and died in Plymstock in 1939 at the age of 79.1

Size: 1375 x 1197 mm.                                                                                                                                 Scale of English Miles (10 = 105 mm).

G FIRKS & SON`S "WESTWARD HO!" MAP OF DEVON & CORNWALL DESIGNED BY CHARLES EVERSON (Ca). Imprint: PUBLISHED BY G.FIRKS & SON, WEST OF ENGLAND EDUCATIONAL DEPOT, 10A OLD TOWN STREET, & 1, EAST STREET, PLYMOUTH. (CeOS). A reference key (Ce) and degrees of latitude and longitude are shown in the border.

1. 1895 G Firks & Son`s "Westward Ho!" Map of Devon and Cornwall  
    Plymouth. G Firks & Son. (1895). BL, B, NLS.

[1] Although there is no direct evidence to connect this Charles Everson with the map, the biography suggests that this might be the same person. I am grateful for the information at http://plymouthdata.info.