Rare broadside plan of Cherbourg

By FADEN, William, 1788 

Plan of the Coast of Cherbourg with a Sketch of the Works which the French are now executing to Inclose and Defend the Road, &c. Third Edition Revised, Corrected and Improved.

Europe France
  • Author: FADEN, William
  • Publisher: [London], Published as the Act directs, by W[illia]m Faden, Geog[raphe]r to the King, Charing Cross
  • Publication date: Jan[uar]y 1st, 1788.
  • Physical description: Broadside engraved plan, original outline hand-colour, inset plan of the conical caissons’ letterpress text below.
  • Dimensions: 700 by 510mm (27.5 by 20 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1113


Rare separately issued plan of Cherbourg.

The plan gives detailed information on the defences at Cherbourg in 1788, with the position of the forts, redoubts and the reach of their cannon and mortar; together with the placement and construction of the Trucated Cones, or Conical Caissons’. These large wooden structures — some 170 feet in diameter — were being placed at the harbour’s mouth in order to narrow its entrance. The plan and the text below goes into considerable detail upon their construction and to how they were placed in the harbour.

Although not at war with the French at the time, the plan highlights England’s continued concern about the strength and defences of the French channel ports and their interest in French military technology. 


  1. BLMC Maps 17365.(3.)