Ordnance Survey of England and Wales
- Author: MUDGE, Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) William; COLBY, Major Thomas; BAKER, Benjamin and others
- Publication place: [London
- Publisher: J. Gardner, 129 Regent Street
- Publication date: 1844].
- Physical description: 90 hand-coloured engraved maps at the Ordnance Survey Office, each dissected and mounted on linen, with numbered vellum tabs, all housed within 15 original dark blue morocco pull-off slipcase, gilt.
- Dimensions: each sheet approximately 680 by 980mm (26.75 by 38.5 inches).
- Inventory reference: 12962
In 1820 Captain Thomas Colby (1784–1852) was put in charge of the survey. It soon became apparent that much of the early surveying work was of insufficient standard. As a result, he ordered the revising of much of the existing survey work, which would take the next 13 years to complete. By 1844, publication of the Old Series, one inch to one mile, was complete for the whole of Britain south of Preston and Hull — the present example. The survey now became mired in what would become known as the “Battle of the Scales”. The origin of the debate was borne from the fact that the survey of Ireland, began in the 1820s, was upon a much larger scale of 6 inches to the mile. Many suggested the scale be adopted for northern Britain and Scotland, however, when the larger scale was taken up the progress was painfully slow, and by 1851 only Lancashire and Wigtownshire had been surveyed. This led to a House of Commons Select Committee to suggest the abandonment of the scale; a suggestion that the parsimonious Treasury readily accepted. Even so, this did not settle the matter and the debate would rage on for some years to come.
The present set is the first issue of the first series published before the survey became mired in the “Battle of the Scales”.