Scottish Seventh Series

The Seventh Series was last one-inch series to be published by the Ordnance Survey, with the first maps appearing in 1952 and the first Scottish sheets in 1956. The series describes a country emerging from a harrowing period of conflict and post-war austerity. The population in 1951 was around 50 million (compared to around 59 million today), and much of the pattern of development would be recognisable to the modern eye. The maps themselves also have a familiar appearance as their style has, with important variations, been carried forward into that of the present-day Ordnance Survey Landrangers..

Many of the aspects of the landscape the Seventh Series describes are, however, very different from those of today. There were no motorways (the idea was only considered in the mid 1950s with the M1 opening in 1959). There were also many more railways: although some closures had taken place, the notorious Beeching Axe was not to fall until the 1960s. Many New Towns had been built, but further construction was to follow in the next decade. The Seventh Series shows numerous ancient settlements and features, survivals of earlier waves of development; but for many the bulldozers of the motorways and housing estates were only a few years away and this would be the last time they would ever be recorded on a map.

The Seventh Series maps are a record of a country on the eve of its latest wave of transport and housing construction. The series, with revisions, would continue to be published until the early 1980s; the maps are thus not only a historical record but also documents from within living memory, providing countless fascinating reminders of an age in some ways very similar to and in others very different from our own. Many experts agree that these final one-inch maps were amongst the finest sheets Ordnance Survey ever produced.