The Road from London to Southampton continued to Salisbury

Ribbon Map of Journey from London to Southampton

London to Southampton a?? before the SatNav.

A ribbon or strip map showing the route from Bagshot to Salisbury via Southampton, from a road atlas, ‘Roads through England Delineated’ by John Senex and published by John Bowles and Son in London in 1757.

The map is laid out in much the same way as we now expect a digital map to unroll down a screen and shows only the direct road. Turnings are marked as are bridges and major towns and settlements. Other topographical features that might aid the traveller to navigate are hills, indicated by a simple drawing, and clumps of forest. The direction of travel is shown by a compass bearing showing the four points of the compass and the north as a fleur de lys.

Ribbon maps of this sort were published as small format road atlases of a convenient size to be carried in a pocket or travelling bag. As the Industrial Revolution progressed and more people began to travel for the purposes of trade and then for pleasure the popularity of guide books and atlases increased, especially among the educated and wealthier classes. 

Southampton at this time was not only a major sea port but a spa town where visitors could take the waters and enjoy the pleasures of the seaside. 

Quick Facts

  • Accession Number FA1997.98
  • Published in London
  • Date published 1757
  • Published by John Bowles and Son
  • Author of atlas John Senex
  • Dimensions Page height 15cms, Page width 21cms


  • The first ribbon maps were produced in the 17th century, about 100 years after the first printed County maps which did not show roads.
  • The ribbons have to be read from the bottom up so the route is always proceeding ahead of the person travelling along it.

  • The ribbon map is printed on both sides of the paper (one side only is described here)
  • The ribbon map is part of the Printed Map Collection kept at the Hampshire County Council Arts and Museums Service headquarters at Chilcomb House, Winchester.
  • Southampton became a Spa town in 1740 owing to discovery of a Chalybeate spring producing water, rich in iron, of similar mineral content to springs at Tunbridge Wells and Harrogate.
  • The Baths near the West Quay, Southampton were established in the 1760's, where visitors could bathe in sea water in pools that were filled and emptied by the tide. The associated Long Rooms were a fashionable venue for visitors.
  • Proposals for the development of the Polygon in Southampton as a fashionable residential area were made in 1768, but the development never came to fruition.

Did you know?

The map was printed in one colour, so any other colours had to be added by hand. This map has the road shown in yellow, settlements picked out in red and the coastline in blue.

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