The Charles Close Society for the study of Ordnance Survey maps

Digital Images Archive

95. Four-inch Sketch of the Curragh of Kildare (CCS 218B/49/6)

Kildare had been surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1837-8, with publication of the six-inch map of the county following in 1839. A permanent military camp for 10,000 infantry at the Curragh, proposed in January 1855, was built with such speed that there was already accommodation available for 5000 men by July the same year. A new survey of the encampment and contours was undertaken by Ordnance surveyors in 1855, and revised in 1866. Both resulted in engravings of outline and hachured editions of a special six-inch map, The Curragh Sheet.

The four-inch sketch map reproduced here is undated. A copy of an earlier state is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (C19:22(3)), made during the 1860s when Berdoe Wilkinson was still a Captain and Henry James a Colonel. Their promotion respectively to Lieutenant Colonel and Major General in April 1870 and the Topographical Department War Office accession date of 27 January 1874 provide terminal dates for this edition.

The neatlines of the map are slightly within those of the six-inch special map, and administrative boundaries and names, field boundaries, area values and ornament of the original have either been deleted altogether or are greatly simplified. Form lines are used to depict the hills, with heights at the summits (not present on the engraved six-inch map) measured in feet. All names have been redrawn, with several named added of features which were presumably of particular significance to the military. The map is coloured, with the Curragh in green, water in blue, built up areas and road names in carmine, the roads themselves in sienna.

From a copy now transferred to Cambridge University Library