Know Your Place

Peter Insole works at Bristol City Council and he showed how exciting desktop research can be and how much it can add to an understanding of archaeological sites. Peter is responsible for Bristol's stunning new website called "Know Your Place". This was developed with the aid of English Heritage and variety of local bodies and community groups.

The website brings together a number of old maps of Bristol and overlays them with other data. The maps start with John Rocque's 1750 plan of the city, run through a collection of Tithe maps, Ashmead's nineteenth century plans of the City, Ordnance Survey maps both historic and modem and also include detailed aerial views. The additional information includes the HER and collection of historic illustrations which allow selected locations to be viewed against contemporary maps. The community dimension continues and contributors from members of the public are welcomed and now beginning to be included on the map.

The setting up of the maps was a testing job and involved a great deal of "stretching and stitching" to allow for inevitable inaccuracies in the original surveys. The extent to which the development team has succeeded can be judged by using the "spyglass" tool which cunningly superimposes one map over another.

The value of the website lies in its ability to bring together so many phases of the city's history and enable pinpoint accuracy in the identification of features. Already a formerly unknown building has been identified and added to the HER.

Peter Johnson

The following websites below are highly recommended: