Thursday, 9 April 2015

Admiralty Charts of Scotland, 1795-1963, now online from NLS

A new online addition from the maps department at the National Library of Scotland (

New online Admiralty Charts of Scotland, 1795-1963

The National Library of Scotland has just made newly available online 950 charts covering Scottish coastal waters in the 19th and 20th centuries. These are all their holdings of Admiralty charts of the Scottish coastline and adjacent seas, published over 50 years ago. Admiralty Charts show many coastal features in good detail, and are also useful in surveying the coasts before the Ordnance Survey for many northern counties in Scotland. For many of Scotland’s busier estuaries and ports, there are also regular revisions of charts coming through to the present day - often more revisions than for Ordnance Survey maps, and at different dates.

Charts are also useful for genealogists as they include detailed and informative depictions of coastal towns and harbours. Conspicuous buildings such as churches, towers, or chimneys were always of interest, as well as the overall size and shape of settlements. Charts are often also useful sources of information on communications, such as roads, railways, bridges, and canals.

Admiralty charts home page:
Clickable map:
Further information:

NLS has also georeferenced a selection of 200 charts, so that they can be viewed as zoomable overlays on a Bing map or satellite layer or in our Side by side viewer, eg:
Georeferenced overlay, Scapa Flow, 1944:

Side by side view of Forth Bridge, 1860 and 1963:

Featured pics - Peterhead 1854 and Wick 1857.

(With thanks to Chris Fleet at the NLS)


For details on my latest book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, and my other genealogy guide books please visit To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at

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