The Dumfries Archival Map Project (DAMP) is hosting a number of events giving public access to 18th century and early 19th century pre-ordnance survey maps previously held in private and public archives.
The first event was held in New Abbey in December and was well attended despite terrible weather. A presentation of old estate and road maps led to fascinating discussions of obvious and not so obvious changes in the local landscape.
Further events are planned at Dumfries and Annan Museums in the lead up to an exhibition which will open at Dumfries Museum on 12 March 2016, then tour to Annan Museum later in the year.
A selection of maps local to the areas around Dumfries and Annan will be presented at the museum events and discussion welcomed. Anyone who is interested in viewing these maps and having a say in what will go on display as very welcome to come along to Dumfries Museum on 21 January or Annan Museum on 28 January. Both events start at 6.30pm. Light refreshments will be served. These events are free and everyone is welcome but please phone Dumfries Museum on 01387 253374 to reserve a place.
DAMP has been set up in order to digitise as many Dumfries and Galloway pre-Ordnance Survey maps and estate plans as possible. The project started with Nithsdale area maps, concentrating on 18th century hand-drawn cartography which offers, in fine detail, a totally novel look at our history, geography and society. The project is expanding into Annandale and Eskdale and the group are happy to hear about maps of any part of Dumfries and Galloway held in archives across the region. Some of the digital maps have been georeferenced, allowing them to be layered over current maps, and are now available on the National Library of Scotland website.
DAMP member Archie McConnel said; “Burns wrote “Rigs o’ Barley” in 1783, around the time when many of these were drawn. Rigs were a feature of the landscape that had slowly begun to change. The landscape of the larger estates was being mapped in order to plan future changes. The basis of today’s landscape has changed little but tree planting and modern roads now cloak once bare hills and muddy tracks. With the help of these early maps we can imagine the landscape Burns saw. These old maps allow us to see where we have come from. They may be the closest that we can get to time travel.”


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