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The Tynedale branch received a talk by Diana Whaley who led a project which ran from 2016 to 2020 and which had transcribed and analysed the contents of the 103 surviving Ordnance Survey Name Books compiled between 1857 and 1864.

Each book relates to a place (usually a parish) and contains detailed information about the names of streets, antiquities, geographical features or other points of interest which the Ordnance Survey were surveying and mapping for the 1861 series of Six Inch scale maps of the United Kingdom.

For each feature identified on the map, there is an entry in the Name Book which corresponds to the name as shown on the map. Other information recorded in the Name Book about each feature gives alternative spellings or other variations on the name, the “authority” for each of the alternatives, the situation (describing the physical location in relation to other nearby features) and general observations.

The “Authorities” were local people – generally local worthies, tradesmen or landowners – who were interviewed by the survey teams to establish what each street, stream or prominent building was known as, and how the name was spelled. The general observations – also known as “descriptive remarks” – provide an often subjective additional layer of information about the feature being mapped.

The Ordnance Survey of Northumberland was carried out by a group of nearly 50 people, with just over half being members of the Royal Engineers and the rest civilians. The recent Name Book Project involved more than 40 volunteers.

The website is well worth a visit at