In the Museum storeroom, amongst the tubes of rolled modern Ordnance Survey and reproduction maps there lies a little gem. Rolled onto a mahogany roller you know as soon as you see it, and even before unrolling, that it is something special. Heavily browned and foxed, and falling off both its mahogany roller and linen backing, it is a sorry sight, and now difficult to read in parts. It is, to give it its full title:

A MAP OF HAYLING ISLAND – in the County of HANTS, in which are delineated, The New Buildings, Recorded and Designed at the Watering Place of the South Beach, ALSO the Boundaries of Each Parish and of the Separate Tithings SHEWING Every Place which forms such boundaries and over which they pass and the side along which they run. SURVEYED AND EXECUTED IN LITHOGRAPHY BY I.T. & C. LEWIS, WINCHESTER, 1834.

That’s about the top and bottom of it, but having said that I knew nothing of the cartographers. However I know a man that does. He is Robert West and has written authoritatively about Charles Lewis in particular. I quote extensively with his permission from his booklet “Charles Lewis, Surveyor and Auctioneer in nineteenth Century Havant, August 2013, from the SPRING Arts and Heritage Centre, Havant, price 50p.”

Charles Lewis was born in 1801 in Portsmouth, but lived in Havant for most of his life except for brief periods when he lived first in Fishbourne and then in Warblington, at least between 1838 and 1841 in the case of the latter. He was a significant figure in 19th Century Havant, being its first resident surveyor, a cartographer, auctioneer, valuer, estate agent, insurance agent, enclosure commissioner and lithographic printer. Charles had a brother, John Theophilis with whom he collaborated to produce, in particular, the two earliest surviving large-scale printed maps of the Havant area. Separately Charles was responsible for the Tithe Map of 1842 covering the same area.

The Havant map mentioned above was one of a series of a dozen that Charles produced with his brother between 1828 and 1836 for sale to the general public. Quite a lot of information can be determined about these maps from advertisements placed in the Hampshire Telegraph. In July 1837, for example, they listed the complete set together with their publication dates. Among these is the map of Hayling Island held in Emsworth Museum and which is clearly a later issue since the advertisement refers to a publication date of 1830, while the museum’s map is dated 1834.

The maps varied in price with the Petworth and Portsea maps for example costing 10s. 6d. for a plain black and white copy. Colour printing had yet to be developed (around 1845), and so if colouring was required this would be applied by hand with the map price increasing to 12s. 6d.. Finally the de luxe edition, coloured, backed with linen and mounted on mahogany rollers could be had for 20s..

One other thing of interest about these maps is their production through lithography. Although invented in Germany in 1795, European conflicts constrained the spread of knowledge about the technique, and so did not become common in Britain until after 1825. This is the date at which John Theophilus first advertises his services as a lithographic printer in Winchester, the earliest reference to the trade in Hampshire.

It is impossible to be certain how successful the maps were. The Havant and Portsea maps can be found quite readily indicating that a reasonable number of them were sold. Others are not so common, with Robert West claiming not to have been able to trace certain of them. Rarer still are the de luxe editions, and the museum map is one of these. It is in a sorry state but I believe it can be restored for a cost of around a couple of hundred pounds. This probably exceeds its worth, but certainly not its value. Arty and Robert West will be making the case to the Museum over the coming months for the map’s restoration. Any other expressions of support would be most welcome and should be made to the Emsworth Museum Administrator.

Through the eyes and mouth of Robert West
And through the ears of Arty Fact

PS: The Museum is pleased to possess this map (Acc No 1128) donated by Mr G Higgins in 2004.