Maps and the 20th Century is the latest exhibition at the British Library, exploring the 20th century via the medium of maps. Maps were widely used before this period, of course, but it wasn’t until the last century that map use became more or less universal.
The exhibition covers themes such as war, peace, movement and the market. The war section was one of the most memorable, being full of the kind of propaganda maps that were so common in school textbooks, featuring images like Hitler as a spider spreading his spindly legs over Europe. My personal favourite maps were the original Underground map sketch by Harry Beck, the map of Antarctica, and the map of the shopping centre of Sunderland, my home city.
The exhibition runs until the first of March next year, and it’s well worth seeing for any map fans out there.