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Great Reform Act Plans for Scotland Now Online

If you read that headline and thought, “I didn’t even know Scotland HAD any great reform plans,” they don’t, not as related to this selection. You’re about 175 years off. This collection is from 1831-1832 and includes plans of 75 Scottish towns as well as a facsimile of a report to the House of Commons where the plans were published. The collection starts at http://www.nls.uk/maps/towns/reform/index.html.

You can choose to browse a map that shows the town locations or just get a list. I took a look at the list and took a look at Glasgow. Admittedly the summary page isn’t very exciting — it’s basically a thumbnail of the map with some basic information about the map as it relates to the report — but click on the map itself.

You’ll get a popup window with a larger version of the map that you can zoom and pan. (You can also choose to view the map with a plugin, but I thought the switches on the window were fine.) You can zoom in ridiculously close to see map details; actually the zooming would occasionally run away with me a bit and I’d have to go back to the “full size” and start over.

While you’re having fun with the map don’t forget that the original map page also has a link to the report, which are scanned pages that you view in much the same way you viewed the map (they’re typewritten and easy to read.) The report includes details about the town like population along with analysis on the current boundaries and how they can be revised. The reports are interesting but a little annoying; you have to turn to each report page on the information screen, then zoom in on it and read it. You can’t just read all the pages at one time.

Great look at history which would be even better if the reports were easier to read.

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