This late Victorian map, one of a whole range of English county maps produced by G. W. Bacon's company in London, offers a fascinating contemporary look at an important part of 19th century industrial England.
American-born George Washington Bacon (1830-1922) moved to London in 1861. A serial entrepreneur, he was bankrupt by 1867, but then decided to specialise in publishing maps. His business prospered after he acquired Edward Weller's English county steel plates, previously used for the incredibly detailed, but distinctly non decorative, "Weekly Dispatch Atlas". Bacon expanded the plates, making them easier to read, improved them with a quality range of colour washes and published his remarkable work, "The New Ordnance Atlas of the British Isles" in 1882; it went through several further editions until about 1912. Bacon mapped London in various ways and to various scales, eventually acquiring London publisher James Wyld's business, which also included yet more thoroughly detailed maps of the capital.
Our map dates from ca. 1880, and is contained within a rather faded and somewhat damaged deep plum cloth cover, with the title in gilt lettering on the front and spine (gilt surprisingly bright, given the general external condition). Dark red marbled endpapers add a touch of class. The map itself is a very large fold-out colour map, backed on original linen, and in generally good condition, with just 3 black marks of undetermined significance (see photos).