Historic map centres at new Melton Mowbray exhibition

Old maps highlight major town's rich heritage

The exhibition at Melton Museum

Melton Mowbray’s long and celebrated history is brought to life in a new exhibition charting the rise of the famous rural Leicestershire town.

With displays featuring maps of Melton Mowbray from the late 18th century, interactive flip books and a fascinating map animation film, the exhibition explores how Melton Mowbray has changed over the last 200 years.

The centre piece of the exhibition is a reproduction of a stunning 1871 Lordship map produced for the townsfolk and local lawyers of the day by local solicitor William Latham (1800-1887), who was aged 71 when he created the map.

Councillor Christine Radford, cabinet member for adults and communities, said: “This fantastic exhibition gives people a chance to connect to the history of Melton Mowbray and explores how it has changed and evolved through time.

“Volunteers have worked incredibly hard to bring this exhibition to life and I encourage everyone to visit and discover how Melton Mowbray became the town it is today.”  

Created as the definitive public record of the landowners and their tenants in 1871, the map includes notable buildings from the time, including the two breweries and the Melton Mowbray Union Workhouse. 

A detailed picture of the town in 1871 is also painted by the exhibition's interactive flip book which features the markets, places to stay, notable residents of the town, the hunting and racing scene, schools and places of worship, landowners and William Latham himself.

A team of six research volunteers, assisted by the Museum staff, dedicated many hours of their time to research Melton Mowbray for the exhibition, scouring books, newspaper articles, the 1871 Census, 1870s trade directories and old images of the town to bring the exhibition to life.

Display panels also highlight the small and large changes seen in the town with many of the maps coming from the county council’s Records Office. 

The short, animated map film, created through volunteering by the design team from Edmentum, shows the history of the town from Medieval times to the present day.

Historic objects are also on display, along with modern maps from the mid-20th century for visitors to learn more about the area and about map making. Wall maps are available for Melton Mowbray residents to mark where they live.  

The exhibition is currently on at Melton Carnegie Museum and will run until mid-December. The Museum are planning a series of map related activities and history days throughout the rest of the year. Visit Melton Carnegie Museum's website for more details.

Melton Carnegie Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 4.30pm.

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