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The British Admiralty has produced nautical charts since 1795 under the auspices of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (HO). Its main task was to provide the Royal Navy with navigational products and service, but since 1821 it has also sold charts to the public.

In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple, a pedantic geographer, to consolidate, catalogue, and improve the Royal Navy’s charts. He produced the first chart as the Hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1802. Dalrymple, known for his sticky personality, served until his death in 1808, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas Hurd. The HO has been run by naval officers ever since.

Hurd professionalized the office and increased its efficiency. He was succeeded by the Arctic explorer Captain William Parry in 1823. By 1825, the HO was offering over seven hundred charts and views for sale. Under Parry, the HO also began to participate in exploratory expeditions. The first was a joint French-Spanish-British trip to the South Atlantic, a voyage organized in part by the Royal Society of London.

In 1829, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was appointed Hydrographer Royal. Under his management, the HO introduced the wind force scale named for him, as well as began issuing official tide tables (1833). It was under Beaufort that HMS Beagle completed several surveying missions, including its most famous voyage commanded by Captain FitzRoy with Charles Darwin onboard. When Beaufort retired in 1855, the HO had nearly two thousand charts in its catalog.

Later in the nineteenth century, the HO supported the Challenger expedition, which is credited with helping to found the discipline of oceanography. The HO participated in the International Meridian Conference which decided on the Greenwich Meridian as the Prime Meridian. Regulation and standardization of oceanic and navigational measures continued into the twentieth century, with the HO participating at the first International Hydrographic Organization meeting in 1921.

During World War II, the HO chart making facility moved to Taunton, the first purpose-built building it ever inhabited. In 1953, the first purpose-built survey ship went to sea, the HMS Vidal. Today, there is an entire class of survey vessels that make up the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron. The HO began to computerize their charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, the compilation staff also came to Taunton, and the HO continues to work from there today.  

Place/Date:
London / 1890 (1915)
Size:
25.5 x 37.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
70086
Place/Date:
/ 1911 (1949)
Size:
38 x 24.3 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55416
Place/Date:
London / 1843 (1871)
Size:
24.5 x 18 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
40592
Place/Date:
London / 1855
Size:
25 x 19 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
36541
Place/Date:
London / 1883 (1927)
Size:
46 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
43576
Place/Date:
London / 1903
Size:
19 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71918
Place/Date:
London / 1908 (1949)
Size:
45 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55579
Place/Date:
London / 1843
Size:
18.5 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
57829
Place/Date:
London / 1960 (1965)
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67328
Place/Date:
London / 1898 (updated to 1929)
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67388
Place/Date:
London / 1870 (1920)
Size:
46 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
69480
Place/Date:
London / 1840 (1858)
Size:
18 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61653
Place/Date:
London / 1895 (updates to 1924)
Size:
19 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71551
Place/Date:
London / 1895 (updates to 1926)
Size:
26 x 38 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71770
Place/Date:
London / 1843 (1857)
Size:
36 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61663
Place/Date:
London / 1878 (updates to 1929)
Size:
25 x 19 inches Including text
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71463

Archived

Place/Date:
London / 1844
Size:
23 x 37 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
41452dc
Place/Date:
London / 1927
Size:
36 x 29 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
36127
Place/Date:
London / 1865 (updated to 1925)
Size:
38 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67497
Place/Date:
London / 1865 (updated to 1929)
Size:
37 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
69884
Place/Date:
London / 1890 (1915)
Size:
24.5 x 38 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68525
Place/Date:
London / 1844
Size:
23.5 x 36.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
41453dc
Place/Date:
London / 1844
Size:
23.5 x 36.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48776
Place/Date:
London / 1873 (1919)
Size:
33 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68860
Place/Date:
London / 1839
Size:
40 x 27 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
19074
Place/Date:
London / 1839
Size:
40 x 27 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
34891
Place/Date:
London / 1844 (printed updates to 1925, manuscript to 1938)
Size:
30 x 38 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
69102
Place/Date:
London / 1844
Size:
11 x 9.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
42769
Place/Date:
London / 1855 (1857)
Size:
24.7 x 19 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
56507
Place/Date:
London / 1865
Size:
25 x 19.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
34403
Place/Date:
London / 1860
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
25168
Place/Date:
London / 1927 (1928)
Size:
33 x 27 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43496
Place/Date:
London / 1956
Size:
39.5 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71249
Place/Date:
London / 1933 (1954)
Size:
45 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67615
Place/Date:
London / 1864 (1868)
Size:
26 x 39 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
37652
Place/Date:
London / 1864 (1892)
Size:
26 x 39 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
37660
Place/Date:
London / 1864 (1900)
Size:
26 x 39 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
40749
Place/Date:
London / 1892
Size:
40 x 28 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
36090
Place/Date:
Singapore / 1893 (1934)
Size:
39.5 x 28 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
39703
Place/Date:
Singapore / 1893 (1900)
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64417
Place/Date:
London / 1854
Size:
26 x 35.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
42819
Place/Date:
London / 1861
Size:
38.5 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61066
Place/Date:
London / 1858 (1863)
Size:
38 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55960
Place/Date:
London / 1858 1863
Size:
38 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
54905