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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 / 1891 (1933)
Size:
39 x 26 inches Including text
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67466
Place/Date:
London / 1898 (updated to 1929)
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67388
Place/Date:
London / 1960 (1965)
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67328
Place/Date:
London / 1908 (1949)
Size:
45 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55579
Place/Date:
London / 1855
Size:
24 x 30 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
58324
Place/Date:
London / 1843 (1857)
Size:
36 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61663
Place/Date:
London / 1843 (1871)
Size:
24.5 x 18 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
40592
Place/Date:
London / 1910
Size:
42 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
38925
Place/Date:
London / 1840 (1858)
Size:
18 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61653
Place/Date:
London / 1859
Size:
25 x 38 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
61594
Place/Date:
London / 1844 (additions to 1858)
Size:
37.5 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
57792
Place/Date:
/ 1911 (1949)
Size:
38 x 24.3 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55416

Archived

Place/Date:
London / 1865 (updated to 1925)
Size:
38 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67497
Place/Date:
London / 1868 (Corrections to 1938)
Size:
41 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67358
Place/Date:
London / 1888 (corrections to 1892)
Size:
25.5 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
67304
Place/Date:
London / 1882 (updates to 1925)
Size:
32 x 25.5 inches Including text
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67234
Place/Date:
London / 1905 (1929)
Size:
24.5 x 38 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67274
Place/Date:
London / 1862 (updated to 1921)
Size:
19 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67152
Place/Date:
London / 1877 (1885)
Size:
38.5 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
63064
Place/Date:
London / 1854
Size:
26 x 35.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
42819
Place/Date:
London / 1865
Size:
38.5 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43809
Place/Date:
London / 1861
Size:
38.5 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61066
Place/Date:
London / 1866 (1881)
Size:
24.5 x 38 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61018
Place/Date:
London / 1881
Size:
39.5 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43856
Place/Date:
London / 1855 (1857)
Size:
24.7 x 19 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
56507
Place/Date:
London / 1858 (1863)
Size:
38 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55960
Place/Date:
London / 1887 (1951)
Size:
26 x 39 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
55637
Place/Date:
/ 1888 1936
Size:
39 x 26 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55329
Place/Date:
London / 1855 (1874 ca)
Size:
25 x 31 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55031
Place/Date:
London / 1858 1863
Size:
38 x 25.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
54905