Charles Goad - Publisher of Victorian Fire Maps, UK and Ontario circa 1890
- page updated 14 May '09
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Charles Goad, a Civil Engineer, practised in Toronto, Ontario and London, England and at other centres. His major business was the creation of detailed street maps for the inner areas of industrial cities. He also produced other larger-area maps: an Ontario example is a "collectable". The Fire Insurance Companies had an interest in preventing fires to their properties, and the firefighters (often private) wanted detailed information regarding access to water, restrictions to building access (e.g. high walls) and appropriate routes to travel; all these features are shown; they also looked for building Fire Marks. They also wanted to know the locations of combustible material. It seems that the Charles Goad Company carefully restricted the sets of these maps in circulation: they were rented to the Fire Insurance Companies under contract andwere never sold. The University of Toronto also has some Canadian Goad maps.

The maps he produced are much more detailed than the familiar A-Z maps of the UK, and cover the industrial parts of over 100 towns and UK cities; I have produced an index of those available in Ottawa, and I can provide assistance with information on request. email Hugh Reekie. I have not investigated the Ontario examples; there are others - the Carribbean, for example. The maps he produced are sufficiently detailed that the shape of buildings, houses, factories, can be established. The scale is about but 1:500. The number of stories in buildings is often mentioned - single level - two, three etc, and the names of public houses often appears, as does the nature of the commercial business.The assigned steet numbers are usually given: this is very useful, particularly when using with a census, as I have done with the 1881 edition. The Charles Goad Company, UK, still provides specialist maps for fire protection purposes, I believe (web page not found).

In my instance the Bryant & May match factory (Bromley by Bow, in East london) has many details shown. But I cannot find the city dairy where my great-grandfather kept his Welsh cattle, and where my grandfather Daniel Jenkin was born; they lived at 28 High St Bow (per civil records) but I find no census data; perhaps I looked at the wrong High Street!.

In the mid 1980's I worked in downtown Ottawa and had easy access to the National Archives of Canada. Perusing the map collection, I found a full set of circa 1950 seventh-series Ordnance Survey maps of the UK - quantity 189 in all ;these maps show parish names and boundaries; the present 50,000 series omit this information. A letter the the Ordnance Survey askingwhy was not answered. I use other maps to establish the location of the parish church, useful information.

I found a file cabinet with an almost complete set of Charles Goad fire maps for the UK inner cities, on 3"x 4" celluloid positives, easily read with a microfiche reader. For a small fee I obtained copies of certain parts of both Manchester and Bow, London, which I still have. The copying process does degrade the detail significantly, but street names and numbers remain readable.The fiches are in the Map Collection in the Canada Archives in Ottawa and are available on request; the far right-hand corner as you enter the map area. They are in the second cabinet from the end, in the top (or second top) drawer.

Since I regarded this collection of significant interest to some, I spent many lunch-times indexing the fiches, which number over 2,000. My index is dated Feb 1986. I presented my findings at an Ottawa Branch OGS meeting in mid 1986, and repeated the information at annual Scottish Heritage Weekend Genealogical Workshops in Gracefield, Quebec from 1988 to 1992. Don Ross and John Hay (BIFHSGO members) attended a number of these workshops.


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