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Mapping Galloway at Stranraer Museum

The new exhibition at Stranraer Museum explores the fascinating world of local maps.

On display are over 40 original maps and plans of Galloway. The earliest are almost 400 years old and show the area as it was at the beginning of the 17th century. They are the work of Timothy Pont, one of the country’s earliest map makers. He surveyed the whole of Scotland in the 1590s and his maps were finally published in the 1650s.

In the exhibition are a number of county maps from the 18th century. These include the large scale map of Wigtownshire produced in 1782 by John Ainslie, one of the most experienced mapmakers of the time. It shows surprising details such as the names of local landowners and the location of the lead mines – then working – near New Luce.

Also on display are some early plans of Wigtown and Stranraer. The Stranraer map, surveyed in 1844, shows some of the town’s lost roads such as Little Dublin Street and Little Ireland. Of particular interest is the 1851 Admiralty navigational chart for Portpatrick which marks the position of the paddle-steamer ‘Orion’ which had sunk just off the coast the previous year. There is also a wonderful plan from 1845 showing the proposed route of a coastal railway from Ballantrae to Stranraer - the route was surveyed but the line of course was never built

The exhibition includes a large number of Ordnance Survey maps of Galloway. The First Edition six inches to one mile maps produced by the Ordnance Survey in the 1840s are probably the most beautiful and informative maps ever made in Scotland and the exhibition includes examples covering the Port William and Wigtown areas. Also on display is a selection of printed maps from local books and brochures.

The maps in the exhibition come from the Stranraer, Stewartry and Dumfries museums and from the collections of the Ewart Library.

The exhibition runs until 31 December and admission is free.