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Old 14-06-2021, 01:51   #1
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Classic UK Sailing Guide Book?

Hey folks,

Is there any old sailing/travelling guide books from around the 18th or 19th Centuries, that detailed routes and places to visit around the UK?

I'm wondering if there was a definitive one - a sort of sailing version to Bradshaw's Railway Guide.

Many thanks,
Paddy.
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Old 14-06-2021, 03:24   #2
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Re: Classic UK Sailing Guide Book?

John Seller (1630-1679) had the Royal Warrant from Charles Rex 2 for charts and guides. After Seller's demise, others continued and plagiarised his The English Pilot (TEP).

Seller started in the style usual to Englander business entrepreneurs: in 1663 he was wandering through the Netherlands and got a tip that someone had copied (or counterfeited) the printing plates made by an engraver engaged by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) of WJB's sea atlas. The counterfeiter had developed poor circulation in his feet, realising that his efforts would not go unpunished should he add ink and paper, so the printing plates fell into Seller's hands for a song. Since the cost of printing charts was all about the engraved copper plates, Seller needed to expend little capital for his venture. He paid an engraver in England to make some corrections, add a few more details to bring the charts up to date, and make a few lines clearer and off he went.

Marshall Rare Books has a copy of The English Pilot for the Southern Navigation, listed for GBP 6K but of course negotiable. See: https://www.marshallrarebooks.com/al...rn-navigation/

You've missed out on a very fine copy of TEP Vol. 5 (W coast of Africa) by a couple of years. See: https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6210293

In around 1800 the government of perfidious Albion got tired of the many versions of Seller's TEP and the claim that Charles Rex 2's warrant for Seller (as Hydrographer to the King) continued into the never-never. So the government of Albion perfide created the UK Hydrographic Office and its "Admiralty" brand of charts, sailing directions, and (in 1828) pilots (after granting itself a monopoly, of course).
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Old 14-06-2021, 05:38   #3
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Re: Classic UK Sailing Guide Book?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Paddy.
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Old 27-06-2021, 01:55   #4
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Re: Classic UK Sailing Guide Book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
John Seller (1630-1679) had the Royal Warrant from Charles Rex 2 for charts and guides. After Seller's demise, others continued and plagiarised his The English Pilot (TEP).
You do learn some fascinating stuff on CF
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Old 27-06-2021, 02:40   #5
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Re: Classic UK Sailing Guide Book?

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
You do learn some fascinating stuff on CF
I researched and wrote up my research on John Seller decades ago. What I wrote above was from memory.

You might want to compare my work, above at #2, with that of Lawrence Worms.

Worms did his research and presented it at Emmanuel 11 years ago.

Worms had sources additional to mine and based his view of Seller on what Pepys (Samuel Pepys, pronounced 'Peeps') wrote on a person whom Pepys wrote about but did not name (and whom Worms identified as Seller).

See Worms's weblog entry on Seller and Pepys at: https://laurenceworms.wordpress.com/...don-map-trade/

Worms has it that the Blau plates he obtained in Amsterdam were worn out plates, discarded by the printer. The story I had from my research was that a third party had copied the Blau plates; Seller then added some text in English (but kept others in the original) and added some chart detail. Once Seller had his toehold on the market in England, he quickly gained resources to make his own plates and surveys.

In hindsight, I think one of the most interesting lessons to draw is about patterns in cartography. In the sense that in the 16th - 17th centuries, as European economies focused on navigation, many of those economies went through cycles of:
(1) borrowing/plagiarising the charts of others;
(2) learning to produce superior charts, giving them a competitive advantage; and sometimes
(3) becoming complacent, making poor copies of their own charts (losing detail, making errors when copying); before
(4) returning to excellence; or
(5) reducing their fleets and dependence on maritime trade using their own hulls.
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