Anyway it’s called ‘History of English Places’ and comes from the brilliant Victoria County Histories (VCH) people. The app is free to use in the format and with the functionality I’m showing here. (You can get a lot more detail on each place for a subscription of £1.99 a month or £9.99 a year. Personally I wouldn’t bother but I already have copies of VCH local history books, and they are free to download anyway.)
You can get the app on Play Store and the App Store.
What does it offer? It immediately opens in your current location (if location services are enabled of course!) and shows an old map of your location. There’s a slider on the right that lets you transition to a hybrid old map/ modern satellite image and, if you keep going, to full satellite. It also gives a brief summary of the history of the nearest location.
You can also search for any area to get the same info there. Worth a download! Full description is provided below the photos too!
Here’s the view you open with (remember they get bigger if you click on the images) 50:50 old map and satellite Modern satellite image of the area Additional brief history
The History of English Places is a map-based smartphone app for discovering the rich history of places in England. Information is drawn from the Topographical Dictionary of England (Lewis, 1848) and the place-by-place histories of the Victoria County History (VCH), published between 1901 and the present day. You can navigate the map and its location pins to explore the short nineteenth-century descriptions of England’s villages, towns and cities, as well as the more recent detailed histories produced by the Victoria County History. The app can also recognise your location, to show the histories of places near you.
For the first time, you can explore the rich, detailed histories produced by the VCH in their geographical context, and discover the past of places around you when you’re out and about. Whether you’re interested in family history, house history, local history, or learning more about historic places as a visitor, the English Places app can help and inform.
The descriptions of places are presented according to historic place-names, or the names of parishes (the historic English settlement / administrative unit, organised around a local parish church). The map uses a version of the first-edition 6 inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map as a base. You can navigate the map, or alternatively complete a simple text search, or filter the list of 13,713 entries by county, by size of place, or by whether there is a VCH history available. The app can track your location to present the 10 nearest entries. You can bookmark your favourite places and filter the main list to produce your own list of bookmarked entries.
Every place in England has an entry in the app, with detailed VCH accounts for many places. The VCH is an ongoing, growing project, with histories written over the last 120 years, and more in progress. Both the Topographical Dictionary of England and more than 175 volumes of the VCH are available on the English Places app thanks to their digitisation for British History Online – a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland. Links to the BHO website can be found within the map.