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Brecon and district
Victorian maps
 
  Brecon in 1832 (and 1872!)  
 

Tthe map on this page lets us see Brecon and its surroundings at two different years on the same map!
It is a small part of a larger map made by the surveyors of the Ordnance Survey in 1832 and was on sale in bookshops and stationers. When the railways opened in the 1860s the Ordnance Survey simply added the lines to the earlier map.

  The way the map is shaded gives us a very good idea of the shape of the landscape. From this you can see that the town grew up at a meeting of routes where the River Honddu flows into the Usk at a bridging point. The castle was originally built to defend the town and control these routes.  
  The map shows us the importance of the river valleys as routeways in this mountainous area. The canal, the road and the railway each come into the town along the Usk valley. Even the road to the north-east leaves the town along the gorge of the Honddu at first.
Notice that the roads into the town were all turnpike roads and had toll gates (marked T.P) where travellers with animals had to stop and pay a fee.
 
  The map shows evidence of small scale industrial activity. To the north of the town you can see the forge where iron was smelted. This had fallen into disuse by the Victorian period.
On the canal side in the bottom right-hand corner you can see the lime kilns where limestone was heated to make powdered lime to spread on the fields.
 
  Compare with a map of Brecon in 1886...  
 

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