S. D. U. K.

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

A series of engraved maps and town plans published circa 1830 to circa 1850. Each map measures about 15 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches. Some have original outline hand colouring and others are uncoloured.

SDUK is short for Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowlege. The idea for the Society was conceived by Henry Brougham the son of Henry and Eleanor Brougham, landowners in Westmorland. He was born in Edinburgh in 1778 and became a student at Edinburgh University at the age of 14. He worked as a lawyer in Edinburgh and later went into politics becoming a member of the House of Commons in 1810. In the 1820’s he was actively involved in educational reform and hence the SDUK with the object of publishing information for people belonging to the working class and middle classs who were unable to get formal education or prefered the idea of self education. One of their most widely read publications was the Penny Magazine. Maps were just another part of their publishing. The map committee was founded in 1828 with the first two maps published in 1829 under the title A Series of Maps, Modern and Ancient. The aim of the Society was to reach as many people as possible. This meant keeping cost of production down with the idea of a low selling price. You would not guess this today as each of their maps is a handsome work of art. Accurate in their detail, finely engraved and printed on a good quality paper. Over a period of 14 years the series expanded to 209 plates with over 3 millions maps being sold. Up until 1842 the design and engraving was under the direct control of the SDUK using the publishers Balwin and Craddock until their insolvency. From 1842 to 1844 the maps were published by Chapman and Hall, Charles Knight from 1844 to the completion of the series in 1846. Knight continued the publishing until 1852 when the plates were sold to George Cox and then Edward Stanford in 1856. The plates were later acquired by Thomas Letts in 1877 and then finally by Mason & Payne in 1885.

Henry Brougham went on to have an interesting but not lifelong career in politics. He was raised to the peerage in 1830 as Baron Brougham of Brougham in the County of Westmorland. He was Lord Chancellor for four years and was responsible for the passings of the Reform Act of 1832 and Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 but after this he never held office again although he continued to contribute to the debates in the House of Lords. He died in 1868



Pepper Street

01244 336004

44 1244 336004

Richard Nicholson

I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I had a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.

James Pepper
Nicholson Seal
All the maps are guaranteed to be genuine early specimens

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the maps old or are they just copies of old maps?
The maps are all genuine early specimens published in or around the year stated. A guarantee label is provided with each map.
How quickly are order sent off?
Orders are dealt quickly. Orders received in the morning are usually sent off the same day as I receive them. Failing this it is usually the next day.
Is map number --- available?
The web site is updated daily and sold items are removed so it is most likely that the map is available. You can always email me to check availability
What currency are your prices in?
All the prices on my web sites are in English pounds or pounds sterling.
What is the best way to pay?
There is a Shopping Cart for most of the maps to pay by PayPal. The best way is to email me to check a map is available then pay the total amount to my bank account and advise me you have done so. Telephone orders using your Mastercard or Visa Card are also welcome. Overseas customers may find the PayPal Cart the easiest way to by. The reason I prefer the bank payment method is simply because the charges to me are far less than the other methods.
Can I call and see the maps?
I am sorry, no. I had a map and print shop in the centre of Chester for 30 years. Since closing the shop the business is postal only except for the few maps that are available only for collection from Christleton.
How many copies do you have of each map?
I only have one specimen of each map offered. If I had a second similar specimen it would be offered separately under a different reference number.
History of S.D.U.K. Maps - Richard Nicholson

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