Bishop's Stortford history buffs restore 1890s brewery map
A large map showing Bishop's Stortford more than a century ago has been lovingly restored by local history buffs.
The 1890s map, printed on linen and about 6ft by 7ft (183cm x 213cm), once hung on the area manager's office wall at the former brewery which is now the site of Waitrose supermarket and buildings occupied by the Charis Centre.
The complex was built by Hawkes Brewery, once the town's largest employer, in around 1780.
In August 1898 it was the subject of a takeover by Benskins Brewery and in 1916 the site was sold again to Ind Coope. It was used as a distribution depot until 1987 and stood vacant until 1994, when it was bought and developed by Waitrose.
Lifelong Stortford resident Mick Noad, 62, owns the map, which was produced by Stanfords, the famous London cartographers, and shows the locations of former tied pubs in the Bishop's Stortford area.
His father Tom, who died in 1998, was a sub-contractor employed by Ind Coope and responsible for the refurbishment of tied pubs and routine maintenance. He was offered the artefact when the site was cleared in 1987.
Carpenter Mick, a married father of three, is a regular at the town's Castle pub and a number of his drinking pals have helped him to restore it. Together they have lived in the town for a total of more than 160 years.
Amateur historian Adrian Andrews, a 50-year-old father of two who lives in Apton Road with his wife Gunta, is one of them.
He said: "The existence of this map was raised in the pub, so I suggested that I photograph it and post it on the Memories of Bishop's Stortford Facebook page, of which several of the pub clientele are members.
"Due to the size of the map, my attempts to photograph it with a view to sharing were very amateurish and did not do justice to the quality of the map."
Colin Stockley, a semi-retired print broker and fellow Castle regular, stepped in to help.
Adrian said: "Over a period of several months, involving some 40-plus hours of painstaking work, the panels of the original map were scanned and digitally restored to produce a high-resolution version of the map that represents how it would have appeared at the point of purchase.
"The greatest challenge that presented itself during the restoration process was how to tackle the folds in the linen between adjacent panels without a loss to the quality of the image. The map detail within these folds had been lost, but these losses had to be carefully addressed as a part of the work."
Prints of the map are available to buy in a range of sizes from firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian said: "I understand that it is one of two large-scale maps that Stanfords produced of Bishop's Stortford and the surrounding areas: this one and an earlier version from the 1870s – the museum has a copy of that one."
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