Monday, August 27, 2012

Herb Lester's City Maps


Herb Lester Associates have been producing quirky and interesting maps of major cities, beginning with London, for a while now. My recent visit to the British Library was the first time I'd seen one in the flesh so I bought it from the shop there. This is "Writing London". As my ever vigilant friend pointed out about these maps, they're not the kind of thing that you could actually take with you to find somewhere unless you had Google maps on your phone at the same time. But I did enjoy the 68 snippets of literary gossip and direction that the map gives, safe in the knowledge that I was never going to track down any of these places, but that I could if I wanted to now.

It was also from this map that I learnt that it was Mervyn Peake who designed the logo for Pan Paperbacks. He was, apparently, offered either a flat fee of £10 of a farthing per book. His friend the author Graham Greene convinced him that paperbacks were but a passing phase and that he should take the £10 and run!

I would like to see more of the Herb Lester maps (although guides might be a more appropriate term). I think I may buy the East London map "E" next: the design work on it looks like a 1960s Pelican paperback cover design.

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