Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Collection Highlights: Russian Map of the Pontefract Area

Wakefield Museums hold over 120,000 historic objects that have been acquired on behalf of those who live, work in or visit the Wakefield district.

Many of the objects are on display at our museum venues, but we can't display everything at once! This series of blog posts wil highlight some of the collections, both on display and off, by showing a photograph and some information about the object.
We'd love to know your thoughts about the objects featured in this series so if you have a memory linked to an object or if you can add some more background information about them please do leave a comment for us.
Russian Map of the Pontefract Area

This is an Ordnance Survey map of the Pontefract and Castleford area translated into Russian and a stark reminder of the Cold War. Not only did the Soviet forces (as we did) plan for the possibility of “M.A.D,” (Mutually Assured Destruction) using nuclear missiles but also translated our maps for some more conventional form of warfare.
If you follow the rivers from left to right you can see Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley. The recognisable pattern of the Ferrybridge power station cooling towers must have been considered a useful minor target as would have been the tank factory on the edge of Leeds.
As this map was reprinted by the Soviets in 1982, it shows that all this was not so long ago. It is ironic that the idea of mapping the country in 1791 by the Ordnance Survey (i.e. the army) was all done so that we could defend ourselves, village by village, two years after the French Revolution in 1789. The mapping started in earnest in 1815 after Waterloo.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love your comments - though they may take a day or two to appear.