London Map Fair to be Held June 15-16

- by Michael Stillman

From last year's London Map Fair.

The annual London Map Fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16. The London Map Fairs date back 30 years. Since 2008, they have been held at their current location – the Royal Geographical Society in South Kensington.


There will be around 40 exhibitors. Most come from the U.K, but there will be participants from Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and four from the U.S.A. The organizers describe it as “the world's oldest and largest specialist antique fair,” attracting visitors from around the world. Some of the maps offered go back as far as the 15th century. There will be maps priced for the most well-established collectors as well as beginners with a starter's budget. Admission is free.


This year's lecture will be given by the Royal Geographical Society's Cartographic Collections Manager, Dr. Katherine Parker. Her topic will be “Blaeu, Hondius and Ricci: the wall maps of the Royal Geographical Society.” Additionally, author and map expert Ashley Baynton-Williams will be giving talks throughout the weekend on map collecting for beginners. If you love maps but don't know where to begin, this is your chance to start the journey.


A really special item offered at the fair comes from dealer Daniel Crouch. It is the sextant of explorer George Vancouver. A sextant is an instrument used for navigation, which was really useful in the days before GPS location, for example, the 18th century. That's when Vancouver took to the seas. He traveled with Cook on his second and third voyages, and later headed his own explorations. His name will be familiar to North Americans, especially those along the west coast. He explored the Pacific coast of the continent, his memory preserved by the cities of Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada, and Vancouver, Washington State, in the U.S.


Hours for the fair are Saturday, June 15, 12:00 noon – 7:00 p.m., Sunday, June 16, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. The Royal Geographical Society is located at 1 Kensington Gore, London. If you don't know how to get there, you know what to do... ask the directions app on your phone. This is the 21st century!


You can learn much more about the London Map Fair by visiting their website,