Geography

The desolate beauty of the Thames Estuary

1 June 2019 9:00 am

We ought to cherish the haunted landscape of the Thames Estuary while we can. The grey hulks of old power…

How Polynesia came to be inhabited is still one of the world’s great mysteries

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Later this month, a boat builder from Lake Titicaca in Bolivia will fly to the Russian city of Sochi to…

The North Pole, from the star atlas of the French Jesuit priest and scientist, Ignace-Gaston Pardies, published in 1674

The unearthly powers of the North Pole

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Having spent too much of my life at both poles (writing, not sledge-pulling), I know the spells those places cast.…

Church Walk: short, simple, unpretentious

British street names: short, simple and unpretentious

11 August 2018 9:00 am

You know where you are with a British street name. I don’t mean literally. I mean there’s a tacit humility…

‘The Continuation of the Road from London to Aberystwyth’, from John Ogilby’s Britannia

The first British road atlas — a luxury fit for a king

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Given that he wrote and published some of the most stunningly handsome books of the 17th century, John Ogilby has…

‘The Griffin’ by Martin Schongauer (15th-century engraving)

The map-maker’s task may never be done

26 November 2016 9:00 am

The map-maker’s task may never be done, says Alex Burghart. Seven new islands have appeared in the past decade alone

Farringdon Road at the Holborn Viaduct, 1900

The hidden rivers that shape London's streets

17 September 2016 9:00 am

I found my first of London’s many lost rivers when I walked across Holborn Viaduct, looked down at the sweep…

Robinson Crusoe — with more company than Alexander Selkirk enjoyed

The story behind the story of Robinson Crusoe

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Some years ago, when I stepped from an unstable boat onto Juan Fernández island, a friendly man took my bag…

Humboldt talks to one of the indigenous people in Turbaco (today’s Columbia) en route to Bogotá.

Alexander Humboldt: a great explorer rediscovered

6 February 2016 9:00 am

The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was once the most famous man in Europe bar Napoleon. And if you judge…

The Maldives: sun, sand and fanaticism

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Suddenly, the Maldivians are in the news. Earlier this year, they locked up their first democratically elected president, and just…

What are 16-year-olds supposed to learn by making posters?

25 October 2014 9:00 am

My niece, Lara, 15, has a mind like a surgical blade. On any subject, from calculus to The X Factor,…

Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries

25 October 2014 9:00 am

If you want real local identity to thrive in England, put the old county boundaries back on the map

English tea-chests are thrown into Boston harbour, 16 December 1773

A Labour MP defends the Empire – and only quotes Lenin twice

14 June 2014 8:00 am

In a grand history of the British empire — because that is what this book really is —  you might…

The Natures of Maps

28 January 2009 12:00 am

The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of the Natural World, by Denis Wood and John Fels