AN ANONYMOUS collector has snapped up a 300-year-old road atlas that was donated to a North East charity shop.
The antiquarian book lover visited Oxfam’s Hood Street store in Newcastle on Saturday and bought the Britannia Depicta tome for £2,000.
Manager Morgan Williams, 27, from Hexham, said he was delighted to see the book stay in the region. “I’m very pleased to have sold it to a local person,” he said.
“We’d had quite a few calls about it since it appeared in The Journal on Friday, but this woman rang up on Saturday morning, asked if we still had it, then came down to the shop and bought it.
“The money will mean so much to the work of Oxfam.
“£2,000 is enough to supply a school with safe drinking water or it’s also enough to feed a community after an emergency – both of which are incredibly important things.” Mr Williams said the atlas was by far the oldest and most valuable item to have been donated to the shop.
“The book is beautiful and incredibly well done,” he said. “And this copy is also incredibly well preserved.
“I believe the donor was a friend of a volunteer at the shop, a book collector having a clear out.
“He was well aware this book was worth something and, in a way, that makes it an even more special donation.”
The book’s full title is: “Britannia Depicta” or “Ogilby Impov’d Being a Correct Copy of Mr Ogilby’s Actual Survey of all ye Direct & Principal Cross Roads in England and Wales: Wherein are exactly Delineated & Engraven, All ye Cities, Towns, Villages, Churches, Seats & scituate on or near the Roads with their respective Distances in Measured and Computed Miles” and was published in 1720.
Between its brown leather covers, inlaid with gold leaf, it contains 273 unusual vertical maps of roads, with landmarks of the time drawn in alongside.
The map featuring “New Castle” begins at “Chester in the Street” in the south and runs north, with the map alongside it starting at the village of Gosforth and running north to Morpeth.