Collins Bartholomew Heritage

Collins Bartholomew has been in the business of map production for over 175 years and has a worldwide reputation for providing a high quality custom and digital mapping service to a variety of markets, as well as delivering an extensive list of published products for its own parent, HarperCollins Publishers. Whether you require mapping for use in publishing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), on the Internet or for inclusion in your own products, Collins Bartholomew has the skills and commercial flexibility to suit your business needs.

Collins Bartholomew Ltd was born out of the merger, through the 1980s and early 1990s of several world names in the field of cartography under the HarperCollins umbrella; most notably William Collins Sons and Co., Bartholomew, Times Books, Geographia and Robert Nicholson. This brought together a wealth of cartographic knowledge and information. From this has emerged Collins Bartholomew, one of the world’s foremost and trusted producers of cartographic digital data and geographical information.

The most important of these companies is Bartholomew, which was founded in Edinburgh by John Bartholomew in 1826. Bartholomew is, without doubt, the most famous and respected commercial mapping company within the UK. Over the years its most popular products have been the historic ‘half-inch’ map series covering the whole of Britain and the prestigious Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, still the largest and most authoritative world atlas on the market. In 1980 Bartholomew was sold to Readers Digest and was then sold on to News International in 1985.

Geographia was a London based map publisher founded by Alexander Gross in the early 1900s. Gross, a truculent Hungarian immigrant, was the father of Phyllis Pearsal who went on to found the Geographers A-Z Map Company. Publishing out of offices in Fleet Street, Geographia produced street maps and atlases of all the major UK towns and cities. Their most successful product was the Greater London Street Atlas, a derivative of which is still available as the Collins Greater London Street Atlas. In 1985 Geographia, then owned by Century Hutchinson, was sold to Bartholomew, which was by then already a part of News International.

Robert Nicholson is famous for his design of the unconventional, but extremely popular, London Streetfinders which have been a firm favourite with London cabbies since the early 1970s. Nicholson Maps became part of Geographia when it was owned by Hutchinson in the late 1970s, and was subsequently sold, along with Geographia, to Bartholomew, in 1985.

In 1991 Bartholomew, Geographia and Nicholson were amalgamated with Collins under the group name of HarperCollins and the present large cartographic publishing operation was created.