When cartographer Margaret Ormonde found herself becoming a stranger
in her home town, she set about producing maps that would incorporate
all of the recent major changes on Reading’s landscape. Becki
Dixon finds out how she and husband Clive turned a simple
idea into a successful enterprise.
From a picturesque cottage in Emmer
Green, Margaret and Clive Ormonde have set up a thriving cottage
industry producing stunning images of Reading that have never been
As well as a whole array of postcards, the husband and wife team have also produced
a number of handy pocket-size maps of Reading and the surrounding area.
The maps are bright and colourful, informative and full of walking trails and
cycle paths. Their compact size enables them to be slipped into a back pocket.
Around four years ago Margaret, a cartographic editor by trade, felt she was
losing touch with all the changes taking place in Reading.
The development of the Oracle, the re-opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal and
the changes along the River Thames had all contributed to the changing face of
the Reading Margaret knew and loved.
So in a bid to preserve the memories of later years and celebrate the regeneration
of the town, Margaret set out to record the changes.
Margaret explains: “So I bought myself a computer, taught myself to use
it and started to produce leaflets.”
“This culminated in the publication
in early 1999 of the first map —The River Thames at Reading.”
map follows the Thames through Reading from The Warren, Caversham, to Heron
lsland and Kings Meadow, incorporating the town centre, Thames
path national trail,
nature trails and cycle lanes and routes.
The map also charts the history of the Thames and the environment, provides
information on recreational activities and suggests places to eat and drink.
There is also
an extensive directory of services.
Whether you are new or old to Reading, the map is bursting with all the information
However, the first map was only the start, as Margaret explains: “I had
always planned a series of three, including the latest -The River Kennet
“I felt the maps coincided with a time when the town’s waterways
were being opened up to make a feature of the area.”
“Reading has seen some
dramatic changes over the past few years, and at least now they have been recorded.”
thought local people might appreciate a record of what we have, while visitors
would be given important local information. They are very detailed and the text
is extensively researched and presented in a way that makes for easy reading.”
of the maps include colourful photographs of the area taken by her husband
Clive, a keen amateur photographer.
Clive may consider himself amateur, but his photographs are of
professional quality. It was the quality and beauty of the
photos that resulted in Margaret
to produce postcards.
Clive adds: “The photography just started as a hobby, a way of getting
out and enjoying the countryside”.
“It seemed a shame to
allow the collection to build and build, with the majority of
the pictures never seeing the light
of day. So we thought we’d produce the postcards.”.
Margaret and Clive’s
business has now expanded to producing greeting cards as well. Margaret is also
currently working on a book of Emrner Green, due out in November.
and maps are available in Blackwells, the Tourist Information Centre,
Waterstones and various outlets along the River Thames.