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Reading Chronicle
19th July 2001

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 seen before.

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.”

The 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 you need.

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 Through Reading".

“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.”

“I 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.”

All 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 deciding 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.

The postcards and maps are available in Blackwells, the Tourist Information Centre, Waterstones and various outlets along the River Thames.