Secret Soviet maps of Britain and the World

Lecture details

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Abstract map art


Secret Soviet maps of Britain and the World

  21 November 2019   

   ​​​​1 – 2pm   

   Admission free

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Please note, there is a £1 booking fee added to each booking.

Secret Soviet maps of Britain and the World

From Stalin in the 1930s to Gorbachev in the 1990s, Soviet presidents were responsible for a cartographic project of staggering scope and ambition – the detailed mapping of the entire world. Not only strategically vital ports and industrial centres, but cities, small towns and rural areas alike, were plotted and recorded in a consistent, comprehensive format on topographic maps and large-scale plans. Britain’s coasts, estuaries, conurbations, transport links and military sites – as well as villages, moors and mountains – were all documented on colourful, accurate and detailed maps, which came to light after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Alexander Kent and John Davies have spent over ten years chasing down and analysing these amazing artefacts to try to discover what imperative prompted such a gigantic enterprise and how the compilers and cartographers were able to collect such a wealth of information. Their research was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017 in ‘The Red Atlas: How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World’. In this talk they will focus on the maps of the British Isles in the context of the global project.


Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


Free admission

Please note, there is a £1 booking fee added to each booking.


Dr Alexander Kent: John Davies

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