publicising trig points and trigpointing

General discussion about trigpoints, the TrigpointingUK website etc

publicising trig points and trigpointing

Postby simon.ritchie » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:42 pm

As I said in another posting, we need to start persuading local communities to start looking after their trig points before they all gradually vanish.

The annual Heritage Open Days happen over a week or more in September. There will be events near you and the 2020 schedule of talks is being worked out now by your local committee. I've just offered mine a talk entitled "Ordnance Survey trig Points - Industrial Archaeology Hiding in Plain Sight". I'm also giving a cut-down version as a short talk to my local history society.

If you are competent public speaker, I urge you to do something similar. Your local committee will be organised through your local council and you can find out about it through this organisation:

My proposal is below. Feel free to steal and rework it suitably for your locality. Once I've prepared the talk I will publish that and you can use it as a guide if you wish.

In my proposal I talk about Bookham, a large village a few miles from where I live, As I mention, it had three trig points, all surface blocks. All these are currently lost, possibly dug up and thrown away but more likely just buried,. I would like to persuade the Parish Council to find them and give them some TLC.

Most people who go out hiking know about trig pillars, not so many know about other markers such as surface blocks, bolts, benchmarks etc. I think that benchmarks are particularly interesting because every high street has one and they are easily missed. For those who don't know, the list is here: I will also mention the problems of accessing markers that are on private property. Around here we have a trig pillar in somebody's garden, a bolt on the wall of a large private house, all the usual problems.

Here is my proposed talk:

The Ordnance Survey have been mapping the UK for over 200 years. Until recently they used simple mathematics, theodolites and a national network of benchmarks and trig points to achieve one metre accuracy, a triumph of engineering in its day.

That technology has now been replaced by more accurate satellite navigation and the physical markers are redundant.

The best known position markers are the trig pillars, a common sight when walking in the country. These are fairly robust but they are decaying slowly. Other markers such as bolts and surface blocks are more easily damaged. Bookham was served by three surface blocks, all now vanished, possibly just buried a few centimetres below the ground, or maybe dug up and destroyed.

Easier to miss are the benchmarks, small marks on buildings giving the height above sea level. Every town has them and you probably walk past some every day.

These markers are part of our engineering heritage but nobody is now responsible for maintaining them, and they are disappearing one by one.

{I followed that with a paragraph about me and my qualifications for giving the talk. Being a trigpointer sounds enough to me!}
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Re: publicising trig points and trigpointing

Postby MAC.HAWK » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:25 pm

I think it would be important to briefly explain why there was a need for the triangulation of the country from the late 18th century onwards and why the retriangulation took place from 1935 to the early 1960's.

I'd expect you'd find general favour in saving pillars and maybe FBM's but not sure about bolts, surface blocks, rivets etc
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Re: publicising trig points and trigpointing

Postby simon.ritchie » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:52 pm

I was going to give my talk on trig points to my local history society, but that meeting was cancelled, as are all public meetings right now. I run a meetup group and we are setting up a series of online lectures using Zoom. I'm giving my talk as the first one this Monday 4th May at 7:30pm. The announcement is here: ... 270321474/

The announcement says that you need to join the meetup to see the talk. Unless you live in Surrey and are interested in local history, you probably don't want to do that. You only need to join to get the conference link and the password.

The conference link is ... RLVVlUQT09

Password is Lockdown1

I will also be publishing the slides and notes. As I said in my first posting, you are welcome to use these as basis for a talk of your own.
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Re: publicising trig points and trigpointing

Postby agentmancuso » Fri May 01, 2020 10:49 am

Thanks Simon.
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