The British Atlas of Historic Towns project was established in 1963 as part of a pan-European project to produce atlases of consistent scale and content for the easy comparison of the growth and development of European cities. The aim is to enhance appreciation and understanding of the history and character of European towns by providing information and facilitating comparative study. The principles behind the atlases are to provide maps and text in a way which fills a gap both in knowledge and in tools for urban studies.
The purpose of the mapping is to provide maps which allow for a visual understanding of each town at critical stages in its development and to provide a summary map which shows the town at the period just before industrialisation began to alter the urban form forever.
The purpose of the text is to provide a well-researched but readable summary of the history of the town, incorporating the latest scholarship. The text is designed to be read by the non-specialist but is supported with full references.