HISTORY OF davenport maps

Davenport Maps Ltd. has existed in one form or another since 1912 when its founder Joseph Davenport, an experienced draftsman from Leeds, England, arrived in Victoria. His purchase of the Electric Blueprinting and Draughting Company for $1,000 in the same year was the beginning of his extensive mapping career that would last for 42 years until his sudden death in 1954. His silent partner was Bateman Hutchison a BC Land Surveyor. Together they created an atlas of Greater Victoria detailing full legal descriptions of all the properties. Similar accurate maps would eventually be produced for the east coast of Vancouver Island. The maps were originally drawn on starched Irish linen using pen and ink. They are still produced but are now updated electronically and are available on an interactive CD. The old linens are kept as reminder of Joseph Davenport’s tireless efforts.

Mr. Davenport also recognized the need for accurate street maps of the area. His first commission was the production of a new Victoria Map for T.N. Hibben Stationers. It was the first of many street maps of the main communities of Vancouver Island. These maps have changed substantially and although now in digital form they still contain some of Joseph Davenport’s trademarks: golfers in plus fours, ships chugging out of the Victoria Harbour, seagulls flying across the map and moose like creatures prancing about Beacon Hill Park in Downtown Victoria.

The maps have changed hands since then, to Island Blue Print Co. Ltd. to Custom Drafting Ltd. to their present home at Davenport Maps Ltd. Davenport Maps was officially incorporated in 1993, a fitting home for all of Joseph Davenport’s hard work. Davenport Maps Ltd. now produces a wide variety of street and tourist oriented maps totaling over 50 titles that are retailed throughout Western Canada. Please see our products section. The company is also very active in contractual custom mapping work with all levels of government as well as with private businesses.

Mr. Davenport’s original destination was not Victoria however. He arrived in British Columbia to try his luck at gold mining in the interior of the province. The story goes that he carried with him a letter of recommendation that he was to present to an outfitter in Prince George from a common friend in Leeds. Perhaps his curiosity got the better of him or the envelope became unsealed but he did discover the contents of the letter while enroute. The letters contents suggested that the outfitter “take this man for all he’s got!”

There once was a draftsman from Leeds
who drew maps from both legals and deeds
I’ll survey this land
And ink it by hand
Then off to the pub for some mead