A blue plaque has been installed in St Albans commemorating the life of 18th-century cartographer and engraver Thomas Kitchin.

The plaque was installed at Kitchin's former home in Fishpool Street, which is now the home of St Albans School headmaster Jonathan Gillespie.

This is the 12th blue plaque to be installed by Blue Plaques St Albans (BPSA), a voluntary organisation to commemorate famous people connected to the city.

Herts Advertiser: The blue plaque for Thomas KitchinThe blue plaque for Thomas Kitchin (Image: BPSA)

After the installation, a reception was held at St Albans School, which was attended by Mayor Cllr Anthony Rowlands.

BPSA chairman Professor Tim Boatswain said: "Thomas Kitchin is perhaps little known but was, in fact, a prolific and exceptionally talented engraver, who produced hundreds of maps during his 18th century lifetime.

"Last year, hosted by St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society, Laurence Worms, an expert on Kitchin, gave a fascinating talk on the engraver and map-maker’s career.

"Blue Plaques St Albans are very grateful both to him and all those who subscribed to his talk as his and their fees paid for the blue plaque.

"I also wish to thank St Albans School and the headmaster, Jonathan Gillespie, for not only giving permission for the plaque to be installed but also for the splendid reception that awaited the attendees of the installation."

Herts Advertiser: William Guthrie's New Geographical Grammar, 1777William Guthrie's New Geographical Grammar, 1777 (Image: BPSA)

Thomas Kitchin is believed to have been born in Southwark on December 1, 1717.

He was apprenticed to the map engraver Emanuel Bowen in 1732, and seven years later married his master's daughter Sarah.

From 1746 he took on his own apprentices, and his early productions include John Elphinstone's 1746 map of Scotland, the first pocket atlas of Scotland (1748-49), and the Small English Atlas (1749) which he co-published with Thomas Jefferys, another of Bowen's apprentices.


He also produced The Large English Atlas between 1746 and 1760, which was the first real attempt to cover the whole country on a large scale.

In 1755 he engraved the great John Mitchell map of America, which was used at the peace treaties of Paris and Versaille.

Kitchin eventually retired to live at Fishpool Street, and died on June 23, 1784. He was buried at St Albans Abbey.