As some of you will know, the Goad plans were insurance plans of cities in Britain and elsewhere by Chas. E. Goad. If one searches the COPAC union catalogue of British academic and research libraries (http://www.copac.ac.uk) under ‘maps’, over 6,000 such plans and sets of plans come up. Over a thousand of these are for the period 1880s to 1920.

In the period after 1900, buildings used as cinemas or classed as cinemas are sometimes indicated on these plans, as such buildings were of course known fire hazards. Probably film stores would have been charted too. I have long thought, even before these plans were so well catalogued online on COPAC, that an interesting project for someone would be to use these plans to locate such film-related buildings.

Many of the Goad plans cover Canadian towns and cities, and I believe that, as the originals were lost in a fire in a store in Canada some years ago, these British copies (mainly held in the British Library) are the only surviving examples. Where else would one find an insurance map of Moose Jaw in 1909? British and Canadian early film scholars please note.

One response

  1. I think I’m not alone in never having heard of Chas E. Goad. It’s long been hinted at that there would be gems for the early cinema researcher in insurance (particularly fire insurance) records, but no one that I know of has gone down that route. It just goes to show what riches lie for the person keen to research early cinema history (or any other period) if they look beyond the common sources which libraries and archives label as film. COPAC itself is an important research tool – as you say, it’s a union catalogue of British acaemic and research libraries, searchable by author, title and keyword. Another such catalogue is M25 – a consortium of academic libraries in London and the South East – http://www.m25lib.ac.uk/. There’s no excuse these days for not knowing or not be able to find things.


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