image for Lecture item typeGreat escapes: the story of MI9’s secret maps at National Archives

Lecture, Thu 30 Aug 2018, free entry


The National Archives

020 8876 3444


Ruskin Avenue,
Richmond, Surrey,


How did a prisoner of war make their escape through Occupied territory?

In 1939, MI9, a newly-established intelligence branch of the War Office, was charged with organising the escape and evasion of British military personnel. Maps were identified as the basic need for any successful escaper and so began a huge map production programme, mostly printed on silk or rayon.

Dr Barbara Bond will draw on The National Archives’ collection of WWII escape and evasion maps previously held by the Ministry of Defence, revealing the methods used to get maps to prisoners, the human stories behind these maps and the significance of this collection on historical military mapping.

Barbara Bond spent her career as a cartographic researcher in the Ministry of Defence. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, past-President of the British Cartographic Society and was inducted into the United States National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s Hall of Fame in 2017. She is a long time user of The National Archives records and a Friend of The National Archives, and author of Great Escapes (2015).

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Event details

Dates Times
Thu 30 Aug 2018 18:30 to 20:30


Free entry



See location of National Archives on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: TQ 152728  Lat: 51.44326 Long: -0.34244

Car : The National Archives is half a mile south of Kew Bridge, on the South Circular Road, A 205. Junction 2 of the M4 motorway is about one and a half miles away. There are 116 spaces in our car park which are free (on a first-come, first-served basis) to researchers using The National Archives. The car park is open from 08:30 to 19:00.
Train : The nearest station to the Kew office is Kew Gardens (Underground - District line and Railway - Silverlink Metro / North London line). Kew Gardens is in both zone 3 and 4, and the journey from central London to Kew takes about 40 minutes. It is a short walk from the station via Ruskin Avenue to The National Archives.
Other convenient railway stations for The National Archives at Kew are Richmond (Travel one stop from there to Kew Gardens) and Kew Bridge (a 15-20 minute walk to us).
Bus: The R68 bus route ends by the entrance to The National Archives, and the 65 and 391 bus routes run along Kew Road.
For further information visit

Parking: free


  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets