A very useful and informative resource are historical maps.  And some of the earliest large scale maps (c.1:500 scale) were created by companies involved in providing fire insurance.  Maps for London date from the mid-18th century, and one company, Charles E Goad Ltd, was responsible for preparing maps for all of the fire insurance companies for the period 1886-1970.  The maps cover the central business districts of over 100 towns and cities in the United Kingdom.

An example of an extract from a Goad fire insurance map is provided below.  This dates from 1888 and is a central part of Manchester, at a scale of 1 inch to 40 feet (or 1:480).
These maps are useful for providing locations of businesses and their names; very helpful for giving context if you find an ancestor with a business name on a census return.  Of course, not all towns and cities are covered but as a resource it is one that can provide a great deal of historical interest.
13/4/2016 12:06:54

This type of insurance to challenge the whole road maps gives a proper service in the market.

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