Catalogue of John Evans' map of Sana'a in 1959

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Lucy McCann

Department of Special Collections
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John Evans' map of Sana'a in 1959


Two maps of Sana'a, Yemen, in 1959 created by John Evans from aerial photography with draft versions of the maps and other working papers, and aerial photographs from 1959 and 1973.

Extent: 1 Linear metre, 4 physical shelfmarks
Language(s) of Material: Arabic, English

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 13138/1-4


John Martin Evans (b. 1932) worked in Yemen from 1981 to 1989 as the British Survey Advisor to the Yemeni government, liaising closely with Ordnance Survey colleagues. He began work in around 1987 on a map of Sana'a as it was in 1959, using 1959 aerial photography, and finished this work in 1994.

Scope and Content

The papers comprise John Evans' final version of his map of Sana'a in two parts, draft versions of the map and related working papers, and one box of aerial photographs.

The map was created by tracing the 1:2,000 street maps, omitting details which appeared later than the 1959 aerial photographs. The aerial photographs were viewed stereoscopically. The tracing sheets were photocopied, joined together and reduced to 1:4,000. Watercolour was then applied.


Donated by Mrs Barbara Evans in 2018.

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 13138/1].

Personal name(s) (NCA Rules)

Evans | John Martin | b. 1932 | Directorate of Overseas Surveys officer

Place name(s) (NCA Rules)

Yemen, North


20th century
21st century
Middle East -- Maps

Descriptive List

Manuscript maps in ink and watercolour of Sana'a, the City and Bir al Azab, as it was in 1959 before the destruction of the civil war in 1965.
Date: 1994
Shelfmark: MS. 13138/1
Language(s) of Material: Arabic
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

The two maps, each on a sheet 42 x 60 cm, are unfinished and lack legend and lettering. Vegetation is shown pictorially. The maps show the old city of Sana'a bounded by the city walls and the district of Bir al Azab within the city walls.

Scale 1:4,000.

Draft versions of maps and related working papers
Date: 1987-1994
Shelfmark: MS. 13138/2
Language(s) of Material: Arabic
Extent: 1 box

Street maps of Sana'a and tracings of street maps
Date: 1972-1994
Shelfmark: MS. 13138/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content


Aerial photographs of Yemen
Date: 1959-1983
Shelfmark: MS. 13138/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Aerial photographs of Yemen, mainly taken by the R.A.F. in 1959 and 1973, and used to create the maps.

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24 January 2019