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(POLLOCK, Sir George)

Memoir extracted and compiled from Various Sources, to illustrate the Original and Foundation of the Pollock Medal.

Published: Woolwich: Boddy and Co., Military Publishers, 1875

Stock code: 103950

Price: £200

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First edition, of this history of the prize awarded in commemoration of Sir George Pollock’s exploits in Afghanistan, to the best cadet of the season, first at the East India Company’s Military Seminary at Addiscombe, and later at the Royal Military Academy. This copy with the last leaf a cancel, with text extending the list of recipients down to 1884, together with a tipped-in leaf, text in exquisitely neat penmanship, which further extends the list to 1900 and the current recipient Malcolm Neynoe MacLeod. Bookplate recording presentation “by The Commander in Chief”, at that date Field Marshal Wolseley, to the front pastedown, and a one-page autograph letter signed from MacLeod’s house master at Rugby, George Stallard; “I have never had a harder-working, better tempered or more delightful pupil to work with”. MacLeod passed out first of his year at RMA, Woolwich, despite being the youngest of his class, being awarded the Pollock and Queen Victoria gold medals and prizes for military topography and geometrical drawing. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1900, and had a distinguished military career, his work on predicted artillery bombardments during WWI being particularly important for the war effort. As director-general of the Ordnance Survey from 1935, he completely modernised the workings of the organisation which had been brought to its knees by a combination of the effects of the war, post-war urban expansion and road building, and financial retrenchment, he “had already initiated the retriangulation of Great Britain, and now he seized the opportunity to transform the large-scale Ordnance Survey plans from their nineteenth-century format of county maps, many based on different meridians, into a homogeneous national series. It was with difficulty that his strong views on the necessity of a metric grid, the kilometre-square 1:2500 format, the survey of urban areas at the scale of 1:1250, continuous revision, and the introduction of the 1:25,000 map prevailed. However, he can be considered the architect of the structure of post-war Ordnance Survey cartography …” (ODNB). A nice copy of an uncommon book with excellent provenance.

Octavo. Original blue sand-grained cloth, rebacked and recornered in calf, title gilt to the front board together with a block of the obverse of the medal, the reverse gilt to the lower board, all edges gilt, dun surface-paper endpapers. A little rubbed and bumped, light toning, else very good.

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