This is the first time that the maps have been manufactured for nearly one hundred years.
When they were originally made, the design for each tile was etched on to copper which was then used to print a transfer. This was then carefully placed on to the tile – a very skilful task. Where any correction or hand finishing was required, that was then done before the tiles were glazed - always by hand - and fired in a kiln.
And that is pretty well how Craven Dunnill make tile maps for the North Eastern Tile Company in the 21st century. Technology has rendered the etched plate redundant, and better transfer quality means that much less hand finishing is needed, but the glazer’s skill still dictates whether or not all the map tiles have exactly the same glaze tint, and they still work to a metronome’s rhythm to achieve such perfection. Because they are all hand glazed, each tile will develop a very fine craze eventually, just as all the original map tiles have. This gives a character to the tile that a machine made one can never possess.
Each map panel is made up of 64 map tiles and 8 half depth title tiles spelling out the company name at the top.
North Eastern Railway Tiled Maps are now available in two sizes, using either the traditional 8” tiles (203mm), to give a panel approximately 5'8" x 5'4" (1730mm x 1630mm), or 6” (152mm) ones to give a three quarter scale version of approximately 4'3" x 4' (1300mm x 1220mm). The latter is much more suitable for private houses, since the base of the panel needs to be about 18” (450mm) above floor level for the map to show to maximum effect, and not many houses have the ceiling height of over 9’ (2750mm) that would be needed to centralise the full size map on the wall!
The panels can also be fitted with slip and dado honey coloured surrounds as the originals were. These consist of a border of narrow slip tiles, which are also used to divide the map and title sections, set within a raised, moulded dado. Adding a surround will bring the approximate dimensions up to 6’4” x 6’ (1930mm x 1830mm) and 4’10” x 4’6” (1470mm x 1370mm).
The tiles can also be supplied waterproofed, for use in humid and external applications.
We can also supply a half scale Tile Map Picture set, again handmade by Craven Dunnill at Jackfield. These are made up of just 20 tiles, and measure 32" x 34" (812mm x 863mm) when complete. The tiles are supplied ready waterproofed. They can be used in gardens and swimming pools, as wall decorations, in showers, kitchens and bathrooms, and make a stunning picture when mounted and framed. The tiles bear a representation of the title and map dividing slips, but have no surrounding slips or dado, since these can be represented by suitable framing.