John Cooke


JOHN COOKE – from London or Plymouth?


I first became interested in the engraver John Cooke while doing some research on the building of Plymouth Breakwater.[1] I managed to acquire a number of maps and plans depicting this monumental enterprise and Cooke´s name appeared several times. The name Cooke is certainly not rare. However, there appeared to be two or even three engravers of that name around this time, with two operating from London, the other from Stonehouse, Plymouth. According to Tooley´s Dictionary of Mapmakers there seemed to be a father and son team[2] of John and Charles Cooke in London as well as a possible second John in London and yet another one in Plymouth. 

The father and son partnership in Tooley clearly refers to John Cooke of Paternoster Row (the Drury Lane address quoted being incorrect). John trained under Alexander Hogg and published part works. His son, Charles (1750-1816), succeeded him in 1810: between 1802 and 1810 they published The Modern British Traveller, a collection of small county guides in 47 parts each with title Topographical Survey or Topographical and Statistical Description. The entry on this John Cooke should read simply: Cooke, John (1731-1810). Father of Charles Cooke, below. Engraver, draughtsman, and publisher of London. The information given on Charles is correct, but who are the other John Cookes?

The answer is; one and the same man. The works credited to John Cooke (father) together with that of John Cooke of Hendon and those of the engraver of Plymouth were all executed by the same person. The Tooley list includes a total of 11 entries; subsequent research has uncovered over 20 further maps, charts or geographical works which can be attributed to John Cooke of London and Plymouth. This short monograph is written in an attempt to clear up this misunderstanding and to give a clearer picture of the life and career of John Cooke.


Click to go directly to the following chapter. 

 I. John Cooke - London       

 II. John Cooke - Plymouth           

 III. John Cooke - Summary      

 III.A John Cooke - Family Life (new 2021)    

 IV. Short list of Cartographic Works by John Cooke    

 V. List of Addresses used by John Cooke      

 VI. List of Apprentices taken in by John Cooke    

 VII. The Cartographic Works of John Cooke      

 VIII. Acknowledgements                 

 IX. Sources for illustrations    

Notes on Blog. 

1. Maps are numbered in sequence as used in my monograph lodged with DHC and BL and other major libraries. Map 25A was originally thought to be by or for Byers and was added later when it transpired it was a Cooke plan.

Monograph: John Cooke - Engraver and Publisher - 1765 London -1845 Plymouth. All rights reserved.

2. As I am resident in Germany instructions appear in German. Useful phrases:

MEHR ANSEHEN - open page

Kommentar ... - Comment field

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3. Ignore dating. To run sequentially I had to "fiddle" the publish date.

4. If you are aware of further works by Cooke, please let me have details. If you notice any mistakes (there are probably many) also contact me at

Kit Batten

January 2010/Revised 2012/2020

Blog posted October 2020

[1] See Kit Batten: Plymouth Breakwater; in MapForum, Issue 9 Spring 2006, pages 62-68.

[2] See Tooley´s Dictionary of Mapmakers Vol. I; Map Collector Publications;1999; pages 295 and 297. All works attributed by Tooley to the father, as well as those listed under both separate John Cooke entries, refer to the John Cooke mentioned in this article.


  1. Hello. Thank you for this blog. I have been researching my family history and have an Edward Cooke born in 1814 in Plymouth - baptised at St Andrews. His father is John Cooke. On Edward's marriage certificate John Cooke is given as his father and is shown as having the occupation of Chart Engraver. On the baptism record for Edward, John Cooke is given as an Engraver and living at Stonehouse, Plymouth in 1816. If this fits with your research - it would appear that indeed John is in Plymouth at this time but appears busy raising a family.


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