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Creator Of London’s ‘A To Z’ Maps Dies

Fri., Aug. 30, 1996, midnight

Phyllis Pearsall, who created the famous “A to Z” maps of London by traversing more than 3,000 miles of roads throughout the city, died Wednesday, her business, Geographers’ A-Z Map Co., said Thursday. She was 89.

Pearsall began producing her maps, which show London’s labyrinth of streets from the busiest thoroughfares to the tiniest cul-de-sacs, after getting lost using a map that was 17 years old but proved to be the most up-to-date available.

To get her first edition right, she often walked for 18 hours a day, eventually covering some 23,000 roads.

In 1936 Pearsall printed 10,000 copies of her maps. She persuaded W.H. Smith, the British bookseller, to place an order for 250 copies, promising a refund if they went unsold. The maps were an instant success.

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