Our History

Phyllis Pearsall MBE, with inset A-Z Map cover circa 1940

Started in 1936 as Geographers' Map Company Ltd, we are now the largest independent map publishing company in the UK, producing iconic products such as the London A-Z. The company enjoyed the daily involvement of our founder, Phyllis Pearsall MBE until August 1996 when she sadly passed away following a short illness, and her legacy and motto of 'On We Go' has very much been the drive behind the Company and our development both then and now.

The early days of the organisation are related in Mrs Pearsall's book, From Bedsitter to Household Name, which explains the creation and rise of the Company from the very first idea she had after becoming lost on her way to a party. The story has recently been told in the form of a musical 'The A-Z of Mrs P', which enjoyed a fantastic run at the Southwark Playhouse in early 2014, produced by Mercury Musical Developments and starring Isy Suttie of Peep Show fame as Phyllis, supported by West End stars Frances Ruffelle and Michael Matus as her eccentric mother and father.

A-Z Staff

Despite the Company beginning with a mere handful of employees, as it grew and expanded over time, Phyllis Pearsall became aware that in the event of her death the increase in value of the Company's privately held shares and resultant death duties could place the Company and her colleagues in jeopardy from take-overs or mergers, so she took the unique step of forming Geographers' Map Trust for the benefit of the employees.

At that time Phyllis Pearsall gave her shares to the Trust and the ideals and business ethics established from this foundation have set the standards of behaviour and mutual consideration in the current workings of the Company. We are still to this day owned by a variation of the original Trust, and the welfare of our employees is still very much one of our key priorities.

After working for many years from both London and Sevenoaks, in 1991 Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd moved the Main Office, Drawing Office and Warehouse to Borough Green in Kent. Following a restructure in 2013, it was decided to move to alternative premises that would better meet our needs, and so as of July 2014, we have been operating from Unit 9, North Downs Business Park, Lime Pit Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 2TL.