James Wyld - the younger (1812-1887)
James Wyld the younger, born in 1812, was a highly-regarded British mapmaker known for producing maps with the most recently-acquired information. He was educated at Woolwich, in preparation for joining the army, but at 18 he joined his father, James Wyld the elder, in the map publishing business. Like his father, he was held in high esteem and would come to hold 17 European orders of merit during his life. He showed a flare for business and when his father died in 1836, he became the sole proprietor. In 1839, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and appointed Royal Geographer to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1839, a post his father had held prior to his death. He was famous for his prolific and up-to-date mapmaking, so much so that the satirical newspaper Punch wrote in 1849 that Wyld ‘makes it his business to see further than anyone else’ and that if a new country were to be found in the centre of the earth, Wyld’s skills were such that he would in no time create a ‘Grand Map of that delightful spot, the Centre of the Earth, published for the use of Emigrants’, allowing travel from Sydney to London, not by land but through. This view was no doubt spurred by the construction of ‘Wyld’s Great Globe’, a spherical hall in the shape of a globe some 18 metres in diameter in which visitors could ‘see’ the world from the inside out. The attraction at London’s Leicester Square was second only to the Great Exhibition in visitor numbers. He ran the attraction while concurrently serving as a Whig Member of Parliament for the seat of Bodmin (1847-1852 and 1857-1868). He died in 1887 in Kensington after which his son James John Cooper Wyld, took over the business.