Royal Corps of Military Surveyors and Draftsmen

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The Tower of London was home to the Board of Ordnance and the Royal Corps of Military Surveyors and Draftsmen.

Royal Corps of Military Surveyors and Draftsmen was a British military corps under the Board of Ordnance formally established in 1800 and disbanded in 1817.[1] It was one of the predecessors of the Ordnance Survey.[2]


The royal warrant to establish the corps was signed in 1800, making the civilian staff of the Drawing Room at the Tower of London a military corps. It was believed that a militarization of the staff would increase its efficacy.[3] In reality, the corps was not formed until 1805.[4] In 1813 it was confirmed by law that the corps as well as other corps of the military establishment of the Ordnance Board was subject to the Mutiny Act.[5]


Duties of the corps was to make surveys and drawings, both in Britain and abroad, particularly as part of the Trigonometrical Survey.[4]


  • 1 Chief Surveyor and Draftsman
  • 1 First Assistant Surveyor and Draftsman
  • 1 Second Assistant Surveyor and Draftsman
  • 8 Surveyors and Draftsmen 1st Class
  • 16 Surveyors and Draftsmen 2nd Class
  • 8 Surveyors and Draftsmen 3rd Class
  • 6 Surveyors and Draftsmen Cadets

Each officer was appointed by a warrant from the Master General of Ordnance; the cadets being appointed by letter.[3]


The corps was disbanded in 1817 and its officers put on half-pay.


  1. ^ Records of the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain 2016-01-21.
  2. ^ Royal Armouries: Ordnance Survey 2106-01-21.
  3. ^ a b Commissioners of Military Enquiry (1811), Thirteenth Report: The Master General and Board of Ordnance, London, p. 283-284.
  4. ^ a b Commissioners of Military Enquiry (1811), Fifteenth Report: Military Engineering, London, p. 319.
  5. ^ John Raithby (1814), The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, London, p. 54.