The depth of feeling our readers have for the good old, paper-printed, physical London A-Z was revealed this week when we asked who still used one via our Facebook page. While smartphones and online maps can provide routes in seconds and orient you when lost, it seems there are few who have had the A-Z replaced in their hearts, hands and backpacks as navigation tool of choice.
More than just maps, beloved and well worn A-Zs are treasures in themselves. The comments below show how they become repositories of post-its, scrawlings, telephone numbers and highlighted routes, creating a unique personal history of London for the bearer, as well as invaluable aids to visitors.
Jo Breeze has "scribbles and circled streets in mine - flats friends used to live in, offices I've temped at, bars/clubs that have probably closed down, etc".
Fiona Stevens has got "several of them of varying vintages which get lent to London visitors - and I still use them myself."
Mikki Leigh's aren't dogeared as she keeps "a small pocket one in my cycle backpack, just in case, but I actually collect the full-size ones."
Gareth James Ondrak says that his A-Z was the "first thing I bought when I moved to London in 1985. Still use it even though half the roads don't exist anymore!"
Inspired and extremely organised advice from Tony Burton: "when one gets too dog-eared and is replaced, keep it handy to tear one page out and fold up when you know you're not going too far. Fold it up and put it in your wallet. Put it back in the right place when you get home. Works best with the ring-bound variety."
Petra Belikova is "emotionally attached to mine, even though some pages are no longer legible due to heavy use. Pages separated & held together by a rubber band. Love it."
Jason B Standing is kindly to lost people: "Would love to say I'm still using my old one from 2004 which was held together with gaffer tape, but I seem to keep donating them to lost people. Aren't I nice?"
And A-Zs have even become thorny issues in relationships, with Deborah Walsh losing hers in her divorce settlement and Dave Haste having to resist the temptation to ask an unsuccessful date to post his back to him.