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Irish independent petrol brands selling maps

Campus Oil | Mex & Maxol | MS (Munster Simms)

Navigation aidMAXOL


In 1916 the McMullan Brothers started trading kerosene in Belfast. Two years later, seeking secure supplies, they obtained the sole agency for Mex petroleum products in Ireland. The Mex name had been introduced by Anglo-Mexican Petroleum before the First World War in Britain: a 1910s Mex map of the River Thames is shown elsewhere on this website. When Shell took full control of the company in 1921, McMullans retained the rights to the name in Ireland.
The Maxol name was introduced in 1964, gradually replacing Mex over the following 20 years. Maxol has become the largest brand in the North in terms of station numbers in recent years, and has expanded in the South by acquiring Ola and surplus Jet stations following the latter's takeover by Statoil. It also acquired the Estuary branded chain in SW Ireland, and that name remains in use of a small number of low volume filling stations.

1963 Mex map of Ireland 1967 Mex/Maxol Mex map of Ireland

The first road maps were issued by Mex in 1950-1, but few survive. In 1963 George Philip & Son produced the map (left) in England showing all Ireland at 8 miles to the inch. It carries the slogan "S-T-R-E-T-C-H your mileage with MEX". By 1967, the cover carried both Mex and Maxol brand names; the switch was made gradually over a period of many years. Despite their small size when folded, these maps are at a larger scale than the most recent Maxol issue.

ca1992 Maxol map of Ireland

Although no Maxol maps are known from the 1970s or 80s, it is likely that some were produced. Relatively recent Maxol maps are essentially stock maps of Ireland pasted into Maxol branded card covers. The first one (left) was printed in Switzerland around 1992 by Recta Foldex of France; it uses typical Recta cartography at 1:500,000. The next comes from 1997 and was produced in England by the Automobile Association at the scale of 1:350,000; its cover shows a Maxol station and the slogan "Stick with Maxol The Irish Company".
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1997 Maxol map of Ireland
2000 Maxol map of Ireland

The Maxol map shown here dates from 2000 and was again produced in England, but by yet another cartographer - Collins Bartholomew. This map is at 9 miles to the inch (ca1:570,000) and carries the updated brand identity.
Maxol's most recent known sheet map dates from 2008 and again places a Collins Bartholomew map at 1:570,140 in card covers; this map was however specially printed for Maxol. The cover shows a Maxol station with a Spar food store; this was an unfortunate choice as soon after Maxol entered into an exclusive arrangement with MACE C-stores. Information was printed on the map in English, French & German, but not Irish.
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2008 Maxol map of Ireland
2015 Maxol atlas of Ireland

In 2015 Maxol produced a 32 page A5 format road atlas of all Ireland on high gloss paper, in association with the Irish Daily Mail. As well as the AA's regular cartography at 1:700,000, it featured an index, distance chart, details of Irish Toll Roads, four pages of small scale maps showing safety camera locations in the Republic, the Top 10 Irish tourist attractions (again only in the South) and a list of Maxol service stations on both sides of the border. Surprisingly this was given away free to anyone buying a car wash at a Maxol station.
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Top of PageNavigation aidMS

Munster Simms & Company was a Belfast based independent operating mainly in Northern Ireland, but also in the Republic. It was possibly best known for its Staminol lubricants, although its premium grade petrol with Veloxine was also popular with Irish motorists. In the 1960s it was bought by National Benzole, the semi-autonomous subsidiary of Shell-Mex & BP, and operated independently for a few more years. With National's absorption into BP, the MS stations were gradually rebranded, too, and by the mid 1980s had finally disappeared.

ca1958 MS map of Ireland

1962 MS map of Ireland

The first three maps shown here were produced by Geographia Ltd, probably in the late 1950s, and cover Northern Ireland at approx 1:300,000 with a small scale map of the entire island. City plans are included for Belfast, Londonderry, Dublin and Cork, a feature not normally found on oil company maps of Ireland. The top left map is undated and the top right one comes from 1962.

Although superficially the same as the Northern Ireland map, MS also produced an all-Ireland version of its 1950s map for use by Munster Simms & Co (Dublin) Ltd. Although the cover does not mention it, the map still contains Northern Ireland at a larger scale, although the placing of the city plans is reversed to place the Southern cities above those in the North.
By 1968 MS was using a single design (right) with its later simplified logo. The map is described as being specially prepared for Shell-Mex and BP Ltd by George Philip & Sons Ltd and internally is identical to maps from its larger sister brands.

1968 map courtesy of Richard Horwitz

ca1958 MS map of Ireland

1968 MS map of Ireland

Top of PageNavigation aidCAMPUS

Campus Oil was established in Wexford in 1978, and rapidly grew to become one of Ireland's leading independent brands, although it remains strongest in the South-East of the country.

2002 Campus Oil map of Ireland

The earliest known map from Campus Oil dates from 2002, and was prepared for them by the (British) Automobile Association at the unusually specific scale of 1:689,655 (which fits neither metric nor Imperial measurements). Using a format similar to the QuickMap system (and also used on an Esso map of Ireland), the country is divided into four horizontal bands. Two bands are included on each side the map, which unfolds into a strip 1350mm wide but just 240mm high, and is printed on water-resistant gloss paper. This format also allows for town plans of Dublin and Cork to be included, as well as a double advertising panel about the company. The whole map fits into a clear plastic envelope and was sold for €6.80.

ca2004 Campus map of Ireland

Campus's next map shows their updated image, and consists of card covers pasted onto a stock Ordnance Survey map of Ireland at the equally unlikely sounding scale of "7.1 miles (approx. 11.5km) to the inch". In fact, this turns out to be the metric scale of 1:450,000 expressed in Imperial units. The map itself is something of an enigma as it shows very few of the new motorways as being open - in fact less than on the 2002 Campus map (and the same as on Maxol's 2000 map). This rather outdated map was on sale in a rural Campus station for €3.99 as late as April 2012.
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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2016

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.