Following on from my post last week where I featured local historian Gerald Reece’s research and loving reproductions of the mapping for the the proposed Norton Branch of the South Staffordshire Railway, I have an interesting document to share with readers.
My favourite map dealer contacted me ten days ago with the offer of two rather interesting artefacts. One is presented here, and a second I’ll hold back for later. What you see is a digital scan of an original, 1884 plan drawing, produced for the London & North Western Railway Company, of rail and canal arrangements around the Conduit Colliery, on the Brownhills-Norton Canes border. Little trace of any of the landmarks on this draft are extant today; the Cannock Extension Canal and basins have gone, as has the railway system and Red Lion pub. In short, this is the scale representation of a lost place.
The Conduit Colliery was just north of Bettys Lane, just west of the ‘kink’ in the road where it becomes Red Lion Lane. The pub no longer exists, but as can be seen, it was just northwest of the twist in the road, a twist that existed to accommodate a long lost railway bridge.
There’s a really cool exploration of what remains over at Captain Ahab’s Watery Tails. If you don’t know of the site, pop over and check it out, but prepare to lose hours of time on it…
Above: This was once the site of a railway bridge.
This is an original, historic document. Bearing compass holes, eraser marks and corrections, it was hand drawn on the 9th of January, 1884. I can’t read the footnote, but it contains the name Woodhouse – suggestions welcome on that score. Just to handle this fragile, 128 year old document is a rare honour. Showing the extent of the workings of the mine, I would imagine it was prepared to make the railway engineers aware of structural conditions.
This is a map for railway civil engineers, not mining people.
Interesting to see the progress lines recorded – Lady Day, Michaelmas, Christmas – and in the deep workings, coloured red, also the term ‘Xmas’, which I assumed was a modern contraction.
Having discussed this with [Howmuch?] over a beer (being careful not to spill it!) we decided that the deep workings were being prepared: The ‘ladder’ element marked ‘Face of work’ was probably progressing forward in the same direction as the shallow, purple workings. Any input on that score is welcomed.
I welcome all comment on this plan, please do contribute. I’m particularly after any history or data on The Conduit Colliery, as what I have access to is somewhat sketchy and vague. I think the company was bought by The Littleton Colliery Company, and I know it had several pits, but I’m unclear as to how they were interrelated.
Now I have it scanned this map and its partner, I will now donate them free to the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society, as this is clearly a document that should be available to those researching mining history, and not be held in private possession.
I’ve made a Google Earth overlay for this map, so you can experiment with it. You’ll need the standalone version of Google Earth, and instructions on how to use it can be found in this post.