Other people’s maps

I’ve had a find I’m rather excited about, and I think I’m going to need reader help here. Over the weekend, I acquired a couple of maps from a dealer who puts to one side anything he knows I might be interested in. They are two identical 1951 1:25,000 scale Ordnace Survey maps of what would become sheet SK00, but are marked SK43/00, and show the area of Brownhills and surrounds identical to other SK00 versions.

What makes these sheets special – and unbeknown to the dealer – is that the previous owner was clearly interested in coal mining and geology. However, I’m not sure what’s going on with the markings: can anyone help? The first sheet it divided into a grid (measured, by hand) with marked numbers; there also appear to be sectors marked in possibly Roman numerals (LVII, LVII etc). This grid appears to conform to Magnetic North and graticule intersections, but not the OS grid. There are what I think may be geological fault lines marked in red pencil, and hand-shaded reliefs to the north of Chasewater. In pencil are marked coal measures at Catshill and Castlehill. The flow of some streams has been highlated, as have footpaths. Oddly, the 1974 West Midlands County boundary is marked – very accurately – in blue crayon. Triangulation points – not those of the Ordnance Survey – are also randomly marked.

Please study this map. It was used for something – serious research, maybe, maybe not – but I’d like to know what. I’m fascinated by the notes and marks. If anyone has any idea, please shout up. These are beautiful maps in themselves, which I’ll get scanned as soon as I can and make available for download in full as usual, but superimposed upon them is a fascinating series of codes and doodles. I’d love to know more…

Extract from Ordnance Survey sheet 43/00 1:25,000 map of Brownhills. Gorgeous mapping, but what of the added information on top? Click for a larger version. Full scan to come as soon as possible.

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6 Responses to Other people’s maps

  1. Mark T says:

    Do these numbers tie up with the old OS 6″ maps from the early 1900s?


  2. Chris Hill says:

    Hi Bob. Could this be a local council planning dept. map? I note that boundaries are marked, maybe this was used when we joined West Mids from Staffs?
    Also Bob does the other map you have show the Pelsall side as this one finishes on the Pelsall Lane. I would be most interested to see Pelsall.
    Regards Chris

  3. Andy Dennis says:

    Brian Rollins, IN Coal Mining in Walsall Wood, Brownhills and Aldridge, reproduces a map (p60) showing a trial heading from near Castle Road, across the Vigo fault to prospect for workable coal. Your new map shows the same thing anotated “DIP 1 in 4” and “NO WORKABLE COAL”. The trial concluded that the deep coal must be 1,100 yards below surface (twice the depth at Walsall Wood).

    The two reddish pecked lines appear to indicate the Clayhanger and Vigo faults, between which deep coal could be worked. This was the lowest level of Walsall Wood Colliery at 1,677 feet (560 yards; 516 metres). I can’t work out what the “600 YDS” and “650 YDS APPROX” notes refer to; possibly the depth of deep coal at the faults, but the dip in strata suggest these should be the other way about.

    Just north of the word “BROWNHILLS” a similar line is anotated “LEVEL – RED MEASURES – 2000 B.O.D. APPROX”. Presumably, this refers to another trial heading running horizontally. From my rudimentary understanding of geology, red measures (or red beds) refers to strata of sedimentary rocks, such as sandstones or shales, that are reddened by iron oxides. I think etruria marls and brick clays also qualify. The note on the map is not clear, but perhaps it means the red measures are 2,000-odd feet deep? B.O.D. would be below ordnance datum or (usually) sea level. This would fit with the geological section in Brian Rollins book (plate after p38). The strata east of the Vigo fault are much deeper than to the west.

    I am intrigued by two other things:
    A yellow box (NE corner by Ogley Locks).
    The hatching in the Chasetown area, which appears to reflect contours. It would be interesting to look a bit further north to see if there are more notes and whether it relates to the Bleak House opencast operation.

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