Mapping heaven – the right side of the street

Kate, who’s still doing the investigative history thing so much better than I do over at the superlative Lichfield Lore, has a bit of a quandary on her hands. After investigating blacksmiths, whitesmiths and smithies in the old city, she came to wonder about one in Lombard Street. We chatted over twitter for some time about how such trades came and went, and how it appeared that often, working class widows seemed to take on their deceased husband’s trade. I pointed out that very often, the widows had already been working in the family business, and just took it over out of necessity with the skills they were already using, the idea of a housewife being, pre-war, an upper-middle class concept.

In the process of this discussion, Kate pointed out that in the patchy mapping record that she had access to, she couldn’t tell where the smithy was in Lombard Street, in that it seemed to be on the wrong side of the road. In an effort to help, I’ve sorted all the 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey maps of the city that I can find, four in total for the vaguely relevant period. These will be a bit of a treat for mapping fans, but sadly, they don’t really help Kate much. In 1884, the smithy isn’t marked at all, and where it is, in the 1902 and 1923 maps, the mark is non specific.

However, these are great maps and a wonderful record of a growing city, so please feel free to download and print out. If you’re not already, do read Lichfield Lore; it’s marvellous.

Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 draft from 1884. No smithy, but lots of other interesting bits. Click for a larger image.

Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 draft from 1902. A smithy is noted - and the city has visibly developed.. Click for a larger image.

Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 draft from 1923. Smithy still there, huge growth in housing. Click for a larger image.

Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 draft from 1966. No requirement for shoeing horses in the city, and it's definitely entering the modern age. Click for a larger image.

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16 Responses to Mapping heaven – the right side of the street

  1. ziksby says:

    I count about 34 blacksmiths in Lichfield on the 1881 census on Don’t know if Kate has that information; if not I can copy them.

  2. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    super maps! I’ve been counting the public houses..can remember the Levetts Fields as a warren of buildings and narrow ways..but what was the 1923 Levetts fields estate(?) north of the station..very straight lines..the Smithfield pre-war? ( ref 166).

    • Hi David

      I saw that yesterday and discussed it with [Howmuch?] – all we could think of was a cattle market, but it doesn’t seem likely, as there are cattle pens marked to the east of the northern end of the station.

      Interested in the gates, and in Tregonatha.

      I always think you can’t have too many maps. If you’ve space on your shelf for another map, you clearly don’t have enough of them ;0)

      Best wishes


  3. Dave Shaw Cracknell says:

    Hi the Blacksmiths I knew in Lombard Street (in 1960’s to 80’s) is bottom right of the street plots 124 and 12 on the last map(next is 270 and is the car park to a modern building which seems to be a restuarant of some sort…..never the same name whenever I visit home). The House I think is called something like The Smithy and the building next door has large wood doors leading into the workshop, and are still there. I remember horse shoes and door hinges etc hung on the large wood doors. I believe the people living there are a Bert and Cilla TAYLOR who were friends of my late dad John SHAW (he of the Lichfield Pub Book).They maybe able to help. I can’t being far away in Cornwall.
    Dave Shaw Cracknell

  4. Wow! Thanks everyone!
    Bob – for putting the maps on here & the post
    Roger – 34 blacksmiths! I would love to know more if it’s not too much trouble.
    David – I have no idea what they are but it’s very intriguing. All I know about Levetts Field is I read there was a circus elephant buried there! Not v helpful I know 😉
    Dave – That’s brilliant – it fits the description exactly of the workshop next to The Forge on Lombard St. Can I just say as well the Lichfield Pub book is wonderful & whoever comes to our house always ends up reading it!

  5. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    Tregonatha may be the big house where the Lichfield Laundry (Ivanhoe Road) owners lived, I believe.
    In The Good Old Days in Lichfield the word was there were 365 licensed premises…may have been true.
    I will ask a good Lichfield contact about Lombard smithy..he may be able to help.

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Tregonatha was the old house where Hanfords lived. They owned Lichfield Laundry. The house was demolished and the name was used for the Hanfords replacement bunglaow nearby.
    Regarding the Smithy my contact will ask around and let me know. His first thoughts are that Bates taxis, 1960s operated from there..large gated arch leading to yard behind the building.Is this the one?More to come in a few days hopefully. He will also try to find out what was at Levitts fields by the station.
    I hope this helps

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  8. Dave Shaw Cracknell says:

    The Forge not Smithy quite right (I live so far away the eyes and memory not that good). I have a feeling Bert may also know re taxis (think might use to own or run a firm…hope not stiching him up!)
    Dave (Shaw) Cracknell

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  12. Deborah says:

    I wonder where we can get more information on smithys…. As I live in the old forge on Christchurch lane, would love to get my hands on the history. She’s only a young house at 140 years old…..

  13. John Bailye says:

    I remember going with the carter (Fred Burton) from my grandad’s farm at Ashmore Brook in Cross in Hand Lane back in the 1950’s to get the carthorse shod at Goodwin’s smithy in Beacon St. It was very much in business then but not many horses to shoe, they repaired and altered a lot of the old horse-drawn machines to be pulled by tractors. They repaired anything in iron !

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