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.