Aldridge: The mapping gap

Following the request by reader Mike Hawes, here’s another delve into the cartographic archive for the denizens of Aldridge, our posh neighbours to the south. Mike asked for some mapping from around 1940, and sadly, there is none. I’ve found plots – based on the same 1920’s survey – from 1938 and and 1955. They are clearly plotted from the same baseman, and in reality, were probably hand-traced. I’ve done this to illustrate a point really, about the mapping history of the UK.

The centre of Aldridge as recorded by 1:10,000 Ordnace Survey mapping of 1938. Click for a larger version.

Note that the map above – the 1938 issue – is exceptionally vague in the area of Anchor Road. At a guess, the buildings had been spotted  from an aerial survey, but not ground surveyed.  This map hadn’t changed much – more, it had evolved – since the second survey, around 1915-1920. This is referred to as the ‘Second Epoch’. This map base persists until the sixties. There are few complete larger scale maps of this period, too: nothing at 1:2,500 really exists. There’s a reason for this: there had been a couple of wars on.

The centre of Aldridge as recorded by 1:10,000 Ordnace Survey mapping of 1955. Click for a larger version.

Our mapmakers had been busy for the military, and the growing mapping needs of commerce, local authority and development were not being met. It takes a long time to resurvey a country, and new survey sheets only started to appear in the mid-sixtes. I’ve mentioned this before in my posts ‘last of a Generation’ and ‘Time Passages’. Quite simply, there’s a gap in effective mapping between about 1930 and 1965.

Of course, there is that other resource, the aerial imagery dated from 1945 in Google earth. I showed how to access this in a previous post, too. A quick note to Mike – if you’re having trouble with the overlays, make sure you’ve downloaded the files, then check you have the very latest version of Google Earth installed by going here. When you have, just double-click the overlay files and they’ll load automatically.

Aldridge from the air, 1945-ish. A remarkable thing. Courtesy Google Earth.

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6 Responses to Aldridge: The mapping gap

  1. Peter Killops says:

    Bobmeister well done again!

  2. Thank you!!
    I notice the Cattle Market disappearing from pre to post War.

    • Mike Hawes says:

      Funny thing is my Mother never mentioned it even though it was just round the corner, perhaps it closed in the late 30’s when she was just a child.

  3. Barry Carpenter says:

    Nice one again Bob, I know about the lack of maps from this period as I had an interest in the Leighswood a fewv years ago.

  4. Mike Hawes says:

    The problem I had was mistaking google maps for google earth, once I had GE it was fine. Of course with the overlay you can see the pools behinbg Ceder Court that now have hosues on them, and now we know why it’s all so wet here regardless of the rain.

    I’m intrigued by the cattle market too , the era of late 50’s and early 60’s house building really changed Aldridge. See on the map that the bit over the railway line by Station Road was still called Pool Green, my nan lived in New Road when the houses were first built in the 30’s.

    It’s fascinating and I’ve spent ages poring over the maps and comparing them.

  5. Mike Hawes says:

    Another long study of the map, I note on the 1955 map that Edward Avenue off Lieghswood avenue wasn’t finished, it stopped with a diagonal hedge. When it was linked tot he new Northgate they didn’t keep the number sequences. Plus the edge of the field gives the exact location of this pool I keep carping about.

    As I suspected it’s *exactly* where our gardens are. Whats needed here is a big willow tree, however no one will get a mortgage now with a willow within 25 mtrs of a house.

    When we had all our building works done the garden was dry, I had a large soak away dug for our extension, with six barrows of proper gravel 4 ft down . Of course I was *accused* of flooding the gardens until severn trent tested it and found it to be not run off but spring water. So the natural spring has reappeared.

    Even in the height of summer the one corner of the garden is soaked.

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