It’s been a while since I did a mapping post here on the blog, and yesterday, whilst visiting the open day at Christchurch, in Leamonsley, I saw a huge copy of the 1884 OS map of Lichfield that inspired me. If you ever get chance to see it, do so. A beautiful, A0-size hand-tinted copy, clearly for ecclesiastical use. A thing of rare and immense beauty.
The map made me think of the Wyrley and Essington/Lichfield Canal/Lichfield and Hatherton Canal, and the post I made yesterday regarding the wharves on the Birmingham Road, and how they, and Sandfields Pumping Station, developed over time.
It’s quite clear that this was, for a while, the grubby, industrial, ‘support’ area of the city. South from The Close and lofty theologians, lawyers and scholars, this was the lower tier of the class wedding cake. I’ve often wondered if the position of Leamonsley, outside Lichfield’s south western gates, meant it started as a dwelling place for the lower orders.
Things I remembered from these maps were the cricket ground – now all housing, built upon in the 1980s. There was an old tale that this pitch held the record for the longest ever shot in the UK game. The story went that batsmen hits a square six, and the ball lands on a passing goods train – arcane laws of cricket apparently dictate length of ball counts when it hits the ground. This didn’t happen until Crewe, theoretically, where the ball was retrieved.
I can’t find any evidence of this, I suspect it’s apocryphal – can anyone illuminate it?
I’m interested in Dovehousefield Cottages – why so remote? They were on the site of the Bison Concrete Works, itself now housing. Chappell’s Terrace in intriguing, too, as is the laundry that appears behind it.
While we’re about it: Maple Hayes – perhaps one for Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler and Andy Dennis, or maybe even Kate from Lichfield Lore. We know that many local ‘grand’ halls and houses fell into the hands of newly monied industrialists. I picked up that Maple Hayes – home to the Conduit Head for Lichfield, and now a school for Dyslexic children – was owned by the Worthington clan, of brewing fame. Is much known about the house and who owned it? The chap I spoke to was under the impression that it changed hands quite a bit, like Aldershawe.
One final thing caught my eye while taking a closer look at Leamonsley on the modern mapping record yesterday: Sloppy Wood. No kidding.
How did Sloppy Wood come about? There’s some good names there, too; Fitzherbet Firs, Lady Muriel’s Belt, Herbert’s Wood, Darwin’s Bath and The Slang, which I believe was defined here some time ago in the context of tithe mapping.
As usual, catcalls, contributions or corrections: comment here or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.