Mapping for change


Remarkable Ordnance Survey 1921 edition 1:10,560 sheet covering Central and North Brownhills. Note hand sketches and marks. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Gareth Thomas and Lichfield District Council.

In my last post here, earlier today, I explained what a wonderful thing I consider collaborative local history to be. One of the people I praised was Gareth Thomas, geographical Services Officer at Lichfield District Council. I praised the gentleman with very good reason.

Here I can share with you four 1:10,560 scale maps. We don’t cover that scale issue much on the blog, as oddly, they’re quite scarce. Their existence online in scanned or digitised form – even from professional map service companies – tends to be horrid, with contrast and other image aberrations.

Not so these samples from Gareth, covering all the Brownhills area. And they have some pretty special sketch marks on them too, concerning planned changes in the road system which date from the 1930s – although many of the modifications didn’t happen until the postwar period.

I’m after help decoding some of it, but note the demolition note in Stonnall (why, I wonder?) and the detail on Castlehill, nearby. An interesting note in the Knave’s Castle/Fort area may be of interest to reader Andy Dennis. Proposed road changes at Wall are interesting, too.

For everyone else, there’s plenty to look at, peruse and study. Please share in the comments anything of interest you find – I’m sure the Walsall Wood contingent will be very interested, and I’m sure there’s much of other historical interest.

My thanks to Gareth, of course. The man is a star.When else would we have been able to access such cartographical dynamite? I owe him a pint. Meanwhile, do go look at his blog, it’s fab.


Ordnance Survey 1924 edition 1:10,560 sheet covering Muckley Corner, Hammerwich and Wall. Note hand sketches and marks. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Gareth Thomas and Lichfield District Council.


Ordnance Survey 1903 edition 1:10,560 sheet covering Ryders Hays, Bullings Heath, South Brownhills and Walsall Wood. Note hand sketches and marks. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Gareth Thomas and Lichfield District Council.


Ordnance Survey 1924 edition 1:10,560 sheet covering Stonnall, Footherley and west Shenstone. Note hand sketches and marks. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Gareth Thomas and Lichfield District Council.

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15 Responses to Mapping for change

  1. Thank you , again! 🙂

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a very big thanks to Gareth please! The Walsall Wood map does seem to have one mistake…..”Ingles Road.”..a quick check with 1901 census for that part of the village reveals that 4 dwellings in Brownhills Road were called “Ingles Buildings”..opposite the “I” in the word Ingles. Interestingly the same Brownhills Road is shown as “Colliery Road” in 1891 census!
    Occupation Road, now Beech Tree Road, was mistakenly referred to as Commonside in one local history booklet some years ago..

    • Hey, hang on. Mistake, or not correlating with existing knowledge?

      Careful here. Look t the bottom left hand corner of the sheet. ‘Surveyed 1882. Revised 1901.’ – several roads have changed name, as we’ve discussed before: as you note, Brownhills Road has changed name several times, and on earlier maps, doesn’t exist at all (thinking of the 1850 map here).

      There would have been few street signs. roads were known by colloquial names – you’ve hunted for The Cape and others, like Pepper Alley. Note in the first world war, the address of ‘Shire Oak’ was enough to find this home alone:

      We were simply in a time when addresses and street names in a small village were unimportant and dynamic. I doubt many really bothered which street they even lived in – with a small population family names would have been more important, and I suspect building names would too.

      You’re a surveyor for the OS. It’s the turn of the century – you’re up from Southampton in a grimy coal village with mostly unmade tracks. The locals speak in an undecipherable accent to your educated ears, and sometimes, I’m sure, you just wing it.

      There’s at least one map officially issued with Beechtree Road marked as Commonside. I’ll see if I can find it.

      That’s my view.



  3. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Bob and Gareth.

    I’ll have to look at these later. However, it seems likely, given the neatly written ward names, that these (perhaps not Walsall Wood) belonged to Lichfield Rural District Council.

    They must have constructed the Wall by-pass in more than one phase because I can remember a time when the main road going east ran up through the village to a t-junction, where a right turn (towards Chesterfield?) was needed to return to the Watling Street. I think this would have been about 1967-8.

  4. Mick P says:

    Seconded. These are lovely quality and utterly fascinating. Thanks Bob and Gareth.

  5. stymaster says:

    fantastic. As well as Ingles Road, Linden Road is marked as Catshill Rd, Salters Road is Salters Lane, and all the roads/houses around St Marks Road are not there, obviously. Also, the alignment of Freizland Lane and Coppice Road is such that they meet directly, rather than offset as they are now (i’d always wondered about the odd triangles of footpath, until someone pointed it out to me).

    The Sandhills canal arm is shown (but disused) too.

    Have we ever noticed the White Lion Inn before, just the Browhills side of Pelsall’s fingerpost?

    Why yes, we have.

    Goscote Hall is also shown- right in the bottom left of the third map. Demolished by the council by 1966, apparently.

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob ,
    the name of Ingles Road was never used by my grandfather who lived
    in that part of the road and in the same house in Brownhills Road, from late 1890s until his death in 1964.

  7. Pedro says:

    Concerning the writing in red, a long shot…Lichfield Mercury 27 Feb 1914…

    The same order (closing order… that a demolition order be served allowing 6 months in which to execute repairs) served on a house owned by Mr J Thacker, known as Howdle’s Cottage situate in Watling Street, Hammerwich.

    (In Aug 1918 there was a A Thacker of Watling Street fined for cruelty to a horse)

    Any ideas to the surname of the George mentioned?

    • Andy Dennis says:

      George Luke. Luke and Thacker were local names with several families. Although on this map Howdles Lane is given, the row of six pairs of cottages was known as Howdle’s Row and then, in 1881, as Howdle’s Cottages. This pair was not, as far as I can work out, part of that group.

    • Pedro says:

      28 Jne 1907 LM

      In a court case…evidence had been given by Mrs Luke, wife of George Luke, miner residing at Howdle’s Cottages, Brownhills.

      • Andy Dennis says:

        Mrs Luke was named Kitty. “Luke’s Cottages” in 1881 were occupied by a Matthew Luke (born Woolwich) with wife Harriet and a son Andrew (20). Next door was James Thacker and family. Both men were miners.

        In 1891 the Andrew was at Watling Street, probably the same address – the area was known as Watling Street and I note from the map a ward of that name – with lodgers George and Kate Luke and daughters Ann (13), Dora (3) and Harriet (10 months).

        In 1901 George and Kitty were at Howdles Cottages with daughters Dora and Harriet.

        In 1911 they were at Howdles Rd with son Elijah (9) and granddaughter Dora May Parker (2). George and Kitty had by then been married for 32 years, during which time they had 13 children born alive. 10 of them had died. What a life?!

  8. Clive says:

    Great maps Gareth and Bob, thank you very much.

  9. peter says:

    Evening All…… Once again thanks to Gareth, saying thanks isn’t enough really, so I’ve had a whip round and between 23 of us we’ve managed to secure a second pint, just let us know where and when!!!
    Regarding the map reference by BHB as Muckley Corner, Hammerwich and Wall. I was curious to see the Isolation Hospital standing clearly out….. this has been covered before on the blog. I thought we were all looking further up the road and on the left hand side, maybe I got it wrong at the time, but this is on the right hand side halfway up the hill? Was it just me or did we all look in the wrong place?
    Secondly, looking at the large wording ” Ogley Hay Rural” if you look at the top right hand corner of the letter H there is a house, if I’m right it’s still standing but in what appears from the main dual carriageway to be a fair state of disrepair. Has this property been discussed before? Has it been photographed etc? There is quite a bit of redevelopment around it and I can see it going to dust pretty soon, does anyone know anything about it? Is it associated with what was Buffer Lock? It must have a history attached! any ideas?

    Mind how you go…….


  10. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Walsall Wood 1902 map. By the M in Cemetery Road appears to be a large rectangular building about the same position as the “Blood Tub” ( Palace) cinema…In 1902? Also,The Church Hall which stood at the corner with Brook Lane…no record of it being built in the St Johns History booklet ( Going by the Book article). I wonder when that hall was built?

  11. Clive says:

    Hello Bob. I have found a document (THE LONDON GAZETTE) 21 nov 1913 covering the route of the proposed tramway, it states the route from high st Brownhills to Catshill road (Lindon road) to Ingles road and then on to High st Walsall Wood. I have also found a newspaper clipping stating the council school at streets corner is on Ingles road. So it looks like Brownhills road was known as Ingles road in the past.
    Happy new year to all

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