I’ve noted here before that change to a place most often happens incrementally, in small but contiguous steps. Sometimes it can be large and dramatic, as when Brownhills was reshaped by the construction of Hillards (now Tesco), or when the M6 Toll was built. More often than not though, change is fractal, fractional and fragmented. A building is replaced here, a road slightly changes course there, and so on.
Recently, we delved into the history of the Salvation Army Hall, in High Street, near to the Warreners Arms, and I featured the photograph below:
The image was taken from Severn House, the smallest of the four tower blocks eventually built in Brownhills – it’s the pink one that still stands today next to Silver Court. From the Warrener’s Arms, top right, to bottom left, spans the High Street. The road leaving to the left no longer exists as anything other than a path. Reader Peter asked what it was called in the comments to the original article.
The book caption to the photo actually tells us, but only realised that after digging into the mapping archive, and I believe I’ve found a map contemporaneous with this image give or take a few years. The map has been scanned, and I include it below.
The road was called New Street. New Road – which still exists today – would be out of shot to the lower left. I think the map, and the image are both late 1960s. Bear in mind there is some inherent ‘lag’ in the mapping due to surveys taking place some time before drafting.
The relevant section in the photo I’ve cropped out and annotated below.
Here’s what it looks like today:
Note that Humphries House – also still extant – is built directly on the site of the town gasworks.
There is a huge amount of interesting stuff on this map. It really is a gem, and shows the increments of the 60s and 70s in mid flow.
Take this section from Ogley Hay, around the Parish Church of St James:
There’s stuff here relevant to the postcard I shared last week; note the war memorial at the Church Road entrance to the churchyard of St. James; Ogley Hay County Primary School on to the left of shot, where I thought were houses – that’s actually the front of that school, isn’t it? Notice also the Police Station – higher up Church Road than I imagined – and the Calvary Mission, whatever that was, or is. I have a feeling that’s still there.
Note also, the section of Short Street from Church Road to Brickiln Street has yet to be constructed.
There is more interest at Co-op corner:
Other stuff on the main map I noticed; check out the detail of the High Street. The structure marked ‘platform’ behind the old Co-op – what was that? The Regent Cinema, Station Hotel and basins. Detail around the Pier Street Bridge – Pike Helve – and around Holland Park, The Hussey estate and Station.
One of the most intriguing things is Silver Court. It’s bigger to the north by some degree than on the map, which shows the offices as being in the middle. They aren’t in real life. What happened there?
If I get time over the weekend, I’ll see if I can’t correct the geometry a bit and make this map into a Google Earth overlay.
If you spot anything, please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.