A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following map here of central Brownhills from the late 1960s, in answer to an enquiry tied up with the thread about the Salvation Army Hall in Brownhills. It’s a great map, and at the time it caused quite a bit of interest.
I promised to make an overlay of the map for use with Google Earth, so the location of new and old features could be compared, and faded in and out. I’ve finally got around to it.
The full overlay can be downloaded from the link below, which is hosted at Box. For instructions on how to use it, see this post here. It’s a large file and will take a while to download.
The one thing that’s still causing me some bafflement is the issue of Silver Court; on that sheet it’s drawn symmetrically, yet in actuality, Silver Court is 10 units long on the north side of the offices, and 6 to the south. On the map it’s drawn 6-6. It’s also not well aligned on the map; the streets line up around it, as does the canal, but it seems as if the map was misplotted slightly there.
It’s almost as if the development wasn’t built when the map was surveyed, and it was updated from a drawing or plan later. I remembered I’d seen an image of the construction of this odd mixed-use tenement block in Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington’s wonderful book ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’. Perhaps that could answer the question.
This shows 6 units of Silver Court under construction. It shows that the block is a modular design based of a shared single dividing brick wall, with fabricated inserts on the front (and presumably rear) – this was a common housebuilding technique of the day. The row could be easily extended.
Note the rear of the house on Silver Street; marked on the map, it must have been demolished and the end four units added to take advantage of the space. There must be a record of that somewhere…
I’ve come to the conclusion that Silver Court was added to this map probably before it was fully built; possibly before it was constructed at all, and that by the time it came to be constructed, it was extended to the north. Do any mapping geeks know if that’s common practice? Outwardly, the materials used in Silver Court are uniform, and don’t show any signs of later modification.
You can’t always trust a map… even the fine ones the Ordnance survey produces, so beware.