Seam stress

Now, since it’s been a few days of catching up with little bits and pieces, here’s something massive for readers to get their teeth into – this is a historical artefact which I’ve been lucky enough to find, and I’m very excited about it.

It’s about fourteen inches wide, and six feet long. It’s a plan, on velum, of the progress of coal extraction in the Robins seam from under Walsall Wood and Clayhanger up until the early 1960s. The map is hand drafted, and was drawn for railway engineers to indicate where mine workings lay in relation to the railway through Walsall Wood.

This is a plan of where coal was removed in one seam under our area. It’s astounding.


A fragment of a remarkable plan; this covers from Walsall Wood cemetery to the railway bridge at the back of what is now Barrow Close. Click for a larger version, but please be patient as it’s a large image! this is about 15% of the entire drawing.

I feature just a small sample here, but in the meantime I need to get a six foot long document scanned in high resolution. As Captain Scott said, I could be some time.

Enjoy this, pick the bones out of it and please comment on what you see. I include some Ordnance Survey mapping from the same period tilted to the same angle so you can orientate the map.

This is local history gold – and bare in mind this is only one seam: there would e separate drawings for each one.

Please do comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Untitled 8

The closest map I could approximate to the plan was this 1938 1:10,000 scale fragment from the National Library of Scotland archive; not that it’s been rotated – north is most definitely not up! Click for a larger version.

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14 Responses to Seam stress

  1. Trevor says:

    Hi Bob, this wonderful map seems to confirm what Young David Evans found out about the brook going under the railway in pipes, am I right David?

  2. Tony J says:

    Looks fantastic, can’t wait to get that on the laptop sure closer inspection. Meanwhile….Captains Scott being sometime? Titus Oates surely. Put it down to being dizzy with excitement

  3. Clive says:

    Great map Bob, many thanks. Time to start studying this lovely map.

  4. leeky54 says:

    Dont know if this maybe of interest to anyone but when i worked for Frans Maas we had the yards block paved after a couple of years the the small yard started to collapse. When the builders came in to find out why they found a domed brick built tunnel which looked like it ran from up by effulent disposal which i think may’ve once been a coal mine down to the canal. Roy Shakespear did try and find out some info about the tunnel with no luck so i think it was filled in and the pave relaid.
    Pete Leek

  5. Pedro says:

    Not particularly relevant to this post, but just came across this remark from HC Peake in June of 1940…

    Mr HC Peake of Lichfield, the Manager of Walsall Wood Colliery, acting President of the Mining Engineers, speaking at the annual meeting in London, said if all the men employed in the collieries who could not join the army would attend their their work every day and would do their utmost in the way of output, receiving, of course, full value for their work, the price of fuel would automatically fall a considerable extent, to the benefit of everyone, even the colliery owner himself….

  6. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    a fabulous map! I wonder if the maps for the other seams still exist, and possibly in private collections Most interested to see the details in this map . So many questions raised!!
    Thanks for posting this , Bob. Local history gold, indeed.
    kind regards

  7. Pedro says:

    If the map is from the early 60s, then it was produced around the closing of the pit in 1964. Was the map drawn for a purpose?

    Some info from Brian Rollins’ Book…

    …The later workings at the colliery took place in the Bottom Robins and Wyrley Yard seams, with some limited working in the Brooch and Charles seams…

    …Around 1950 mineral valuers attended the Colliery to assess the remainder of its reserves. They recommended the development of the Salters Road estate should be delayed until the coal was worked out. For whatever reason the advice was ignored and this large estate was developed. The Bottom Robins in the Wyrley Yards seems systematically undermined it with a total thickness of 11ft (3.35m) of coal been extracted…

    …The properties were severely affected, and bearing in mind that the estate is also in the region of the Vigo fault, quite a number and to be demolished…

    … In the last ten years of the Walsall Wood Colliery life some 11 feet of coal was extracted beneath the railway from the Bottom Robin seam and Wyrley Yard seam resulting in a total substance of 9 feet at the surface…

    • Pedro says:

      Sorry, a few OCR mistakes above.

    • Hi Peter

      Characteristically strong statements there from Brian. Interesting particularly as the full map doesn’t show much in the way of workings in that direction – indeed, the subsidence at the fault – clearly nothing in the order of 9 feet – was attributed to the Aldridge, not Walsall Wood colliery.

      interesting, thanks:-)

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  10. Joan Tarry nee Workman says:

    My Granddad worked down the Coppy pit for 47years he used to walk to work from Ogley Road one day he told me that he had walked to work above ground, and then walked and in some places had to crawl on his hands and knees back underground and had been working under our house, when I asked how he knew he was under our house he said that they had little maps. His name was Charlie Jones, he was forced to retire about 1950 due to ill health he was crippled with Arthritis for thirteen years, the last six he was bedridden, but could not get a pension as he had not been there 50years

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