Quality is important – What lies beneath once more

Hi folks – it’s not often I do this here on the blog, but I feel that quality is important, particularly in the recording of historically important documents I present, and an article I wasn’t happy with at all was published here a few weeks ago with a very heavy heart.

The 6 foot long Walsall Wood mining plan I shared a few weeks ago just wasn’t up to scratch, and I’m sorry for that; it was legible, but the scan was was too compressed to appreciate the full detail of the document. Sadly, the bureaux who scanned the plan failed to understand my requirements after two attempts, and in the end I ran with what I had.

Since then I’ve found an imaging geek who understand my needs, and they rescanned the plan in top quality for free, as a sample to see if my requirements were met. They have been exceeded, and these scans are beautiful and brilliant.

I’m reissuing this post now with higher resolution, better quality imagery and I’m sure readers will be interested to know I have another of these long plans currently being scanned for an upcoming article.

I’d like to thank the man with the scanner; if he passes by, cheers. Geek to geek services; the way forward. Thanks for excellent service.


Now rescanned in high quality – Over six feet long, drawn on velum, the workings in the Robbins Seam at Walsall Wood Colliery as they affected the railway line between Walsall Wood and Brownhills. A remarkable document. Click for a larger version, or see the full detail scan below.

Download the 200 DPI high quality PDF version of the above here – 18.6 megabytes

Download the 400 DPI Ultra high quality PDF version of the above here – 122 megabytes

Way back at the beginning of August, I shared a partial scan of a document I’d acquired – a mining plan of how workings in the Robbins coal seam under Walsall Wood, Clayhanger and Brownhills affected the railway line above.

Well, I’ve finally got this 6 feet long plan scanned for all to ponder over.

Around 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. The red areas show where coal was extracted.

There’s lots to see here, included exploratory digs that entered from sees above. It’s a fascinating thing, to be sure.

I’ve created a Google Earth overlay for readers to orient the plan. Because it’s on fabric, it’s only geometrically well aligned at the Walsall Wood end, however it’s good enough at the Brownhills end to give a reasonable idea.

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The plan overlaid on Google Earth – note Walsall Wood, left, and Brownhills right. At the right hand side the alignment is poor. You can’t accurately maintain geometric with a fabric plan this long! Click for a larger version.

You can download this overlay to use in Google Earth by clicking the link below – it can also be used as a basemap in Garmin GPS devices. Instructions on the use of this in Google Earth can be found in this post.

Walsall Wood Colliery Plan Google Earth overly 5.8 megabytes

Please note that this is an indication only; this plan could be wrong, or metres out. Please don’t use it for anything serious. It’s for information only.

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The plan shows where the main shafts were to Walsall Wood Colliery. Note how one lies beneath a building the the yard of the former Veolia/Effluent Disposal works; this was the sluice-house where industrial waste was tipped into the former workings in the 1970s and 80s. Click for a larger version.

Note the shafts are marked, and one is under the building that was constructed as the sluice house for tipping the chemical waste into the mine after it’s closure in 1964.

Think about the fact that these are the workings in just one seam – there were several others – so it goes to illustrate the huge number of voids and their span that existed below our area where the black gold was dug out. Most of this was backfilled with spoil after the mine ceased production; after that, the remainder was filled with industrial waste.

Consider also that this huge area would have been dug either by hand, or fairly minimal mechanisation; by the time Walsall Wood Colliery closed in 1964, it was not modernised and it didn’t employ the modern cutting machinery that other mines did.

This is local history gold – and bear 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.

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10 Responses to Quality is important – What lies beneath once more

  1. Mick P says:

    Absolutely brilliant Bob and I applaud your tenacity and attention to quality, though am not surprised by it. I’ve yet to digest all that is here (downloads in progress) but know that it will be hugely rewarding. And there is nothing finer than butter quality. I can almost taste the detail. 😉

  2. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    I agree totally with Mick P. and appreciate the overlay especially.
    Many thanks …..now to click and enjoy..the washing up will have to wait!
    kind regards

  3. morturn says:

    My word you have been busy Bob. An excellent article, the maps are bought into context with the Google map overlays. Great work, again.

  4. Clive says:

    Lovely job there Bob, the maps are great mate, now to do some studying. Thank you for all your hard work, it is appreciated by myself an othier blog readers i`m sure.

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  8. Carl says:

    What a fantastic job you’ve done. I work with a an old fellow that used to work at the veolia site where the cap is for the shaft and he recalls when they were dumping waste down there one day when the cap blew off the shaft.

  9. peter hawthorne says:

    well done bob. in 1955 i worked underground at cannock wood pit. i was with a group of men known as “the linesmen” or the “the latchers” our job was to advance the chalk line along the new roof supports to guide the miners in the correct direction. to measure the face and the coal thickness and then up on the surface at the surveyors office to extend the measurements onto the plans. the kind of plans that you have been working with.
    thankyou for reminding me.

    regards pete

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