This is just a quick one, as I thought we needed to get at least a little bit of history in at long last – and this one has piqued my curiosity, as my antenna always twitch when I hear subsidence legends.
This is a request for assistance, and I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong, but I’m curious. Amongst the old guard and rapscallions of the blog contributoria there, has been some low level debate about the pits that existed south of Chasewater and the assertion by Mavis Woodhouse and the Clarice Mayo/Geoff Harrington book that a cottage between White Horse Road and Pool Lane ‘fell into a pit’ at some point.
The coal seam south of Chasewater was very shallow, there’s no doubt about that; and the bell pits there were numerous too. There was also the J.B. Cox pit, at about where the Chasewater Stadium stood; much later, Oscar Johnson built the trotting track on the patch of land in question.
What I’m after is the cottage itself: who lived there and what became of them? Are there any reports of a collapse? Did it actually ‘fall into a hole’, or was it, like the house at the top of Chasewater Dam, a gradual decay caused by subsidence rather than a sudden drop?
There is a historical and social tendency to overstate subsidence as a phenomena in mining communities. Whilst it’s absolutely possible for a cottage to sink into the ground suddenly, was it really like that? If so, one would imagine it made the news in some form.
I decided to go looking. As Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler points out, there is a building that may well be a cottage on the mapping – in this case the 1915 1:10,000 map for the are in question:
These buildings are mapped right up until the 1947 edition, although that means little with mapping lag. Then I remembered the aerial imagery supplied by Gerald Reece, date 1948 – there’s clearly no cottage or otherwise there then:
Then there’s the 1963 aerials from Gareth Thomas at Lichfield District Council, which actually show something very interesting:
I decided to do some Google earth overlay stuff with the 1918 map and the 1963 image, to see how the rectangular witness lined up with the cottage location.
So, the rough rectangle with the depression to the left on the 1963 aerial was the location of the cottage. Just for completeness, where does that fall today?
All contributions warmly welcomed. Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!