Carte before the horse

Untitled 9

Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map of Clayhanger, Walsall Wood, High Heath and Pelsall. Published 1947, it was revised in 1938. Click for a large version.

Above is a map section from the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 1947 publication epoch. It was revised officially in 1938, and shows some map lag. But that aside, this week I noticed something very, very interesting and a little bit peculiar.

I’m not going to tell you, let’s see if readers can guess. It’s a great excuse to study a lovely bit of mapping in any case – just revel in that drafting. The rail lines, watercourses and boundaries.

See what I see? Comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

If nobody gets it, I’ll expand in due course. This has the potential to be quite a large story.

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50 Responses to Carte before the horse

  1. kellie says:

    was Brownhills classed as Walsall wood before it became Brownhills ?

    • No, not really, although they were more distinct from each other. The areas of Brownhills were more defined, though: Catshill, Ogley hay, Brownhills West, newtown etc.

      It’s not about names, but cheers!

  2. Donna Wood says:

    Shelfield was walsall wood?

  3. Donna Wood says:

    The horse and jockey pub was there?

  4. Donna Wood says:

    I give in then too!

  5. Chris says:

    The little building labelled Mort. just above the lettering for Blackcock Bridge. Was this a dedicated mortuary for the Colliery? Not something I have seen before.
    Anyway if it’s not that, another interesting feature is the anonymous field that is in the centre of the map, where the boundary of Pelsall turns left of the Fordbrook. On the 1845 tithe map called Fellfield, a survival all the way from the Anglo-Saxon deed which went round Pelsall giving its boundaries. Here, where you cross the Fordbrook was a planked ford , ‘thel’ being the A-S for plank. If you follow the footpaths up there there is still a flat functional raft, of concrete now, at the same point.

  6. Bill Simpson says:

    I see an elephant is that what you see?

  7. mikeclaridge says:

    I don’t think it’s what you mean but one item of interest is by the railway bridge between Vicarage Road and Fordbrook Lane. The old road, made into a cul-de-sac when the railway was laid, is still in evidence with several buildings on it. It can be seen to align with what had become Station Road, which itself was rerouted parallel with the railway when that was built.

  8. David Evans says:

    whos kincked the football club and oak park..

  9. mikeclaridge says:

    There are also some fascinating field boundaries that indicate older, larger boundaries. One such, with curved hedgerows that line up to form an oval, runs up Green Lane, Sheffield before curving off alongside the wood then towards Ford Brook and down the flood plain of the brook. It forms an ‘enclosure around an area that contains Grange Farm and High Heath itself. It would appear to be an ancient property boundary probably pre-dating the municipal boundaries and even the ecclesiastical parish boundaries.

  10. David Evans says:

    brickworks by the coalmine?

  11. David Evans says:

    Vigo Terrace, Wolverson Road?

  12. David Evans says:

    Hardwicks shop missng, Thathced cottagestill showing at Steets Corner?

  13. Denise Barratt says:

    I can see a horse, top of his head is by shire oak, his mouth by the small Walsall Wood, his tail runs across the ‘S’ of Walsall, his front leg by the ‘L’ in Walsall Wood.

  14. Richard buckley says:

    I see a polar bear was this map from the ice age!!!

  15. Andy Dennis says:

    Trig point in field west of High Bridge?

  16. Richard buckley says:

    I also see the elephant and part of a horse so was there once a zoo at Walsall Wood !!!

  17. David Evans says:

    Incomplete school at Streets Corner ? Zoo / Rendering Centre will open next summer.2016
    cheers Richard!
    kind regards

  18. David Evans says:

    and Collins Express Parcels, corner Lichfield Rd and Brook Lane missing as is the bungalow on opposite corner

  19. David Evans says:

    when was Shire Oak brewery demolished?
    one house in Camden St.. by the canal..I think it was demolished before 1937
    when did OS surveyors return home from military service post ww2?
    good fun, Bob

    • John Anslow says:

      As a young girl, my grandmother used to walk up Shire Oak Hill from the Thatched Cottage to fetch a “penn’orth o’ barm” from the pub’s brewery. I didn’t know that “Shire Oak” was where it is marked on this map; was that the site of the original oak tree?

      • Clive says:

        Hello John. The shire oak tree was on the corner of Holly Lane and Lichfield road, near Streets Corner. Hope this is of use to you.

  20. Denis Jones says:

    Norton Junction sidings were quite extensive at their busiest time I would think that would coincide with the map date, I think the map under depicts just how vast they were.

  21. aerreg says:

    i proberly aint right but they aint got any t in caishill on the right glad i aint the only one who car spell god bless

  22. Ian Pell says:

    Norton Junction sidings were larger than shown. The down empty sorting sidings are completely missing. However, such matters were not unusual on this scale of map. The map was probably not updated regarding the railways from 1924. Equally, quite a lot of the larger scale maps of this time showed no detail for railways and some, such as Kineton in Warwickshire, showed no railways at all where large and complex layouts existed. These locations were still being shown as “farm land” as late as the 1970’s!
    My observation is the B4153 marked in red. I’ve seen road markings a few times on OS’s but usually they were additions requested for specific reasons and clearly indicated. Sometimes they were designated routes for military traffic, sometimes just to indicate a new road designation. In this cas I have no idea, but it is unusual to see such markings on a normal OS print. Perhaps the date is the key?


  23. Christine says:

    The only thing I noticed was the brickworks belonging to Walsall Wood Colliery which closed down in the 1920’s where Wenicks built a factory in the 1950’s

  24. Dave D says:

    What’s Caishill, West Bromwich?

  25. aerreg says:

    ecuse my ignorance but who was parly co division union holly lane it was just a simple lane as i remember before the estate was built

    • Chris says:

      It’s the boundary of Walsall Wood, which was also the boundary for the Parliamentary constituency and the Poor Law Union (which was separately elected until 1930) and the Urban District.

  26. aerreg says:

    thanks chris i can sleep tonight ha ha god bless

  27. Hi Folks – wasn’t expecting this to develop a life of its own like it has! Thanks for all the study and head scratching and the wonderful contributions.

    There are three things that are unusual, and Ian Pell got one of them – but lots of you have raised very insightful observations. That the B4155 is marked is very, very unusual, and as Ian points out, there could be an interesting reason for that. Classified roads were funded for repairs differently, and I suspect the route was in use for something important. Quite what, and why, remains to be found.

    The biggest odd thing about the map is the amount of housing estates marked, but not surveyed. Pelsall’s Clockmill, areas along Wolverhampton road and Coronation Road; the area over Castlefort in Walsall Wood, around Stewart Road, and where Clayhanger Lane meets the Pelsall road. There are rough outlines of houses, buildings, but they’re not blacked in like older buildings.

    Look at the selection below. The area between School Lane and Highfield Road:

    This it was it looks like today

    If we lay one over the other, we can see that the map-makers had an *idea* what it was going to be like. But no actual detail. If we lay one over the other, see what happens:

    Note that School Lane, Old Town Lane and Highfield Road are way out, although the buildings roughly match.

    The map was made before the landscape had been measured; the carte – map – came before the donkeywork. Sorry, it’s a terrible pun.

    Seriously, though, this is interesting. I think it’s worth finding out when these estates were built and just how long the map lag is.

    There’s one other oddity too, I can’t explain. We all know the spoil heaps, just by Clayhanger Marsh by the railway, yes? Nobody seems to be able to agree what they’re the remains of. Andy Dennis has posited in the past that he thought it may have been overspill spoil from Walsall Wood, and indeed, there’s a direct rail link. But to the heaps themselves, even today there seems to be remnants of a track or tramway bed.

    I was under the impression that they were the remains of early mining – and indeed, maps as early as 1901 show the mounds (1884 shows just ‘old coal shafts’). But look what appears on this map in that area. It’s present on no others I’ve seen. There are an arrangement of buildings.

    What were they, who owned them, and why did they vanish? I think the remains may still be present.

    Please do continue the discussion. Particularly intrigued by the observations about the trig point and field boundaries.

    Thanks all

    • mikeclaridge says:

      I believe there was an explosives store somewhere near the sidings. Explosives for use in construction/excavation, as well as detonators used on the track to warn loco drivers of work ahead.

  28. Additional: Apple Maps does a really nice render of the slag heaps by the railway:

    Remember how everyone derided Apple Maps at first? Currently the best 3D landscape visualisation tool I know. Stunning.


  29. Mark Harris says:

    New Street off Lindon Road where Pauls Coppice should be?

    • That was actually it’s name for years. It was renamed to avoid confusion with New Road, and a second New Street (that no longer exists) where the path is from High Street to Warren Place in Brownhills.

      pauls Coppice was the name for the woodland that was obliterated by WalsalL Wood Colliery.


  30. David Bate says:

    Around Cannock the unshaded boxes on the 1938 map turned out to be place markers for proposed building, could it be that the three ‘building’ on/around the slag heaps also proposed buildings?

    On the 1883 map ‘old pit shafts’ are marked as being under the large mound just off the bend in the old path.

  31. Chris says:

    I was taught that the schematic version of new housing and the omission of rail layouts were both due to the approach of war in 1938-9. The first because the slow progress of revision at the more detailed scales raised the Keystone Cops prospect of a defending British Army using maps which didn’t show interwar development, there was therefore a rush job in urban and suburban areas; the railways because it was strategic information. The National Library of Scotland’s site bear this out to some extent –
    but there is more on the link near the top of that page about the Special Emergency Edition.
    I presume that the reason the outline was shown on the 1947 edition would be because in civilian terms it is only two/two and a half working years later, and I guess that the introduction of the Town and Country Planning Act in 1947 created a pressure to get whatever was ready to go out and usable, with internal resources directed to getting the National Grid series right – it appeared in around 1950-1951.

  32. Laurie Thacker says:

    My parents first home was in Old Town Lane, No 76, it was built in 1938. The date is remembered as it was the year Mom was born. They bought it from the first owner, an elderly lady in 1960. The house had been built with air bricks outside but non in which caused the downstairs floors to rot. On viewing the house there was sections of lino on the floor which was though slightly odd. After purchase it was found they were hiding holes in the floor, only a miracle that my parents didn’t fall through.

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