14 December 2011

1778 Map of Birmingham

1778 Map of Birmingham by Thomas Hanson. Engraved by H/J Roe.  




















A LARGER IMAGE CAN BE SEEN BELOW. This map is also digitised at Mapseeker.

The actual map is surrounded by black and white illustrations of some of the towns principal buildings. On the right are the two churches St. Martin's and St. Philip's, and on the left is St, Mary's Chapel, St. Bartholemew's Chapel, the Free School, the hospital, St. Paul's Chapel, the Charity School, the Hotel, St. John's Chapel, Mr. Green's House, and, slightly seperate, the New Meeting House.

The Chapel of St. Paul's can be seen in the top left of the mapped area, surrounded by newly cut streets that are still to be built on; much of this area is now incorporated into the Jewellery Quarter and many of these houses-to-be are still standing. At the bottom right the Digbeth and Deritend High Street stretches out with Henry Bradford's estate emerging nearby and at the top right the Aston estates can be seen beginning to be built.

Near the Bull Ring you can find the Shambles (butcher's shops) and corn market topped with a tiny dot which is the Old Cross. St. Philip's church can be seen surrounded by the tree lined promenades which were popular at the time, and just to the left of the church is Bennett's Hill House and its own large garden and tree walks.

The text in the box at the top right of the map reads:

"BIRMINGHAM is a Market Town situated in the North-West part of the County of Warwick, [52-55] North Latitude, distant from London 88 computed and 116 measured miles, the present number of Houses are 7200 and Inhabitants 42550."

"This Town has been suppos'd to derive its Name from one Birming whose dwelling house formerly stood here, the termination Ham in the Saxon Language signifies home or dwelling place. In the reign of Ed. the Confessor it was the Freehold of Vlunine, and in that of William the Conqueror was in possession of William Fitz Assculf, who then resided at Dudley Castle. [..] by a Grant allowed them to hold a Market every Thursday on the Year, in the 35th of Hen: III a Charter was granted for two Fairs to be held annually, one to be held on the Eve of Holy Thursday, & the other on the Eve of St. John the Baptiste, but these Fairs are now held on Thursday in the Whitsun Week, and the other on Michaelmas day."

"King Edw. 6th on the 5th Year of his Reign erected a Free Grammar School for Boys, which is little inferior to any School in England as to its Revenues. St. Philip's Church was erected in the Reign of King George I who gave 600L towards finishing it. St. Bartholomew’s Chapel was lately built and consecrated on the Year 1750."

"This Town tho' very large and populous had only two churches, and two Chappels viz. St. Martin's and St. Philip's Churches, St. Bartholomew’s Chappel which belongs to St. Martin's Parish, and, St. John's Chappel in Deritend belonging to the Parish of Aston, but in the Year 1773, an Act was obtained to erect two more Chappels, one to be called St. Mary's, and the other St. Paul’s, the former of which was built and consecrated in the Year 1774. There are also Meeting houses for dissenters of almost all denominations, A Charity School for Boys and Girls, a large handsome Workhouse and two Theatres."

"This place has been for a long series of Years increasing in its Building, and is superior to most Towns in the Kingdom for its Elegance and regularity, as well as number and wealth of the Inhabitants, its Popularity is owing chiefly to the Industry of the People, who have for many Years carried on an [...] Trade in Iron and other Wares, especially in the Toy business which has gained the place a name and great esteem all over the World."

"In the Year 1768 an Act was obtained to make a Navigable Cut or Canal from this Town to the {Cottimls] and from thence to join the Wolverhampton Canal as [Autherly], which Canal was began in 1768 & completed in 1774."

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