Birmingham 1778Map Description Hansons plan of Birmingham 1778
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This famous plan of Birmingham, now available to to order in a range of products in association with Birmingham Archives Services and Heritage is stunningly presented. Within almost 30 years from Samuel Bradford’s survey to Hanson’s survey, a street pattern very similar to that of today was emerging, buildings had now spread from Colmore Row out as far as the new church of St Pauls, built under a new Act of 1774, and designed by Roger Eykyn of Wolverhampton. The survey is adorned with illustrations of key buildings.
At the bottom right, Henry Bradford’s emerging Warner Fields Estate is featured, from the river Rea to Bordesley. Bradford Street ends at the river; the watercourse not only represented a physical barrier but marked the limit of the estate and the parish boundary with Aston.
At the top, Birmingham’s long awaited Hospital is shown, however the establishment would not open in Summer Lane until 1779, as building work had not recommenced until as late as 1777. Work on the hospital building had started back in 1766, and then later in that same year suspended due to lack of funding. At the time of Dr Ash’s proposal for a hospital back in 1765, with factory and mine owners realising the value of water transport, potential investors had their attention elsewhere. The “Canal Age”, although short, would be responsible for opening up Britain to the Industrial Revolution. Hanson’s survey heralds the arrival of the canals in Birmingham. The towns thriving industry is now connected with the coal mines of the Black Country as well as the Staffordshire and Worcester canal via Tipton, Bilston and Smethwick.
Hanson’s survey not only features the dawn of the canal age, but also for the first time he records the place name on his survey that almost everyone now associates with Birmingham, the Bull Ring, marked in the open market space in front of St Martin’s. The area up to now had been previously referred to as Corn Cheaping in reference to the corn market on the site.