1 The PLAN of BIRMINGHAM Survey'd in the Year 1731

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Description:The first printed map of Birmingham, The Plan of Birmingham, surveyed by William Westley in 1731, is dedicated to Warwickshire’s two Members of Parliament, the Honourable Edward Digby and William Peyto Esquire. It shows the town in the early years of George II’s reign with a population of over fifteen thousand, with two churches, a water mill and a manor house surrounded by a moat. Parts of the built-up area have gardens and orchards, even near the centre, and the town is closely surrounded by fields.
The Plan of Birmingham, William Westley, 1731, MAL13993 &c

The map is aligned with 108o west of north at the top of the map and covers an area of approximately 1.48 kilometres by 1.07 kilometres centred on the east side of High Street near Castle Street.

The British Library holds an original copy of the map collected by King George III [K.Top.42.78]. Birmingham Library holds later copies [MAL13993, &c] with the following annotation.
The plate in the possession of Theops Richards in the Year 1789. Nephew to Mr Westley.

William Westley, the surveyor, is believed to be the son of the architect and carpenter William Westley who laid out the Priory estate.

The town, though still recognisable from its Tudor survey, had acquired five new places of worship, twenty-five new streets, two steelhouses as well as a multitude of new homes

Between New Street, Newhall Lane (now Colmore Row), Bull Street and Welch End/Beast Market (now High Street), on Phillip’s land, the new church. St Phillips, consecrated in 1715, was surrounded on the south and east side by Temple Row. Running from New Street to Temple Row are Temple Street and Needless Alley. Walker’s cherry orchard still grew behind the houses on the east of Temple Row.

Between Bull Street, Steelhouse Lane, a new street called Stafford Street, Coleshill Street and Dale End, ex-Priory land, purchased by John Pemberton in 1698, a planned estate of eleven new streets was started at some date around 1700, dominated by The Square, a development of sixteen superior houses completed in 1707. Just east of the Square, Westley’s Row, named after the architect, (later London ‘Prentice Street) ran from Lower Priory to John Street. In addition were Upper Priory, Upper Minories [labelled ‘to the Square’], Pemberton’s Yard (Lower Minories), Upper and Lower Lichfield Street, Newton Street and Thomas Street. At the north end between Steelhouse Lane and Stafford Street ‘Land for building’ was on offer, some laid out in plots.

On the south side of New Street, between Swan Alley and Peck Lane, on land previously occupied by the Guildhall, stood the new Grammar School building, begun in 1731. Between Worcester Street, New Street, Peck Lane, Dudley Street and Edgbaston Street, on Colemore land, were three new streets, Old Meeting Street, home of a Presbyterian meeting house opened in 1689, Colemore Street and the Froggary, home to the synagogue. Between Dudley Street and Smallbrook Street, on Smallbrook land lay Tonks Street and Hinkley Row (later Old Inkleys). The area between the west end of New Street and Pinfold Street was occupied by Greenwood’s cherry orchard.

On the south side of Digbeth on Lower Mill Lane lay Town mill, the slitting and corn mill acquired by Sampson Lloyd II in 1728.

On the opposite side of the town, off Steelhouse Lane, between the road to Wolverhampton (Snow Hill) and the road to Stafford, (Lancaster Street) on what had been the Priory’s conygre or rabbit warrens, then owned by the Slaney and Weaman families, lay Slaney Street and Weaman Street connected by Farmer Street. Further east along Steelhouse Lane lay Kettle’s steelhouses, from which the street gained its name and on the corner of the Stafford road, on land owned by Lench’s Trust stood Almshouses.

On the south-east side of Coleshill Street, by the junction with Stafford Street which was marked by a sundial, lay Carless’ steelhouses.

Between Dale End and Moor Street, opposite Bull Street, on Phillip’s land, lay New Meeting Street home of a second Presbyterian meeting house, opened in 1725 and between Moor Street and Park Street on land once owned by the Guild, lay Freeman Street, home of the first Baptist chapel registered for worship in 1729 with to its north more ‘Land for building’ was on offer, some laid out in plots.

Notes at the base of the map read:
In the Year 1730 Birmingham Contained 30 streets, 100 Courts & Alleys, 2504 Houses, 15032 Inhabitants, one Church dedicated to St. Martin & a Chappel to St. John & a School founded by Edward 6th also 2 Dissenting Meeting Houses.
The Increase of this Town from 1700 to ye Year 1731 is as follows 25 streets, 50 Courts & Alleys, 1215 Houses, 8254 inhabitants together with a new Church, Charity School, Market Cross & 2 Meeting Houses for a further account see ye prospect.

Catalogue of British Town Maps: 19373


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