The maps of 1882, 1900 and 1927 are reproduced here (see tab to the left) with kind permission of the Ordnance Survey. The map of 1837 is reproduced with kind permission of Shropshire Archives.
The maps show the development of Castlefields and Ditherington from the small settlements gathered around the canal with the large open space that was ‘New Park’, to the built-up area that we know now. In the 1970s a significant element of the Victorian ‘face’ of Castlefields and Ditherington was lost with housing clearances and rebuilding. These maps show you much of what was originally there and open up our imagination to what life was like.
They do not show the condition of some of the houses though, which ranged from appalling and insanitary to perfectly decent candidates for modernisation. Nor do they explain why there were no pubs to the west of the Telegraph Vaults in New Park Street, or the Rainbow on North Street. The reason for this is that most of the housing development land came via the Shrewsbury Freehold Land Society, which was dedicated to temperance and placed restricted covenants on the sale of alcohol.
Comparing maps of different dates is in many ways a giant historic ‘spot the difference’ game. They are also a useful starting point for provoking the memories of people who have lived in, or knew, the area. You don’t have to be old to have memories though. It is only very recently that the Midland Red Garage/Depot has been demolished.
Shropshire Archives has a printed version of the 1900 map (Shrewsbury North) Sheet 34.07 available for purchase at £2.50. It is published by Alan Godfrey Maps and features an excellent potted history of the area by Barrie Trinder.
The aerial view photograph was probably taken in 1940 as part of a general aerial survey. The gas tank opposite the end of John Street is a very prominent feature.