Road Map of "Seventy Miles about Sheffield" - Information

This Map is a scanned image of “Pawson & Brailsford's Up-to-Date Enlarged Road Map of Seventy Miles about Sheffield”, and covers North Derbyshire (as far south as Ashbourne), and parts of Cheshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. The original is 37 inches by 15 inches, and undated; however, it must have been produced some time between 1893 and 1912, as the Totley Tunnel (between Sheffield and Grindleford) is marked, but none of the dams in the Derwent Valley are shown. The Totley Tunnel was finished in 1893, with the first trains using it in 1894. The Howden (northmost) Dam was built between 1901-12, and the Derwent between 1902-16 (Ref: Silent Valley by V.J. Hallam, 1983, ISBN 090505458 9 9). The concentric circles on the map represent miles from Sheffield.

The map belonged to my Uncle Frank REEVES (1907-1973). He was a lorry driver, so as you might imagine, it had a lot of use. Consequently it was in a poor state of repair when my mum inherited it, but - never being one to throw anything away, especially if it had sentimental value - she tucked it away in a cupboard. Once I started my Family History research, I sought out all the old maps we had, and I found this one was by far the best for locating “lost” placenames. It was, for instance how I located Toad Pool (or Toad Hole) in Haywood (Froggatt parish), a place of habitation during the 18th Century, probably for lead miners, but now fields and trees once more. Bawkes (or Balks) in Edensor parish is likewise shown, but like Toad Pool doesn't appear on maps today.

Toad Hole appears to have been quite a common place name, as there is more than one on this map. My first guess was that our ancestors weren't so squeamish, but in fact according to The Place-Names of Derbyshire (K. Cameron, Cambridge University Press, 1959), the derivation is not from Toad but originates as tod-hole[1] - Mr. Todd, the Fox. Whilst the settlement so named in Haywood has vanished, the one in Darley (on the main A6, between Bakewell and Matlock) has not, but is now known as Two Dales.

The map was therefore (to me) worthwhile repairing, and so I glued it to a backing of vilene (a fabric stiffener used in dressmaking), meanwhile wishing desperately I could make a copy, but a commercial photocopiers hardly seemed practical. This was back in the 1980s - little did I dream what has become possible today!

In order to put such a huge map online I had to scan it in several parts, then “stitch” it together. As you might imagine, it was impossible to ensure that each scan lined up exactly with the next, so I had to rotate some of the images by a fraction of a degree to realign them. As a result, some of the images are not as sharply focussed as they could be. This, and the physical condition of the original map is very much regretted, but I make no apology, as I believe it has an essential value over and above that of its shortcomings.

Perhaps in due course I will repair it electronically; I would certainly like to build a gazetteer from the place names and make a “point-and-click” list. I wonder if I can persuade any of you reading this to help, by taking a few of the 120x120 pixel squares and making a list of the places? There are “only” 750 squares to process, but I feel sure we could get there! It's probably an easier task than repairing it electronically, and overall likely to be more useful, especially for “lost” or difficult-to-find places. I did in fact repaired one small “tear” around the drowned village of Derwent, but it took me all one afternoon!

Having pieced it together, cutting it up again into squares was easy, with the help of PaintShop Pro v8.10 (JASC Software © 1991-2003). Then a few days to work on minor modifications to scripts which Malcolm[2] very kindly allowed me to “borrow” and voilà!

I hope browsing the map will give lovers of Derbyshire as much pleasure as it's given me.

[1] tod-hole ME (n), ‘fox's earth’, is found several times in later names, the earliest being Toodehoole 1571. (Ref: The Place-Names of Derbyshire, by K. Cameron, Cambridge University Press, 1959, p752).
[2] I am indebted to Malcolm Farmer for inspiration in making this map available online, and for my introduction to Perl scripting, which enables its presentation.
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