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Monday 7 July 2008

A case of mistaken identity at Backbarrow?

Some time ago I had a phone call from a chap in Backbarrow to inform me of a memorial, marked on the Ordnance Survey map, that seemed not only to have disappeared but which nobody in the village had any knowledge of. In doing so he presented me with yet another mystery.

The words 'War Memorial' are quite clearly marked on the 1973 1:10,000 map covering South Lakes at SD 35555 54635.

However, on the First Edition Lancashire sheet 12.2 - 1:2,500 surveyed in 1888 and published in 1890 there is no indication of a memorial but there are the letters 'W.M', very close to where a memorial is indeed marked on the earlier map.

Online conversation with the Charles Close Society, a bunch of map enthusiasts, has confirmed that the letters 'WM' on an OS map normally signifies a weighing machine. But before accepting the fallibility of the Ordnance Survey and entirely abandoning the notion of a memorial it would be good to know what all the other editions of the OS survey of Backbarrow indicate. So if you have any old maps - check it out and let me know!


Anonymous said...

The suspect WM on the old map at Backbarrow is in the midst of the old iron works. This is an archaeologically important industrial site. The WM on the map at SD 35555 84635 would indeed most likely be a weigh bridge as its right next to the furnace. The people to contact would be the Leven Valley History Society.

Louis said...

The entry on the 1973 OS map was pointed out to me some years ago by the Leven Valley group! I queried it with the Charles Close Society discussion group. Though many members felt that it was indeed a weighing machine some doubts must remain. Various re-surveys and associated note-books should have validated the entry and made it accurate but mistakes do occasionally creep in. This is probably one of them. However, given the absence of physical or documentary evidence one way or the other a question mark must remain.