23 May 2008


The mystery of Mapstone

If anyone can shed any light on what this building was before or the meaning of 'Mapstone', I'd be ever so grateful.

This building is on Ladywell Walk in the Chinese Quarter. The businesses at the bottom of the photo are Thai and Cantonese restaurants.

Officially recognised in the 1980s, the Chinese Quarter is an unofficial section of Birmingham with a large number of Chinese restaurants, clubs and organisations. The Chinese population was initially due to immigrants after the Second World War. Birmingham's first Chinese restaurant, Tong Kung, opened in 1956 at Holloway Head.


babooshka said...

This is completely ne to me. Would not have known which city, nevermind area this was.

I have friends at Sanwell council so I will see if they can shed some light on this. I am aslo going to poinnt them in the direction of your sterling work here. You really are doing a great job and I am going to mention you in my next post.

ShutterSpy said...

Wow! Thanks so much!!! :-D

It could really do with some publicity, although it did manage about fifteen visitors yesterday :-D

Stan Mapstone said...

The building was the premises of the Mapstone Tool Co. Ltd. owned by Frank Arthur Mapstone, a distant relative of mine.The company was wound up on the 11th May 1920.

Stan Mapstone said...

I must apologise as the Mapstone Tool Co. Ltd. was in Lower Loveday Street. Looking closely at the photograph there is a 'M' before the Mapstone so this will be Michael Mapstone- Newsagent , and Bookseller. I was told that the name was prominently displayed at the top of their tall business premises in High Street,Birmingham. Could Ladywell Walk have originally been High Street?

Stan Mapstone said...

The retail business closed before 1939, but the firm carried on as wholesalers and newspaper distributors -the only ones then in B'ham apart from W.H.S.
They moved to Wrottesley Street, but I don't know if they still exist.

ShutterSpy said...

Many thanks for your resoponse! Although, if it was supposed to be located in High Street, I don't think it can be: although it matches the description, High Street is where Marks & Spencer and WHSmith are now (unless there were two High Streets).

Stan Mapstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan Mapstone said...

Checking with the old telephone directories it was the retail business of Newsagents that was at 52 High Street, and it was the wholesale business in Ladywell Walk.

Bergson said...

Hello I have a blog for the tutoriels that asks me my friends.

To increase the photographs

I excuse myself but I thus speak very badly English the explanation is in French;

but there are images which are in several languages

Stan Mapstone said...

I would very much like to add this photo to my Mapstone Genealogical web site, as it would be of great interest to the Mapstones world wide. Would you please be able to give me permission to do this?

ShutterSpy said...

It'll probably be okay, but could I please see the website first? :)

Stan Mapstone said...

The web site is www.mapstone.org

ShutterSpy said...

I don't see why not :)

Would you mind including with it a small link to this site?

Stan Mapstone said...

Thank you, I will add a note that the photo is courtesy of Birmingham Daily Photo with a link to the site

ShutterSpy said...

Okay. Thanks :-D

It's nice to know that someone actually wants to use my photos! :)

Theresa said...

Hi, I just found this and wanted to let you know that I actually worked at Mapstone's from 1976 to 1979. Mr Michael was a lovely boss and it was a nice place to work. The company closed down during the 1980's.

shiners said...

I have an actual black and white original framed pcture of m.mapstone ltd, and its next to the mews theatre and ansells brewery then, with all the trams outside!
Fantastic to look at!

Anonymous said...

M.Mapstone ltd was a newspaper wholesalers based on Wrottesley st thet ceased trading in 1989 after being sold to wh smith ltd

Mapstone said...

I used to work at M.Mapstone Ltd for nearly 30 years until it closed
in 1988. It was the largest family owned Wholesale distributors in the UK. It distributed to Newsagents in the South side of Birmingham,
Birmingham was divided into sections for the main distributors
WH Smith, Aston & Taylors and M.apstone. The business originated in
Bristol in the 19th Century, moved to High Street, Birmingham in 1906.
They owned their own garage in Pershore Street, along side the skating
rink and a tenpin bowling alley some years ago. It was a very busy
area for the Newspaper distributors at that time, the Newspapers used
to be collected from the old New Street Station. Business ceased
in 1988. I was the last member of staff to leave. I knew the owner
very well, Mr. Michael Mapstone, he passed away 2003, his Sister and
last of the Mapstones passed away last year.

Anonymous said...

Really interested to see this as a Mapstone descendant. Thanks for posting the picture and to the commentators.

Unknown said...

Hi there,

My mum used to work at Mapstones for a few years before it closed and seeing your post she's listing everyone she knew there. She loved it.Her names Patricia Rose David, you might remember her?

Mapstone said...

Following my previous comments, 'Hi to anyone that was an employee at M.Mapstone Ltd. I have lost contact with almost everyone that worked there. I was employed there from 1959 up to 1988 when it was closed. Michael and Barbara Mapstone i knew very well as close friends, they have sadly passed away now.
In response to the previous commentator i did know Pat, i would think
she would have known me to, ie Mike Hill.

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