|Two terraces of housing off the Holyhead Road (former A5) in Llanfair PG.|
Penucheldre and (to the right Britannia) Terrrace. A typical type of housing throughout Wales, they provoke some addressing conundrums.
I know the house well. As a small child I visited frequently. It was only a short excursion by bus from Bangor, where we lived. My mother knew it much better: in the early part of WWII she and her grandmother lived here with my great-grandfather's sister. Even when I was small the village was not very large. When my mother was a girl there was much open land between the old part of the village (Pentre Uchaf) and the newer part (Pentre Isaf) next to the railway and main road to Holyhead. By the late 1970s the village had grown immeasurably with lots of overspill suburban housing for Bangor.
The big change between 1939 and the end of the '70s was that streets started to be named and houses numbered along the street. Prior to that building development had been piecemeal: most usually a mix of individual houses and most typical of many parts of Wales: named terraces. By this I mean short terraces of houses where the terrace rather than the closest street provides the name used in the address. Elsewhere there are plenty of terraced houses where individual terraces have names (often shown on a carved stone set into the brickwork of the terrace), but the numbering of houses solely relates to the street.
Terraces in Llanfair PG
In practice it is quite easy to pick out candidate terraces from aerial photos. I did a couple of passes over the buildings which had already been mapped on OSM and then cross-checked with old 6 inch maps at the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales (the Peoples Collection has more maps but no permalinks).
|Modern day Llanfair PG shown on Bing Imagery. buildings identified as terraces are from OpenStreetMap and are shown in orange with a halo (to aid visibility).|
War Memorial in the village is a useful source of historical addresses: virtually all are either individual house names or names of terraces. Amongst the terraces mentioned are:
- Crossing Terrace. next to the railway line and a named residential road today.
- Williams Terrace : off Ffordd Penymynnydd and behind Britannia Terrace.
- Bryn Goleu. Somewhere in Pentre-Uchaf, perhaps this building.
- Britannia Terrace. Fronting on to the Holyhead Road.
- Penucheldre Terrace. At right-angles to Holyhead Road and immediately to the W of Britannia Terrace.
- Min-y-ffrwd. Behind the Calvinist Methodist Chapel (and marked on the 6 inch map
|E end of Stryd Fawr (High Street) in Brynsiencyn. Two terraces can be seen in the middle distance on the right-hand side.|
Almost all the houses on this street date from late-1800s.
Terraces elsewhere in North WalesA similar pattern occurred in the larger quarrying towns such as Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog. In Bethesda all along the A5, the main road through the middle of the town, are long terraces with up to 20 houses, such as Rhes Douglas (Douglas Terrace). Again each has an individual name and numbers belong to the terrace not the main road. In the suburb of Gerlan the quarrymen's cottages are clearly arranged in groups of terraces: some, such as Gwyernydd Terrace, being individually named on the 6 inch map. The same applies to the other great slate town Ffestiniog (some possibly developed by another great-grandfather of mine). Here many terraces are also named and it is clear that a fair number were only accessible by footpaths.
It wasn't only villages and quarry settlements where this held true. I first really appreciated this as a distinct phenomenon in 2010 when I carried out a brief survey around the suburb of Garth in Bangor, Gwynedd. Two roads connect the town to what was originally a fishing settlement. The upper road (Ffordd Garth Uchaf or Upper Garth Road) was largely developed in the 1930s with semi-detached houses, but the lower road, Ffordd Garth was built-up earlier. Largely this was as a series of terraces with 8 3-storey houses in each terrace. Again house numbering was within the terrace. Much more recently there has been an attempt to impose regular house numbers on both roads. House names have been supplemented by regular house numbers on Ffordd Garth Uchaf, and a single numbering scheme has also been adopted for Ffordd Garth. One can judge how successful it is by the fact that dustbins have the terrace name & number in the terrace painted on them.
|Highways with "Terrace" in their name within Wales on OpenStreetMap|
We can be confident that many have been missed as much of the detail mapping of Wales has used Ordnance Survey resources (either Out-of-copyright or Open Data)
Terraces Further Afield
|A small terrace at Foxt, Staffordshire. Unusual in that one house was a pub.|
Ian Calderwood on Geograph via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA.
The Addressing ProblemHaving provided some background on the history and distribution of this form of housing in England & Wales, it's time to look at why they present some issues for tagging addresses on OSM.
Loosely we can divide these terraces into 4 categories:
- Those where the terrace name has been transferred to a standard residential road.
- Those where some distinct vehicle access is provided, for instance by an unsigned service road.
- Those accessed solely by a footway
- Those fronting onto a street which has a different name from the terrace, and house numbering is only continuous in the terrace.
It is the 4th case which provides problems in the context of the Karlsruhe scheme. Essentially I know of two different strategies for resolving the conundrum:
- Store the name of the terrace in addr:housename and the name of the road in addr:street. (This is actually what Royal Mail do in their address file).
- Add the name of the terrace as addr:street and make the houses members of an associatedStreet relation for the road.
In general addr:flats is used for subsidiary numbers which share the same primary address. This distinction is needed because often a block of flats will both have a name and a number. It also has the advantage of not shoehorning different types of address objects into a single tag.
I'm sure that Frederik Ramm, the creator of the Karlsruhe Schema would say that the former approach should be used. The original intention was to store pure postal addresses after all. However, postal addresses are not the be-all-and-end-all of addressing. I've written before about how a Procustean approach to addresses, however convenient for the postal authority or company, is often unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. As the Karlsruhe Schema is what we have had for a long time on OSM, it is this which tends to be co-opted for other addressing needs.
The Mapping ProblemThis post started out from the viewpoint of how to provide accurate addresses for this distinctive housing pattern. In the course of writing it I also realise that they also present a mapping challenge.
Land Registry Prices Paid ([not at all open
In Nottingham we know that many of the residual terraces were not named in OS Open Data products, and it was only around 2013 and 2014 that we identified a number in inner city areas (largely developed before WWI). Most of these were found in surveys conducted before our monthly pub meetings. Our usual meeting place, The Lincolnshire Poacher, was chosen in part because of transport links (it's close for buses to Derby, Mansfield and the Ashfields), but also because there is a very broad mix of different urban development within 10-15 minutes walk. Many of the terraces within this area are not even obvious from residential streets, but come to light because there are odd gaps between streets or buildings which are not obviously accessible from the street, Field papers were invaluable for spotting many of these.
In Wales we don't have as that many mappers so they are less likely to be spotted as part of in-fill surveys. Also terraces are fairly common in small rural towns and villages as well as in the post-industrial parts of South Wales. We have additional resources in terms of open data and imagery now, so perhap sthis should be another mapping project for these times!