The Lyng Maths Trail

The Lyng is an identifiable place in the history of West Bromwich, being first settled in the late 17th century and then absorbed into the industrial heartland of the Black Country during the Industrial Revolution. In the 1960's slum clearance and redevelopment swept away the legacy of that period, replacing it with the dwellings evident today, which to many lack a sense of place or identity. In spite of this, one very noticeable feature of the Lyng, which remains today, is a very strong community spirit. The Maths Trail uses important landmarks on the Lyng estate and takes mathematical inspiration from them.
Over the years this estate became rundown and a refurbishment program was started. Detailed resident consultation was held throughout 1996 and 1997, producing a clear picture of needs and aspirations. In order to satisfy the long-term ambitions of residents it was agreed that comprehensive redevelopment was the key to generating the right kind of opportunities, encouraging a more economically active mix of people onto the Lyng. This would not only breath new life into the Lyng but also benefit the wider proposals being developed for West Bromwich Town Centre.

Collected reminiscences from the
Lyng History Project

to be published shortly
The Lyng got its name because fields of heather (or 'lyng) used to grow there. In about 1850 they discoverd coal in West Bromwich. this meant the opening of coal mines and more factories. The plan was to have factories on one side and houses on the other side, so that working men had less far to walk
The houses were all terraced. Most consisted of two rooms upstairs, one down and a small kitchen. There was a coalhouse under the stairs and party yards for 4 families, containing a toilet. Although all squashed together, the houses were spotless and all the brass polished.
To meet the needs of the working men and their families a school, churches and chapels were built, There were also pubs, fish and chip shops, greengrocers, a blacksmith, butchers and grocers shops. Regular deliveries of bread, milk, and coal were also made by horse and cart. Between the two wars people wanted better transport and bigger kitchens and so plans were drawn up for the redevelopment, including houses, flats and maisonettes.

Starting the Process

To put the capacity building principles into practice, it was decided that quality must be the driving force. Bowater House, a nine-storey tower block on Moor Street, was selected as an ideal project to practically demonstrate the vision for the Lyng.

The scheme uses photovoltaic cladding to generate electricity, and has received a National Home Energy Rating of the Year (or 'H.E.N.R.Y.') Award.

Other innovations included the use of local labour and materials and advanced acoustic flooring,as well as security and fire detection systems. The building provides a striking landmark on Moor Street, one of the principal routes into West Bromwich, as well as being visible for miles.

To enhance the community participation in this project, Jubilee Arts were invited to work with Bowater House's residents in developing a visual representation of their thoughts on the Lyng. The resulting artwork from this 'reminiscence project' is now displayed in the entrance foyer. The project's achievements have also been the basis of a website at the local secondary school as well as teaching packs for science at Key Stage 2 (primary level) and Key Stage 4 (secondary level).
Following the success of Bowater House in providing a clear direction for the Lyng, two further major proposals were put forward
a development of 12 lnteger' flats 3 houses and a 44 unit Frail-Elderly Scheme.

Community Art
An example of community artwork

The Integer concept, standing for 'intelligent and green', is based on a holistic approach to development, combining environmental and technical innovation. Combined heating, greywater recycling and off-site fabrication of the timber frame will all be key features. The Lyng 'is acting as the first commercial pilot of this scheme following a successful demonstration project.

The Frail-Elderly Scheme is designed to meet specialist needs and encourage independent living, but with support and assistance on hand when required. Modern external design will provide yet another landmark building, incorporating innovative heating and insulation systems as well as excellent space standards.
The Maths Trail uses important landmarks on the Lyng estate and takes mathermatical inspiration from them.


Anthony Chadderton - LEA Adviser

Bob Brown - EMU

Caroline Osborne - Fitzwarren School

Jeff Perrins - Park Hill Primary School

Martin Duke - Shireland Language College

Mollie McPherson - Sandwell Urban Form

Sue Jackson - Arden School

Wendy Collins - Dartmouth High School

Wendy McAndrews - Harvills Hawthorn Primary

Cath Rindl - Holy Trinity CE Primary

Andy Dark - Park Hill Primary School

Anthony Chadderton - Senior Primary Adviser