View Full Version : PG Historical: Sub Districts

15-10-2009, 15:35
The sub-districts have come into existence as part of a long battle between site members and myself (one which I am losing). Initially the site was set up with just the postal towns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_town) and the former postal counties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_postal_county) that roughly date to 1974.

This led to constant mithering from our more geographically aware members and a constant reply off me of like it or lump it. As time has gone forward though we have gradually adjusted it based on constant feedback.

The initial change was created when we had some nice flash maps made to allow members to visually shift what county they wanted, at which point we moved slightly away from the postal counties.

Next we created the initial release of sub-districts, which basically were just shown below the towns to try and concentrate the listings better geographically. At this point we were very Spartan about our interpretation of Sub-district so that they had to be above a certain size, lots of complaints that we should create more sub-districts.

Next the sub-districts were given their own pages as well as appearing on town pages. This led to complaints that the sub-districts were in the wrong counties, as they were stuck in their parent towns counties.

Next we moved completely away from the old postal counties to the counties you see on the site today, and at the same time dumped the old flash map and went over to using Google Maps to show the county divisions, it is a lot slower, but it means we have more control over any boundary changes we want to make.

And the latest iteration is that the sub-districts are now their own towns, and so can be seperated from their parent towns into new counties, in fact it is now possible for pubs to have their own counties.

Anyway, you may gather from the bitter tone of that that I am not a fan, for me the maps or search are good enough, the site should be about pubs not getting the most up to date electoral borders. Still if it makes the site more enjoyable to use I guess I should suck it in and get on with it. :)

Long and short of it is though, we don't know a great deal of the country and as such are reliant on you to let us know about the sub-districts, they are part of a long evolution of the site and a very recent development. So do feel free to correct them, when you give us the corrections, basically we check if the placename appears on Google Maps when slightly zoomed out, and that it appears to not be contained by the Postal Town it is attached to.

Soup Dragon
15-10-2009, 22:21
You are not really going to win with this - Gt Wyrley does not come under Walsall, but I can live with it - the quality of the maps you have can cut through the worry of is it in Birchills or Leamore. Its just good fun to annoy you with it from time to time:p

15-10-2009, 22:47
I hate you all, damn users, this site would work fine if you weren't all just finding fault with it. ;)

I should have said, we have stuck with the Postal Towns through this all, and as such all the sub-districts are still attached to the Postal Towns. I don't see us giving up on this as I figure people must use it when setting up their address if they are in the area.

If someone is looking for an area they don't know the postal town for there is the site search.

16-10-2009, 12:23
I have never really understood the "village" tag, OK I can understand when it is a village in the middle of the country, but for instance Portsmouth does not have real villages, it does have, in common with loads of other cities, area, like London would have Westminster, Kensington etc

How is that arranged, or are "villages" the general tag for city areas as well/ :confused:

16-10-2009, 12:30
I honestly have no idea what a real village is :confused:, which is why we try and use sub-districts as the description on the site these days. The terms are synonymous where used on the site though, and the choice of word is probably a hint of how old the page design is. So a village/sub-district is a distinct area that is not within a postal town.

We are begining to get a really excellent coverage of the country in terms of members of the site now, so I am hoping that you will all move it towards what you think is best within the constraints of Postal Towns.

16-10-2009, 16:04
At the risk of sounding obvious, a village is a settlement between a hamlet and a town. Now a hamlet is a small collection of houses, or other buildings. Back in the day, to qualify as a town a settlement used to have to have all 5 of the following: a church, a pub, a post office, a Woolworths, and 1 other which temporarily eludes me. This used to work fine, until the demise of said Woolworths. I can sympathise with Conrad, for I have difficulty sometimes determining which county a place is in.

16-10-2009, 16:14
NGB, you may think that is obvious, but honestly that is the best description of a hamlet/village/town I have actually seen given.:)

17-10-2009, 08:25
Visit my neck of the woods and you will find easily defined hamlets, villages,towns and cities. A Post Office/ shop and a Pub was a good sign that the place was a village, it may have had a garage to. However lots villages no longer have these aminities.They have lost them in my lifetime.My first wife and I ran a sub P.O/ shop/ petrol station and garage repair shop back in the'70s until it was no longer profitable. That village now has nothing but many more houses. My town of Bromyard is likely to be a lot smaller than named suburbs of larger towns or cities.

Oggwyn Trench
17-10-2009, 11:21
As im sure Arkrite and Eddie86 will confirm the Shropshire , Herefordshire , Worstershire , Wales borders are a nightmare to work out .
Newtowns dont help either Telford just used to be the south of the town , before expanding and taking over Wellington and Oakengates , now it appears to taking over half of Shropshire , it will soon border Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton .

17-10-2009, 12:58
There were odd bits of detached Herefordshire within the south Shropshire boundary. Tenbury also changed its county alleigance recently.
It was common when I was in the police force to cross other force/ county boundaries and in the process foul up a small local operation out of ignorance. The position of postal sorting offices cause problems with eronious postcodes which I think was the start of Hay on Wye's problem. Places often have the same names e.g Newton,Stoke, just little places but easy to confuse withplaces at the other end of the county.
The Welsh /English border is a World and a Law unto itself. It takes a lot of getting used to and it is the newcomer who must adapt.

17-10-2009, 17:37
At the risk of opening up any more cans of worms I'll chuck in a few thoughts.

One of the main functions of the address system has to be to promote ease of searching. I want to be able to find reviews of pubs within a given area so I want the addresses to be accurate, consistent and reflect where the pubs physically are, e.g. for a pub crawl. Obviously accuracy and consistency are down to the quality of the information supplied, one man's Brixton is another man's East Clapham. I don't know the constraints on your database but it looks like there are only a limited number of fields for addresses:- street, town, post code and post town if it's a sub district, one extra for an area within a town would be useful. For example if I were planning a pub crawl of the Fratton area of Portsmouth but don't know the post code I can't search on FRATTON but only PORTSMOUTH, I then need to check out the maps or addresses to find their proximity, the local pubs list is a good in this respect but only once you've found a starting point. All cities and most towns have distinct areas but on the down side in the villages I know, you only need the pub and village name, nearest post town is normally useful but as they are there for the convenience of the Post Office they sometimes can be counter productive.

17-10-2009, 18:25
We have the 1 extra field you are talking about, although it is not taken into account in the search. So we have:
postal town

The name, sub-district, town and postcode are incorporated in our search, that can be changed easily and indeed extra fields can be added easily.

To do that sort of thing though it has to improve the quality of the site, so if we added regions to the search, that would be a lot more false positives to be returned. We could create a advanced search feature, but again that really just adds complication to the site which people then have to be expected to learn.

I think making a region more prominent will only complicate things myself, you could search on it and it might show a list of the pubs there (and anything else that matched the term), but the region itself would not have a page and would not show up anywhere else except on the pubs page.

As to finding a starting point in the region, we do incorporate that into the search, if you search on a region, so for instance Bishopston Bristol (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/search.php?search=bishopston+bristol) we check with Google Maps if it has that location, if it does, we bring up that location and show the local pubs in that map frame. I don't see us improving on the Google quality of result.

Hope that explains my thinking on that one. As ever feel free to keep them coming or correct me, I would rather we try and keep the site as usable as possible.

As a slight addendum, the map points are contained using a longitude and latitude, which we initially guess based purely on postcode, which is why our system is so zealous about needing a postcode. So it is really important that is as correct as possible, and so helpful where the users then make these map points correct.

18-10-2009, 12:35
Oh, I assumed "region" was like South East, West Country, Ooop North etc :o

maybe rename to district ? What is sub district then?

Confused of Lovedean :confused:

18-10-2009, 13:01
Oh, I assumed "region" was like South East, West Country, Ooop North etc :o

maybe rename to district ? What is sub district then?

Confused of Lovedean :confused:

When I used the following I was just trying to be brief:

postal town

In terms of how a pub exists on our system it has information for:

pubname - The name of the pub
pubstreet - A street address for the pub; sometimes this will contain more information like (some hall, some street)
region (district) - The region within it's town/sub-district, so taking an earlier example this is where we would put Fratton which if I understand correctly is a district of Portsmouth, but not its own town, hamlet, village, etc.
sub-district - A town, hamlet, village, etc covered by a postal town, but not a district of the town
postal town - The recognised postal town of the pub, usually dictated by postcode
county - County of the pub, currently dictated by sub-district (I think, would need to double check)
postcode - postcode of the pub
longitude - longitude of the pub
latitude - latitude of the pub
Sorry I can see how that would have been confusing :), I wrote it in a rush and didn't give much thought to the language, it was meant more as an indicator of what information we keep about individual pubs, I actually forgot to include county on the original as well

18-10-2009, 17:13
I got what you meant by Region, Conrad and I take your point about false positives. I'm still groping my way round the site so I'll find the best ways to do things and use features in the fullness of time. I certainly don't have any major gripes with the way the site works otherwise I wouldn't be here ;)

18-10-2009, 18:20
Thats good, I think a lot of users of the site don't know 'how it works' and there are no instructions.

Whilst I will clearly be convinced it all works fantastically as I have written it, I do need reality checks from the users, it may be that we are doing it right and need to find ways to make things clearer, it may be that we just do have it wrong, so I am glad for all the input, it means I can communicate a little of how it works, and see what people aren't getting, or want added.

18-10-2009, 19:14
I quite like how it works. The only way I'd improve it would be to have a google map come up with the results on in. So when you search Hay on Wye, in the list you get the Hollybush, Baskerville Arms (and seven stars, by the way, isn't a pub anymore, just a bnb)

When you search for 'pubs in hay on wye' in google maps, you get a list of the pubs by the side of a map, marking each one with a letter.

If, rather than just a list, you could add this map, then it may help slightly. Personally I don't have a problem with a list, as I can start generic and work down.

18-10-2009, 20:40
I think the way it works is brilliant, but I am biased :D. More realistically, of the pub sites I have seen, I think we have got the most usable one for finding pubs, and then looking round the nearby area.

I am not sure everyone uses it the way I had in mind when I built it, and I am aware it is frequently not intuitive. This is also an aspect of the site that has frustrated people who want it to be as accurate as possible, so I like the opportunity to explain why we did what we did, and hear if people can think of ways to make it clearer/better.

I marked the Seven Stars (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/14266/) as closed.

In a search I wouldn't show the results on the map personally, as if you searched for the Red lion for example you would have results for the whole country. It is something I think would be more useful in an advanced search.

For the specific example of Hay-on-Wye (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/towns/hay-on-wye/powys/), if you are in a town and click on the checkbox above the map that says 'Show map points' (don't try this with a big city unless you have a fast computer, or are using Chrome), then hover over a pubs name, the point should show up on the map. This feature will work when filtering pubs as well - allowing you to work with a subset. Remember to untick the box after you play with it as the setting is stored and may slow down your experience of the site.