A copy of a rare map - which it is claimed changed the way we see the world - is going on show at Bilston Craft Gallery.

The 18th century William Smith map is one of the earliest examples showing the geology of England, Scotland and Wales.

Beautifully coloured and featuring enormous detail Smith's was the first national scale geological map - and the most accurate of its time.

The 'Colours Beneath Our Feet' map is going on show from Thursday 16 March at the Mount Pleasant gallery, which is open Thursdays to Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm.

For geologists, historians and map lovers, this is a rare opportunity to see the map, which is bigger than the size of a large dining table, and owned by Natural England.

Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "Not only is the map itself fascinating but so is the story of how it came about and how 18th century engineering led to new knowledge about the world underneath our feet."

Smith was a canal digger, and in 1793 made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, you could follow layers of rocks as they dipped, rose and fell.

It took him more than 20 years to chart the hidden underside of the earth and create the beautiful hand-painted map - but instead of it making him a wealthy man he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism.

  • released: Friday 10¬†February, 2017