Jesson's Branch Canal, BCN
Part of the Ridgeacre Branch network
The Jesson's Branch is the least of the canals which made up the dense cluster of waterways fanning out from Riders Green Junction. This canal was no more than 400 yards long, branching off the the south of the Halford Branch Canal at Church Lane to reach pitheads which lie beneath the contemporary Ruskin Street, and the Ridgeacre Tubeworks which occupied its western bank. These mines were sunk to reach the thick 'thirty foot' seam of high grade coal which formed the foundation, quite literally, of the Black Country.
Start of the Jesson's Branch
I can safely say that there are absolutely no visible remains of this short waterway and yet, as is so often the case, it's line is as apparent as the nose on you face, providing you know where to look. I am referring to the canal, not you nose, of course!
Having passed under Church Lane you would have found a junction with the Jesson 's Branch with a bridge spanning its entrance, carrying Gladstone St. In 1890 this was no more than an access bridge to the site of an ironworks but was later rebuilt to carry a wider road serving the victorian housing which now occupies the area.
Jesson's Branch terminus
The line of the canal is still present in the shape of the car park built to the rear of some new flats, and an inspection along the line reveals that the practice of avoiding the canal line when building has continued all the way to it's terminus at Greswold Street, with the obligatory tramway collecting coal from further afield.
This isn't the most illuminating of canal hunts, but I felt it was worth an entry of it's own just for completeness sake. I doubt that many of the residents have any idea that they have unwittingly bought into the canalside living concept.