Friday, 17 December 2010

Gospel Oak Branch - Wiggins Mill Pool Junction

Gospel Oak Branch
Wiggins Mill Pool Junction
December 2010

The Gospel Oak Branch Canal lies a few hundred hundred yards south of Moorcroft Junction, site of the Bradley Locks Line. This area was a hive of industry with branches and arms sprouting off in great profusion.

Wiggins Mill Pool - Gospel Oak Branch Canal

The Junction with the Gospel Oak Branch still looks like a proper junction, with a wide open pool of water and the arm still in water as it strikes off to the west alongside a stand of trees. The scene is enhanced by the presence of Leabrook Railway Basins, reed filled but still unmistakable with their hard edgings just waiting for a freight train to roll in and accept another transhipment before being hauled away on the Great Western Railway.

Leabrook Railway Basin - Opposite the Gospel Oak Branch Canal

This was an area where rail and canal worked in harmony for many years, each transport route having its own part to play in the hustle and bustle of the Black Country industry. As ever, the old maps from 1903 indicate a moon like landscape of abandoned pits, blast furnaces and brick works, each served by its canal inlet or basin. All this industry has gone and its hard to find even the foundations in the wilderness that remains.

Gospel Oak Branch Canal 1903

The Gospel Oak Branch stays in water for several hundred yards till Coppice Bridge, site of the Willkingsworth Furnaces, after which it is infilled.

The reedy remains of the Gospel Oak Branch canal at Coppice Bridge

More of the history and upper section tomorrow.

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