Monday, 14 November 2011

Whitmores Arm - BCN

Whitmores Arm - BCN
October 2011

Whitmores Arm was a short private canal which joined the Farmers Bridge flight of locks between locks seven and eight under a cast iron bridge, which still carries the towpath. 

Map from Richard Chester-Browne's 'The Other 60 Miles'

I never find this description very informative so for those with a less than encyclopedic knowledge of the BCN, its the pound with the fancy new arched footbridge next to the modern flats on Fleet Street.

Entrance to Whitmores Arm

Canal entrance to Elkington Electroplating Works

The arm was started in 1808 on land leased from the Colmore family, initially progressing as far as Caroline Street and then later in about 1850 it was extended to George Street. Finally the canal progressed on into a sandstone quarry and kinked to the west.

 Whitmores Arm to warehouse on George St

Whilst the canal is now completely filled in but the section as far as George Street was in water till the second world, as evidenced by the bricked up fire doors in the remaining bridge wall. The section between George Street and Caroline Street was lost in the 1950's but the last section remained within the Museum of Science and Industry before it too was torn down and the museum moved to Millenium Point.

Bridge parapet on George Street

Today the line remains visible, straight as a die through the taller buildings on each side with two fine old warehouses still visible. First is the listed Elkington Electroplating Works which stands alone and deserted in the plot next to the Farmers Bridge flight, where the museum used to stand. This building includes a bricked up archway in its gable end which would have been a loading bay with the canal immediately to its eastern side.

Whitmores Arm line into the sandstone quarry - kinks left at the brick wall

The second warehouse is at the far end on George Street, this one sitting on the eastern side of the canal and now occupied as a rather attractive private home.

This provides a very cursory history of the arm. A much fuller account can be found on the BCN Society's Boundary Post written by Ray Shill.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We know it well - I've always wondered where that arm used to lead...

Sue, nb Indigo Dream