Bradley Workshop - the outside
My visit to the Bradley lock gate workshop offered an opportunity to have a good poke round the outside.
Starting as the very end of the canal, near the site of the old Bradley Lane bridge, there is an excellent view from the gate storage compound down the canal itself. Its probably four years since Mr Truth and I made an agonising two hours to battle our way through thick weed, but not so today - the channel appears fairly clear.
Behind the works there is a basin, with and entrance into two decommissioned dry docks which have been dry for over 50 years.
Working boat Scorpio was in residence together with a number of BW staff and volunteers who were keen to share their knowledge of the area. This basin was home to a strange aroma which had one visitor sniffing and looking as me suspiciously, but no - I hadn't been eating eggs! This smell was coming from the back of the squat outbuilding which forms the northern boundary to the site. There is more to this structure than meets the eye - its the old pumping house which used to house a big steam engine but today serves the same purpose via three huge electric pumps which have been keeping the Wolverhampton level in water for the last two years since the Chasewater Reservoir was emptied.
The pumphouse outfall
All this water comes from the flooded mines 650 feet beneath our feet. This relationship between the mines and the canals goes right back to the time when the canals were first built. The mines needed to pump their workings dry and the canals needed water. I bet they didn't expect to see the pumping continuing to serve an essential service 250 years later.