Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Halford Branch Canal

The Halford and Jesson Branch Canals

OK BCN enthusiasts, you are in for a bit of a treat. Hugh Potter has very kindly given me access to his extensive collection of black and white photos taken around the BCN in the early 1970s.

It has been an absolute delight to work through them, adding dates and places to the scanned images plus sorting them into my slightly idiosyncratic sub divisions of the BCN.

Among the wealth of images which show the BCN as I first encountered it in the early 1970's, there are some absolute gems which show built remains on some of the "other 60 miles' and represent the very first ground level photos I have found of these lost miles, and in particular there are a couple of images from the elusive Halford Branch near West Bromwich.

For some reason this particular area of the BCN has been particularly well covered by aerial photographs, so it is possible to cover every angle of this backwater. The area has been totally transformed in the 70 years since these aerial photographs were taken, so this intense focus on a small area gives good sense of how the Black Country looked. You can almost smell the smoke from all those chimneys!

The entire Halford Branch Canal seen from above the Ridgacre Branch

The junction of the Halford Branch with the Ridgacre Branch

BCN Tug entering the Halford Branch in 1948

A wider view of the same panorama

The end of the Ridgacre Branch

The junction from another angle

Halford Branch looking to the Ridgacre Branch 1970 - Hugh Potter

Sunken boat on the Halford Branch in 1974

 I am not sure exactly where this photo was taken, but I suspect it was on the section to the north of Church Lane.... unless you know differently (leave a comment!)

Halford Branch crossed in two places by Church Lane

The first Church Lane Bridge in 1974

This is the bridge over Church Lane with the foreground now sunken hard standing.  Its location is apparent from the hump in the road.

Junction into the Jesson Branch 

A wider view of the Jesson Branch

Line of the complete Jesson Branch

The terminus used to be beyond Church Lane (bottom right)

The scene today

Click here to return to the Ridgacre Area index page

The above photos have been assembled from various sources, including those freely found on the internet. My thanks go to the many photographers alive and dead who have contributed to this collection and in so doing, are keeping the memory of these lost canals alive. These images are reproduced for ease of research are are not necessarily the property of this blog, and as such should not be used for commercial gain without the explicit permission of the owner (whoever that may be).


Michael said...

From Michael, Liam's Dad. The aerial image titled Halford Branch where Church Lane crosses the branch over 2 bridges. A bus is shown. This is probably the West Bromwich Corporation No 29. I used this bus to go to school in the late '50's/early '60's. The bridge was next to Johnson's Iron & Steel, the red hot ingots & girders rolled were visible from the bus as they rolled off the mill.

Andy Tidy said...

Hi Michael - what a lovely recollection. I think you can guess what I have been up to during the lockdown....Hope you are well.