Sunday, 3 November 2019

Haines Branch Canal

Haines Branch Canal
November 2019

For many the name Haines will make you think of the car owners manual, an essential workshop guide for all those unreliable cars of the 1970's.

But there is the other Haines, a lost branch canal which exited the Walsall Canal immediately below the Ryders Green locks in the Great Bridge area of the Black Country. 

This short canal runs southwest for nearly a mile to reach the site of various collieries and brickworks, industry which has left a legacy of flooded extraction pits now known as the Balancing Lake in the Sheepwash Urban Park.

A surprising number of photos have been found of this reclusive waterway, mainly of the first half as far as Sheepwash Bridge. This will be because right into the 1960's boats carrying wood were making regular deliveries to Thomas Cox and Son Timberyard, and the sight of narrowboats plying their trade in something other than coal seems to have been something of a magnet for photographers.




Aerial view of the junction with the Walsall Canal

Haines Branch Canal into what is now the Sheepwash Park

Entrance to Haines Branch

Haines Branch entrance and Ryders Green Bottom Lock - Arthur Watts 1958

Haines Branch Junction opposite Railway Interchange basins

Entrance to the Haines Branch (Left)Arthur Watts 1957

Haines Branch entrance (right) with Ryders Green Locks ahead.

Bridge over Haines Branch - Alan Price 1969


Boats sunk at entrance to Haines Branch


Two views of the Haines Branch into Great Bridge


Great Bridge 1972 by Keith Hodgkins


Great Bridge

Great Bridge 1979 (Keith Hodgkins)


Great Bridge 1979 - Trevor Littlewood

Great Bridge 1979 - Trevor Littlewood 

The Haines Branch at Great Bridge in 1974


Great Bridge 1979 (Keith Hodgkins)


Cox timber yard

Boat trip setting off from Cox's timber yard (John Whitehouse collection)


Cox's timber yard by Alan Price




Coleshill and Cygnus on the Haines Branch - Alan Price

Cox's Timber yard by Alan Price

Haines Branch and Sheepwash Bridge 1969 when trade had ended - Alan Price


Cox's timber yard 1966 by Alan Price

The old Sheepwash Lane / Tame Road Bridge, Great Bridge

Sheepwash Bridge 1983 (Keith Hodgkins)

Canal Channel under Sheepwash Bridge 1983 (Keith Hodgkins)

The Flooded end of the Haines Branch (Old claypit and now Sheepwash Park)

Western End 1950

Planned incline from Haines Branch to NML (CRT Archive)



Plans for the Birchills Incline (CRT Archive)


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).

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