Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Anson Branch Canal

Anson Branch Canal


Strictly speaking the Anson Branch Canal forms part of the Walsall Canal rather than the Bentley Canal, but as the through route for the Bentley Canal ran along its southern end, I have taken the liberty of attaching it to the Bentley Canal homepage.

The Anson Branch was something of a slow burn, being approved by Parliament in 1768, but not actually built till 1830, after having been surveyed by Telford.

It was built to reach limestone workings at Pouk, and an extension was planned at the far end  beyond Reedswood, but only a short stub was built supplemented by a tramway. The minerals were not very extensive and by 1890 the waterway had fallen into a decline. Its. fortunes were revived when the Birchills Power Station was built in 1922, supplying up to 10m gallons of cooling water each day.

The section north of the Bentley Canal was abandoned to navigation in 1956, and the route was barred by the construction of the M6 in 1970. Whilst the lower section below the Bentley was closed in 1961, small craft were able to reach the M6 till the mid 1970's.



Anson Branch from above Birchills Power Station 1948

Reedswood end of the Anson Branch





Map of Reedswood Basin


BCN Cottage 248 at the end of the Anson Branch - Geoff Taylor



The design for the Incline (CRT archive)

Birchills Incline design (CRT Archive)

Great Bridge Incline design (CRT archive)







BCN Cottage 248 at Reedswood



Reedswood Basin with Bradford Arm (left)

Reedswood in 1986





Bentley Lane (Reedswood) Bridge

A view from Bentley Lane Bridge "back in the day"- Geoff Taylor


Reedswood Bridge - P Weaver HNBC

With Reedswood power station

Between Reedswood and the M6 after power station

South from Reedswood to M6 in 1986

Bloxwich Lane Bridge

Bradford Bridge (M6) to Bloxwich Lane

Bloxwich Lane to M6 - P Weaver HNBC

Bradford Bridge - P Weaver HNBC



The M6 culvert just after the motorway was completed



M6 1975 (Nick Yarwood)


The end of the road after the M6 was built


M6 1974

Bradford Bridge (now under the M6) (HNBC -P Weaver collection)


The Anson Branch Canal where Walsall Showcase Cinema now stands

Bentley Mill Bridge to M6 in 1986

1976 - John Adey


North towards Reedswood Bridge - P Weaver HNBC

Anson Branch towards Reedswood



A more distant view of Birchills Power Station with the above bridge in the middle distance


An older Bentley Mill Bridge

Bentley Mill

Bentley Mill


Looking back towards the Bentley Junction

Looking south from Bradford Bridge - P Weaver HNBC

Dredging south of Bradford Bridge - P Weaver HNBC

A Jack Haddock image of the same stretch of canal





Towards Bentley Mill Bridge

Bradford Bridge from Bentley Mill - P Weaver HNBC



Bentley Junction

The entrance to the Bentley Canal

Bentley Branch to Bentley Lane Bridge 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Bentley Canal 1984





Bentley Junction 1975 (Nick Yarwood)

Anson embankment near James Aqueduct 1986

Possibly above James Aqueduct on Anson Branch

Anson Junction on the Walsall Canal

Anson Junction 1986

Anson Junction 1957

Anson Junction 1979


Anson Branch to first bridge (Hugh Potter)



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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