Friday, 24 April 2020

Cannock Extension Canal Home Page

Cannock Extension Canal 
including Churchbridge Locks and the Churchbridge Branch Canal

This is the home page for a collection of old photographs of the abandoned sections of the Cannock Extension Canal north of the A5 / M6 Toll. The Cannock Extension canal also offered access to the Churchbridge Branch Canal owned by the Staffs and Worcester Canal Co via the Churchbridge Locks.

For the sake of completeness this homepage provides links to posts containing old photos of both the Churchbridge Locks (which were owned by the BCN) and the Churchbridge Branch (now referred to as the Hatherton Branch Canal) which was not.

Hemlocks Bridge

The 5.6 mile lock free Cannock Extension Canal was a relative latecomer to the BCN scene, being built in 1863 to provide access to the extensive Cannock Coalfield as the coal reserves in the Black Country became played out.


The Cannock Extension network

The mines it was built to serve were ultimately its undoing as it suffered from extensive subsidence and there was almost constant activity to built up its banks and keep it in water. But in spite of these challenges it performed its function admirably carrying literally millions of tons of coal to the power hungry industries nearby.

Cannock Extension Canal crossing the coalfield

in the end, with its own accessible coal measures running out, the subsidence overwhelmed the canal, famously dropping 20 feet in one night. In the end the section north of the A5 was abandoned in 1963 and extensive opencast mining eradicated nearly all traces of he waterway.

The links at the foot of this page will take you to individual posts featuring archive photos of the canal as it was in its dying days. The images from all over the internet but sites of particular interest are: 

The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Society


Withe the assistance of some fellow historians I have been able to find at least one photograph of every bridge along the lost line and with additional images of the sections in between between them it is just about possible its to undertake a "virtual cruise" 60 years after the event.

I would also point you towards Richard Chester-Browne's "The Other 60 Miles", a record of his explorations in the area in the 1970's.

The following links will take you to posts covering each individual branch:

1. Grove Colliery - Norton Canes






7. Colourised photos of the Cannock Extension Canal

Click here to return to the 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).

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