The Oldbury Loop used to be a part of Brindley's original Mainline Canal. This was the extension or phase two which connected the first phase at Smethwick at the top of the Spon Lane Locks.
Brindley tended to follow the contours, thus avoiding expensive cuttings and embankments as far as possible, but this did make for a very winding route. The Oldbury Loop was bypassed as part of an early straightening programme in 1820 / 21, but the residual section of canal remained in use, providing access to the local industry and brickworks till the 1950’s.
There are surprisingly few ground level images of this old loop but a careful search through the archives of Britain from the Air offer a very comprehensive record of the line whilst it was still in operation, with some low level shots providing a startling level of detail.
The southern entrance was directly opposite the fan of Valencia wharves and the Churchbridge Branch, and the aerial views at this end are best located using the distinctive Bustle Bridge as a point of reference. The other end the canal was dominated by the extensive Oldbury Railway Interchange where good were moved on and off trains, making the final connection to their point of origin / destination by water.
We will explore this lost loop in a south to north direction, as of travelling from Birmingham to Tipton.
The Oldbury Loop from the air from over Titford Pump house
A closer view of Oldbury Loop
Entrance to Oldbury Loop (on left)
Claytons Valentia Wharf (Vic Smallshire)
Oldbury Loop with Old Main Line crossing in foreground
Bustle Bridge on right
Bustle Bridge (Centre)
Bustle Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)
Bustle Bridge (carrying Birmingham Road)
North of Bustle Bridge 1910
Parapet of West Bromwich Street Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)
House and Mission by West Bromwich St Bridge Oldbury 1975 (Hugh Potter)
Boatyard shed 1975 (Hugh Potter)
Oldbury Boatyard 1975 (Hugh Potter)
Oldbury Boat Slip 1975 (Hugh Potter)
Approaching the Oldbury Railway Interchange Basins
Oldbury railway interchange 1913
Oldbury Interchange Basins above Oldbury Boiler Works
A view into the northern entrance to the Oldbury Loop with Cocks Croft (Freeth Street) Bridge appearing beyond the Railway Bridge at the top of the photo
Canal scene at High Bridge on the new cut outside the Oldbury Loop
High Bridge from the northern junction with the Oldbury Loop.
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).