Saturday, 2 May 2020

Wednesbury Old Canal

Wednesbury Old Canal




The Wednesbury Old Canal branched off just above the top of the Ryders Green Locks, and was navigable to the Ridgacre Branch as recently as 1973. The construction of the Black Country Spine Road cut off the far end and, by degrees, the rest has silted up to the point that the canal is no longer navigable for more than a few hundred yards.

But before we get there, near Pudding Green Junction LMS's Albion Basin formed a railway interchange link:








Ryders Green Junction to Wednesbury Old Canal 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Hadley Bridge (HNBC / Weaver Collection)


It all starts so well!




And then this happens


The same length when the canal carried trade


Wednesbury Old Canal today (I navigated this in 2008)






Wednesbury Old Canal looking west from above the gasworks





Navigation blocked 1993 (Kev Maslin)


The new end of the canal 1993 (Kev Maslin)

Izon Bridge Parapet 1975
(The Izon branch was back up the canal towards Pudding Green Junction - but I wanted to capture this photo I added it here!)


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).

2 comments:

Steve Abbott said...

Hi Andy
This is a great resource!
You say that the Wednesbury Old Canal was navigable as far as the Ridgeacre Branch in 1973. I can confirm that it was still navigable in 1977 or 1978. I had a few canal holidays on the canals in the seventies. My memory is a bit hazy, but I know that my first time was a school trip in October half-term in 1974 (from Tardebigge to Worcester, Stourport and back via the Stourbridge & Dudley canals and Netherton Tunnel). I was in the Lower Sixth then. We persuaded another teacher to take us the same time next year, this time with Willow Wren from Rugby. We went up to the Trent & Mersey, Staffs and Worcester, then back along the Birmingham main line, Worcester & Birmingham, Northern Stratford, Grand Union and back up to Rugby. I can't think that we had time to visit the Ridgeacre that time. We then took a few more trips after leaving school in 1976, 1977 and 1978. One was the Cheshire Ring in a Willow Wren camping boat from Middlewich and two were with Planetfleet from the bottom of Aston locks (in Jupiter then Saturn). I can't remember which way round, but we definitely took one of the Planetfleet boats up the Wednesbury Old Canal to the Ridgeacre, Branch, where we turned near Black Lake Bridge. We had climbed to Farmer's Bridge, took in the main line loops and the Titford Canal, then to Rider's Green via the Gower Branch. After the Ridgeacre, we continued up the Walsall, which was very choked with weed and floating clumps of reeds. We went and back to Aston via Chasewater, the Daw End Branch and Rushall and Tame Valley Canals. This trip was either in 1977 or 1978, since I think we did the two Willow Wren trips sequentially in 1975 and 1976. The other Planetfleet trip involved heading out on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and going up to the Caldon Canal as far as Froghall.
All this reminiscence was spurred by the pictures of the Ridgeacre.

Steve Abbott said...

Hi Andy
This is a great resource!
You say that the Wednesbury Old Canal was navigable as far as the Ridgeacre Branch in 1973. I can confirm that it was still navigable in 1977 or 1978. I had a few canal holidays on the canals in the seventies. My memory is a bit hazy, but I know that my first time was a school trip in October half-term in 1974 (from Tardebigge to Worcester, Stourport and back via the Stourbridge & Dudley canals and Netherton Tunnel). I was in the Lower Sixth then. We persuaded another teacher to take us the same time next year, this time with Willow Wren from Rugby. We went up to the Trent & Mersey, Staffs and Worcester, then back along the Birmingham main line, Worcester & Birmingham, Northern Stratford, Grand Union and back up to Rugby. I can't think that we had time to visit the Ridgeacre that time. We then took a few more trips after leaving school in 1976, 1977 and 1978. One was the Cheshire Ring in a Willow Wren camping boat from Middlewich and two were with Planetfleet from the bottom of Aston locks (in Jupiter then Saturn). I can't remember which way round, but we definitely took one of the Planetfleet boats up the Wednesbury Old Canal to the Ridgeacre, Branch, where we turned near Black Lake Bridge. We had climbed to Farmer's Bridge, took in the main line loops and the Titford Canal, then to Rider's Green via the Gower Branch. After the Ridgeacre, we continued up the Walsall, which was very choked with weed and floating clumps of reeds. We went and back to Aston via Chasewater, the Daw End Branch and Rushall and Tame Valley Canals. This trip was either in 1977 or 1978, since I think we did the two Willow Wren trips sequentially in 1975 and 1976. The other Planetfleet trip involved heading out on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and going up to the Caldon Canal as far as Froghall.
All this reminiscence was spurred by the pictures of the Ridgeacre.