Monday 17 June 2013

Gilpins Arm - Wyrley and Essington

Gilpins Arm
Wyrley And Essington Canal
June 2013

Its funny how things emerge from chance meetings.

This map is from Richard Chester Browne's "The Other 60 Miles"

I have just returned from the BCNS Pelsall Festival (more of that in another post) and during our time there Paul came to make my acquaintance. Like several others, he confessed to being an enthusiastic reader of my blog and in particular my exploration of the lost sections of the Wyrley and Essington.

We reflected on the lost sections of Sneyd  (Sneed) and then he mentioned an old tributary to the east of Pelsall. It was only his follow up comment on the blog which made reference to Gilpin Crescent that it all made sense - he was referring to the remains of the 1794 Gilpins Arm which is so redeveloped that there is nothing to see on the ground today.

But thats the joy of the blog. It becomes a shared resource so whilst I cant shed much light on Gilpins Arm from my contemporary investigations, here are Paul's memories:

 I mentioned a strange little tributary which used to spur off the Wyrley & Essington canal in Pelsall. If you head from Yorks Bridge to Yorks Foundry Bridge, then continue a short distance until the canal bends sharply to the left, on the outer edge of that bend there used to be (around the early 60s) a small brook which ran off from the canal, crossed by a small bridge. This brook then ran parallel to and between the present day Dovedale Avenue and St.John's Road, following the line of the present day Gilpin Crescent, ending at Norton Road. Even back then, this tributary was mostly dried up. This was before the Ryders Hayes estate was built. Within a few years, the small bridge had gone, and the out bank of the bend rebuilt to remove all trace of where the tributary used to run off. Probably because of the planned Ryders Hayes estate. Anyway, I hope this makes sense - it's been surprisingly tricky to describe! Just another piece in the jigsaw of lost bits of waterway! 

Paul - I hope you don't mind the verbatim quote! 

Richard Chester Brownes commentary indicates that it was built by a landowner George Gilpin and ran beside Newlands Colliery with and extension  beyond Newton Road into common land, which had disappeared completely by the 1880's.

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