Sunday 3 November 2019

Haines Branch Canal

Haines Branch Canal
November 2019

For many the name Haines will make you think of the car owners manual, an essential workshop guide for all those unreliable cars of the 1970's.

But there is the other Haines, a lost branch canal which exited the Walsall Canal immediately below the Ryders Green locks in the Great Bridge area of the Black Country. 

This short canal runs southwest for nearly a mile to reach the site of various collieries and brickworks, industry which has left a legacy of flooded extraction pits now known as the Balancing Lake in the Sheepwash Urban Park.

A surprising number of photos have been found of this reclusive waterway, mainly of the first half as far as Sheepwash Bridge. This will be because right into the 1960's boats carrying wood were making regular deliveries to Thomas Cox and Son Timberyard, and the sight of narrowboats plying their trade in something other than coal seems to have been something of a magnet for photographers.

Aerial view of the junction with the Walsall Canal

Haines Branch Canal into what is now the Sheepwash Park

Entrance to Haines Branch

Haines Branch entrance and Ryders Green Bottom Lock - Arthur Watts 1958

Haines Branch Junction opposite Railway Interchange basins

Entrance to the Haines Branch (Left)Arthur Watts 1957

Haines Branch entrance (right) with Ryders Green Locks ahead.

Bridge over Haines Branch - Alan Price 1969

Boats sunk at entrance to Haines Branch

Two views of the Haines Branch into Great Bridge

Start of Haines Branch at Great Bridge (bottom right)

Great Bridge 1972 by Keith Hodgkins

Great Bridge Bridge from the Laurence Hogg slide collection

Great Bridge

Great Bridge 1979 (Keith Hodgkins)

Great Bridge 1979 - Trevor Littlewood

Great Bridge 1979 - Trevor Littlewood 

Laurence Hogg slide collection

The Haines Branch at Great Bridge in 1974

Great Bridge 1979 (Keith Hodgkins)

Great Bridge Bridge from the Laurence Hogg slide collection

Cox timber yard

Thomas Cox and Son 1916

Boat trip setting off from Cox's timber yard (John Whitehouse collection)

Cox's timber yard by Alan Price / David Wilson

Haines Branch Cox Timber Yard 1969 - Alan Price

Coleshill and Cygnus on the Haines Branch - Alan Price / David Wilson

Cox's Timber yard by Alan Price / David Wilson

Slightly sharper cropped version of above

Haines Branch and Sheepwash Bridge 1969 when trade had ended - Alan Price

Cox's timber yard 1966 by Alan Price

The old Sheepwash Lane / Tame Road Bridge, Great Bridge

Sheepwash Bridge 1983 (Keith Hodgkins)

Canal Channel under Sheepwash Bridge 1983 (Keith Hodgkins)

Site of Brckworks Basin to the west of Sheepwash Basin - Source Ian Huselbee

Ruins of brickworks to west of Sheepwash Bridge - Source Ian Huselbee

The Flooded end of the Haines Branch (Old claypit and now Sheepwash Park)

Western End 1950

Planned incline from Haines Branch to NML (CRT Archive)

Plans for the Birchills Incline (CRT Archive)

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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