Friday 24 April 2020

Churchbridge Locks - Cannock

Churchbridge Locks - Cannock
April 2020

This branch of the canal is an oddity in the annals of the BCN. It is just long enough to contain the 13 locks it needed to connect the Cannock Extension Canal at Rumer Hill Junction through to the top end of the Staffs and Worcester's Churchbridge Branch Canal.

The odd thing about the fight was that whilst the land was bought and owned by the BCN, the locks were built by the Staffs and Worcester Canal Co, and they seem to have been completed before the Cannock Extension Canal reached the Junction. All this suggests that this back door into the BCN was more important to the neighbouring Staffs and worcs than the BCN and that is certainly born out in the trade it carried in its 100 year lifetime. 

As recently as 1902 up to 12,000 loaded coal boats slogged their way down the flight every year, and that is only a small proportion of the coal with exited via the Canal's front door at Pelsall.

Boat Museum Society Nov 2017

Line of canals at Rumer Hill during open cast mining

Rumer Hill Junction

Lock Cottage at Rumer Hill

Top lock in decline

Last trace of the top Churchbridge Lock

Top Lock

Top Lock

Churchbridge 1955 - Stan Heaton

Colourised by Duncan Moore

Locks 1 - 3

Lets have that one again with colour added

and then let's add a boat in 1911 (Mrs Holford)

Sepia version from Cannock Library

Churchbridge Locks 1 - 4

Below Lock 4 taken from bridge (now the Orbital Business Park)

An iconic image of the destruction of the flight (Tom Manning)

Looking down the remains of the flight (Tom Manning)

Churchbridge rubble

Churchbridge opencast

Churchbridge Lock 5 (Tom Manning)

Abandoned Churchbridge Locks - Ian Huselbee
Tom Manning image

Locks 12 to 8

Locks 13 to 10

Aerial image of the lower half of the flight

Locks 11 to 10 (Tom Manning)

1956 view by Fred Parsons

Locks 13 to 9

1956 view - Fred Parsons

May 56 - Fred Parsons

Churchbridge Bottom Lock - Ian Huselbee

Churchbridge Bottom Lock detail - Ian Huselbee

Churchbridge Lock 12 (Tom Manning)

 The White Lion Inn beside the bottom lock

1926 - The White Lion sits on today's roundabout

A5 Bridge - Ian Huselbee

A5 Bridge and Churchbridge Bottom Lock - Ian Huselbee

A5 Bridge at Churchbridge 1926

From Waterways World Feb 1981

An enhanced version of the above article

Watling Street crossing over the canal

Ag5 Bridge at Churchbridge - CRT Archive

Under the A5 - CRT Archive

Under the A5 - CRT Archive

Churchbridge - Heritage England

Gilpins Basin 1904

Gilpin's Works at the foot of Churchbridge Locks


Gilpins Basin 1972 (Malcolm Podmore)

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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