Sunday 26 April 2020

Gospel Oak Branch

Gospel Oak and Monway branches
April 2020

The lockless 1800 Gospel Oak Branch was, on the face of it, a short ribbon of water which stretched east from the Broadwaters Branch (Walsall Canal) for half a mile as far as the Gospel Oak Road, where it had a wharf and served the Willingsworth Furnaces  and  nearby collieries.

The Gospel Oak Branch

1949 (Ocker Hill in background)

But this little documented branch, which is now the Willingworth Linear Park, had a greater past and came so close to becoming a significant through route.

First the greater past. Pressing on from the end of the branch there is one old map which shows two locks rising beyond the Gospel Oak Road to access the short lived Dumaesq Branch, which served the Schoolfield and Gospel Oak Collieries. Today all traces of the Dumaresq Branch are gone beneath the Tipton Sports Academy, but the 1902 OS maps offer two tantalising swags of water which could, just could, be traces of this most obscure corner of the BCN.

And then there is the potential. The end of the Gospel Oak Branch was considered as the lower part of a through route to the Birmingham Canal at Wednesbury Oak, but in the end the Bradley Locks Branch assumed this role and the Gospel Oak Branch languished in reedy obscurity.

Gospel Oak area also contained numerous other small branches and basins which, for ease of reference, are included at the end of this page.

Junction to Gospel Oak Branch (John Whitehouse) 
Buildings were part of Willingsworth Blast Furnace

Gospel Oak Brach joins the Walsall Canal (A F Radley)

Gospel Oak Junction

Gospel Oak Branch (Left) - Wolverhampton Archive

Gospel Oak 1951

Willingsworth Wharf at Coppice Bridge 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Willingsworth Wharf 1977 (Keith Hodgkins)

Gospel Oak Branch 1969 - A H Price

Gospel Oak Branch in 1979 - Trevor Littlewood

Coppice Bridge on Gospel Oak Branch 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Coppice Bridge Gospel Oak Branch 1969 (Alan Price)

Bridge at Willingsworth Furnaces 1969 - Allan Price

Willingsworth Furnaces (Keith Hodgkins)

Gospel Oak Branch with a slag pile on site of Willingsworth Furnaces

Captioned Gospel Oak Wednesbury Oak Road by David Humphries 1960's
This MAY be the old line under the Gospel Oak Road into the Dumaresq Branch - or not!

1970 John Whitehouse

Railway Interchange Basin opposite Gospel Oak 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Basin at site of nearby Leabrook Road Tube Works

Leabrook Tube Works (was Iron)

Under Leabrook Road Bridge

Entrance to nearby Monway Branch 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Monway 1924

Click here to return to the Bradley Area index page

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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