Friday 24 April 2020

Wednesbury Oak Loop

Wednesbuy Oak Loop
April 2020

The Wednesbury Oak Loop is a semicircle of abandoned canal which used to form part of James Brindley's 1769 through loop between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Brindley's canals were notorious for following the land, and this section is the area where the canal hugs the 473 foot contour round the eastern side of Summer Hill, avoiding the sharp rise of Coseley which was later pierced by the Coseley Tunnel.

The Wednesbury Oak Loop was created by an earlier shortening of Brindley's route known as the Rotton Brunt Line. This ran along a low embankment which shortened the length of the canal, avoided a connected bottleneck and also served as a starting point for the Bradley Locks Branch which descended to the Walsall Canal below.

Just to the north there is the long lost line of the Bradley Marr Branch, a private canal reaching Bradley Colliery, which had the distinction of being the second staircase pair of locks on the BCN.

The area is now mostly suburbia, surrounding a large expanse of open land known as Weddell Wynd and is part of the current pans to restore the Bradley Locks Branch to navigation.

Wednesbury Oak Loop with Rotton Brunt Shortening and Bradley Locks 1949

Map from Wolverhampton Archive

Two hazy images of Tup St Bridge 1936

Tup Street Bridge

Designs for Tup Street Bridge

Ariel view of the Old Main Line, Rotten Brunt Line and Bradley Marr Branch with part of Bradley Locks in the foreground (left)

Rotton Brunt embankment 1949

Weddell Wynd

Weddle Wynd Paul Ratcliffe

Impression of Tup Street Bridge

Tup Street from the air

Tup St Bridge with the Bradley Works basin beyond

A possible contender for the "only photo of Tup Bridge" award....

South of Tup Street Bridge

1959 Philip Weaver RCHS

Batmans Hill Bridge

Near Batmans Hill Bridge with Tup St Bridge (John Whitehouse)

South of Tup St Bridge - Philip Weaver Collection

Batemans Hill Bridge

Bradley Junction 1960 (Brian Beagley)

Bradley Locks Junction - Vic Smallshire

Bradley Junction  and remains of Farmhouse bridge (HNBC Philip Weaver)

Partridge and Howls Bridge - Vic Smallshire

Howls Bridge with Junction and Farmhouse Bridges beyond -Vic Smallshire

Howls Bridge 1966 - Ian Husselbee

Howls Bridge 1969 (Arthur Price)

Bradley Junction and Farmhouse Bridge- John Whitehouse

Bradley Locks Junction with Farmhouse Bridge 1969 (Arthur Price)

Farmhouse Bridge on the Rotton Brunt shortening - Vic Smallshire

Bradley Junction 1958 - Ray Salter

Rotton Brunt Line with Bradley Locks stanked off - H E Evans

H E Evans 1962 Bradley Locks Junction
Rotten Brunt Shortening to Tup St

South from Bradley Locks Junction 1960 (Brian Beagley)

Partridge Bridge to the Wednesbury Oak Loop

Bradley Locks Branch with Wednesbury Oak Loop to left

Unidentified Bridge probably on the Wednesbury Oak Loop Philip Weaver / RCHS

Scavenging coal from drained canal at Weddell Wynd 1962 H E Evans

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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