Friday, 8 May 2020

Oldbury Loop

Oldbury Loop

The Oldbury Loop used to be a part of Brindley's original Mainline Canal. This was the extension or phase two which connected the first phase at Smethwick at the top of the Spon Lane Locks.

Brindley tended to follow the contours, thus avoiding expensive cuttings and embankments as far as possible, but this did make for a very winding route. The Oldbury Loop was bypassed as part of an early straightening programme in 1820 / 21, but the residual section of canal remained in use, providing access to the local industry and brickworks till the 1950’s.

There are surprisingly few ground level images of this old loop but a careful search through the archives of Britain from the Air offer a very comprehensive record of the line whilst it was still in operation, with some low level shots providing a startling level of detail.

The southern entrance was directly opposite the fan of Valencia wharves and the Churchbridge Branch, and the aerial views at this end are best located using the distinctive Bustle Bridge as a point of reference. The other end the canal was dominated by the extensive Oldbury Railway Interchange where good were moved on and off trains, making the final connection to their point of origin / destination by water.

We will explore this lost loop in a south to north direction, as of travelling from Birmingham to Tipton.

The Oldbury Loop from the air from over Titford Pump house

A closer view of Oldbury Loop

Entrance to Oldbury Loop (on left)

Southern entrance to the Oldbury Loop from the Churchbridge Branch

Claytons Valentia Wharf (Vic Smallshire)

Allens Boatyard (Valencia) and into Oldbury Loop 1980 - David Harris

Valencia Wharf

Oldbury Loop with Old Main Line crossing in foreground

Bustle Bridge on right

Railway Bridge 1966 Ian Huselbee

Railway Bridge at the start of the Oldbury Loop 1965 - Ian Husselbee

Bustle Bridge (Centre)

Beyond Bustle Bridge

Bustle Bridge with water by David Morris

Bustle Bridge 1965 - Ian Husselbee

Bustle Bridge in 1965  - Ian Husslebee
Bustle Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Bustle Bridge (carrying Birmingham Road)

Bustle Bridge 1975 (Keith Hodgkins)

South face of Bustle Bridge in 1965 - Ian Husslebee

Bustle Bridge 1975 (Keith Hodgkins)

Bustle Bridge from the Laurence Hogg transparency collection

1978 Ian Huselbee

Looking South towards Bustle Bridge (RCHS)

Church Street 1969 Ian Huselbee

Ian Huselbee 1968

North of Bustle Bridge 1910

Bromford Road corner

Bromford Road Bridge 1974 (Hugh Potter)

Bromford Road Bridge 1975 (Keith Hodgkins)

Bromford Road Bridge - Arthur Farrand Radley BCNS Archive

Bromford Road Bridge - 1965 Ian Husslebee

Bromford Road Bridge looking west (RCHS)

Bromford Road Bridge with adjacent Hunt Brothers basin 
(entrance bridge demolished in 1945) 

Oldbury Loop at West Bromwich St - David Morros

Approaching West Bromwich St Bridge (RCHS)

West Bromwich St Bridge and Canal Side from Bromford Road Bridge 1902

West Bromwich Street Bridge in 1965 - Ian Husslebee

Canalside from Bromford Road Bridge (the arch is artificial)

West Bromwich St Bridge looking north 1972 (Hugh Potter)

West Bromwich St Bridge Parapet  1975 Keith Hodgkins

Parapet of West Bromwich Street Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)

House and Mission by West Bromwich St Bridge Oldbury 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Timber yards south west from West Bromwich St Bridge to Cocks Croft Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Same View in 1975 by Keith Hodgkins

Oldbury Boatyard to Cocks Croft Bridge

Oldbury Boatyard from the Laurence Hogg transparency collection

Boatyard to Cocks Croft Bridge - Ian Husselbee 1965

Oldbury Boatyard 1975 to Cocks Croft Bridge

Cocks Croft Bridge (RCHS)

Cocks Croft Bridge 1965 Ian Husselbee

Close up of Cocks Croft Bridge in 1965 by Ian Husslebee

Cocks Croft or Freeth St Bridge 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Cocks Croft Bridge (Mark Priest)

Cocks Croft Bridge (Mark Priest)

Boatyard shed 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Oldbury Boatyard 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Oldbury Boat Slip 1975 (Hugh Potter)

Approaching the Oldbury Railway Interchange Basins

Edwin Danks works on Oldbury Loop (RCHS)

T&S Elements Yard Oldbury with Danks Works behind (RCHS)

Oldbury railway interchange 1913

Oldbury Interchange Basins above Oldbury Boiler Works

A view into the northern entrance to the Oldbury Loop with Cocks Croft (Freeth Street) Bridge appearing beyond the Railway Bridge at the top of the photo

Northern Junction Bridge 1965 Ian Husselbee

Canal scene at High Bridge on the new cut outside the Oldbury Loop

High Bridge from the northern junction with the Oldbury Loop.

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).


Wolfcrafts said...

Hi Andy
I got a little confused with the one picture ( it says cocks croft bridge from bromford bridge ) but from my old maps, is'nt it west bromwich street bridge ?. i realy hope it is as it would be the best picture of the houses on the right which would have been canalside and where my dads family lived,the Bowens which i am trying to find.

Andy Tidy said...

You are quite correct Shane - I can remember where I found the image, but it is mislabelled. The configuration of houses places it as the section between Bromford Bridge Basin and West Brom St Bridge, running beside Canal Side. I have amended the label.