Friday 8 May 2020

Underground Canals of Dudley

Underground Tunnels of Dudley

It's arguable that the Dudley Tunnel is still navigable, but these days subsidence has taken its toll and only boats with a very low air draft, and those that are not driven by a diesel engine can pass this way. So for all practical purposes, it remains lost to everyday navigation.

The tunnel ranks as the fifth longest in the UK at 2884 yards and was one of the earliest built in 1792. At the time of its construction only the Sapperton was longer later eclipsed by the Thames and Medway, The Standedge and the nearby Lapal.

I have therefore included a collection of archive photos of this underground network, with a particular emphasis on the Wrens Nest tunnel which has been completely blocked off and is now inaccessible.

The eastern portal of the Dudley Tunnel

Tunnel portal 1952

BCLM Limekilns 1971 (Dickie Bird)

The following selection come from the Vic Smallshire collection, please feel free to add to my descriptions.... 

Mouth of the Wrens Nest Tunnel

Dudley Tunnel lining - Vic Smallshire

Castle Mill Basin

Postcard of Castle Mill BCNS Archive

Castle Mill Basin and the original Lord Wards Tunnel in 1971 - Dickie Bird

Castle Mill Basin 1971 - Dickie Bird

Castle Mill Basin 1971 - Dickie Bird

Wrens Nest 1971 - Dickie Bird

Cathedral Arch in the Dudley Tunnel - early 1970's

Limestone Mine entrance 1971 - Dickie Bird

Roy Martin 1985

Dudley Tunnel landmarks - Ian Langford

Quarry Pit Shaft, one of 13 construction shafts in the tunnel

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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