Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Saltley Cut

The Saltley Cut

December 2022

Officially speaking the canal linking Salford Junction with Bordesley Junction is the Warwick and Birmingham Junction Canal, but to boaters of old it was simply The Saltley Cut, because it went through Saltley. Fair enough I think!

My earliest memories of the Saltley Cut was using it to bypass Birmingham as we sneaked around the south east of the city without having to climb to the summit in the city centre, and ploughing through a series of utterly filthy locks pasted with oil and grot. To be fair to the canal, it did pass through the heart of the Birmingham gasworks and associated tar distilleries so a large amount of discharge was to be expected.

Whatever my recollections, the cut was built to link the Warwick and Birmingham Canal with the Birmingham and Fazeley, avoiding an unnecessary climb up the Ashted Locks and then down the Aston Locks.

This may not be the BCN but its line is never far from the Aston Locks which were BCN.

Here are some images of this short cut waterway during its commercial carrying days.

Salford Junction into the Saltley Cut 1922

Salford Junction

Dodgy canal side foundations in 1962

FMC's Saltey Dock

Neachells Tar Distillery and Gasworks 1922

Neachells Tar Distillery 1946


Nechells Gasworks 1950's



Canal Channel 1962

Descending Garrison Lock No2 in the 1930's


Garrison Lock Cottage



Loaded cal boats on Saltley Cut 1962

1930's

Artillery St Bridge looking north 1948

Saltley Cut from Bordesley Junction 1961

Bordesley Junction 1933

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).

Adjacent Canals to the south and east

Adjacent waters to the south east

December 2022

By a quirk of history not all canals in Birmingham and the Black Country fall within the scope of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

The original remit of the first Birmingham Canal was to connect the city (or town as it was then) with a good supply of coal in West Bromwich. That meant that the initial direction was to build a canal to the north, and then to extend it still further to the north at Wolverhampton to join up with the nearest element of James Brindley's grand cross - The Staffs and Worcester Canal.

The BCN network expanded from that start, partly by construction and partly by acquisition but apart from the construction of the "Bottom Road" ie the Birmingham and Fazeley, the BCN never extended far to the south or east. This meant that the later connections were achieved by other canal companies including the Worcester Birmingham, the Stratford and the Warwick and Birmingham Canal (later to become the Grand Union).

The hunt for archive photos of the BCN started with the missing 60 miles, and this remains its main focus, but over time the collection has grown to include many images of the surviving sections, showing how they used to look in the past. But even this expansion of remit became limiting and so I have added this homepage to link to other posts which capture images on the various neighbouring waterways and so builds a more complete photographic record of the region as a whole.

1. Grand Union - Camp Hill area

2. Grand Union Digbeth Area

3. Grand UnionSaltey Cut

4. Worcester Birmingham Canal

5. North Stratford Canal

Hawne Basin and Coombswood

Hawne Basin and Coombswood

December 2022

The Coombswood area of the BCN on the Dudley No 2 Canal is far from lost, but it's certainly rarely travelled apart from the local boaters heading into Hawne Basin for moorings, diesel or blacking.

Whilst it's not abandoned, the stretch south from Gosty Hill Tunnel is very atmospheric and justifies a page of its own, separating the images out from those covering the stretch of lost canal from Halesowen to the northern portal of the collapsed Lapal Tunnel.

The following images include the Gosty Hill Tunnel, the remains of the Stewart and Lloyds Tube Works and Hawne Basin, which used to be a railway interchange.

Northern Portal of Gosty Hill Tunnel with tug boathouse

Southern portal of Gosty Hill Tunnel

Legging through Gosty Tunnel

Into Stewart and Lloyds Tube Works

Stewart and Lloyds

Stewart and Lloyds boat dock


Dudley No2 Canal with Hawne Basin

Burton Bridge - Entrance to Hawne Basin

Around the basin when used to store tubes









1966



1987








Hawne Basin 1987 - the start of its rebirth as a boat mooring


The last pit pony at Coombs Wood Colliery

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).

Camp Hill

Camp Hill

December 2022

Ok, so Camp Hill isn't part of the BCN, but like the Stourbridge and Hatherton Canals to the west and north I think it's fair to say that given their proximity, they share the same DNA as the BCN network.

Camp Hill was originally the northern end of the 1796 Warwick and Birmingham Canal which had its terminus in Digbeth, alongside Fazeley Street, a waterway which was subsumed into the Grand Union Canal Company in the 1930's.

The area above the six Camp Hill Locks became known as Sampson Road Wharf, an area which was heavily developed in the 1930's in conjunction with the Grand Union improvements scheme as it represented the closest point to the local railway network and became known as Birmingham Quay. In addition to the canal frontage opposite the extensive BSA site, there was a T shaped basin, part of which survives today and also a wide basin which was covered by the warehouses built in the 1930's.

I suspect that the correct naming of the canal mattered little to the boaters of old who simply referred to it as the "Middle Road" - the Bottom being the Birmingham and Fazeley and the Top being the North Stratford.

Anyway, the proximity of the canal to the city of Birmingham as it makes its way through Sparkbrook and Tyseley towards Solihull means its is of interest to me, and I need somewhere to store my collection of images of the area. These were the images gathered for the Cannock Coal YouTube series on Canal Hunter.

So, starting at Bordesley Junction and heading up the locks here is how the area used to look "back in the day".

Bordesley Junction 1976

Bordesley Junction 1978

Camp Hill Bottom Lock

Bottom Lock 1978

Camp Hill Bottom (6) 1977

Bordesley Junction 1961

Camp Hill Lock Five 1978

Camp Hill Second Lock 1970

 Second Lock 1962

Camp Hill Lock 3

Second Lock 

Top Lock 1970

Top Lock 1970

Camp Hill top lock 1998

Camp Hill Top Lock 1930's

Sampson Rd Wharf 1998

Sampson Road Wharf 1930's

GU's Sampson Rd Depot being built

Covered Wharf

NB Whitby in GU's Wharf


Sampson Road Loading Dock 1930's

Sampson Road Wharf

Trial cargo boxes at Sampson Road

Camp Hill 

Sampson Road Wharf 1990

1930's



BSA Works Armoury Road 1927

BSA Works from above

Above Camp Hill Top 1970

BSA Works in Small Heath

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).