Weighing Anchor

The Anchor Bridge, taking the Chester Road-High Street over the Wyrley & Essington canal, was named after the old inn that stood next door, itself pointing out the potential refreshment for bargees using the waterway. A landmark for centuries, the bridge was once host to a toll gate, and has always stood at the (arguable) demarkation between Brownhills, Shire Oak and Walsall Wood. It has seen many changes over the years, and quite a few incidents.

I pay tribute to the sources of the these images – please obtain copies of the author’s work if you can find it.

The Anchor Bridge tollhouse sat alongside the canal opposite the pub. There's a legend locally that Dick Turpin jumped the tollgate here on his horse, Black Bess, after fleeing from London. It is, of course, rubbish; the act was chronologically impossible and poor old Dick would have been very lost and heading in the wrong direction. From Walsall Local History Centre's Flickr stream.

A fascinating shot of an accident that could have been very much worse for the driver than it actually was. Interesting to see that rubbernecking is not a modern phenomena. From 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

The bay window of the Old Anchor is just visible to the right. In this unusual shot, one can see just how imposing and bold the planning and construction of the towerblocks must have been. Wonder what the scaffold on top of Severn House was for? From 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

I remember walking to the old Anchor Inn to get stuff from the Outdoor in the evenings - crisps, cigarettes, even bottles of beer. It always seemed raucus and noisy. In contrast, the new pub bearing the name always seemed quiet and lifeless. From 'Around Pelsall and Brownhills in old photographs' by David F. Vodden.

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6 Responses to Weighing Anchor

  1. Dave Bishop says:

    Hi Bob. Your pics of Anchor Bridge were fascinating and brought back a few memories. In one shot a bus is shown and I wonder – was it a Harpers Coach (from Heath Hayes), or perhaps a Midland Red? My nan used to visit from Droitwich, changing buses in Birmingham and using the Midland Red “104”. We used to meet her at the bus stop and in those days the published times were never too far wrong. How times change, eh?!

  2. Dave Bishop says:

    Sorry Bob – I forgot to add a note about “Severn House”. If this is the block that fronted onto the main Chester Road, I thought it was called Waine House. Was it Severn House originally, or renamed for some reason?

    An extra Anchor Bridge anecdote for you. I was driving home in probably 1973/4 in my little black Austin A35, “Flossie the Knitted Zeppelin”, along Lindon Road. As I approached the Anchor Bridge junction with Chester Road, I changed down to second gear for the corner – and the gearlever snapped off! I struggled the rest of the way home in second gear – not an easy thing with just 948cc!

    I also remember the wall from Anchor Bridge along Lindon Road being demolished and replaced with a fence. This was to “open up the canal vista” apparently, although at that time who wanted to see a canal full of scummy water with the odd dead sheep floating in it? Nice ‘vista’!

  3. Severn House was the first block to be built and still stands today, still under that name, next to Silver Court. Waine, Bailey and Humphries Houses weren’t build until after this shot was taken. Waine stood, as you say, on the Chester Road – High Street where Knaves Court is today, but in the above shot is occupied by houses.

    If you look carefully you can just see the front of the forecourt of the Foreward Garage.

    It could well be a Harper’s bus.

    All the best


  4. Paul Cox says:

    No sooner i send a request Bob, then i find it….blind in one eye and cant see out the other one..thank you take care.

  5. Pingback: Eighteen years later « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  6. Marleen says:

    Being Dutch, coming the first time to this aerea, it didn’t appeal to me at all, untill I learned about it history. What a great stories! I can only say keep publishing and sending in photographs. Wonderful!

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