On the conveyor?

I picked up a really good map recently. It’s a 1:2,500 plot of eastern Chasewater, the Anglesey Basin and Wharf, and the area of south Chasetown and The Triangle. It’s from 1962, and has a tad more information on it than the standard issue – a full range of house names, for instance. Whilst that’s interesting, it wasn’t what caught my eye.

The full map will be available later, but take a look at this fragment for a moment.

Take a look at the highlighted area from this 1962 1:2,500 scale Ordnance Survey map. The coal conveyor for boat loading, I think. But the other buildings? What did it look like? Click for a larger version.

It’s reasonably common knowledge that the footings remaining along the canal banks are the remains of a coal conveyancing system for boat loading at Anglesey wharf. I’d never thought much about this until I saw the map above.

Dave Fellows shows this image of one of the coal conveyor footings on his excellent site ‘Brownhills Past’ (I shan’t link to it as it’s riddled with popups at the moment – there’s a link on the sidebar if you’re feeling brave). Dave describes a cable-hauled system, one of overhead tubs or buckets spanning the canal.

The 1962 map shows one remaining conveyor, the second to the west removed. It’s a large structure, with what seems like an outbuilding on the south side. I overlaid this fragment on Google Earth to see for sure.

The conveyor turns out to be exactly where the footings are, as you’d expect. Note that all the wharf has been reclaimed by nature, with only the buttresses and retaining wall of the railway remaining. The track bed is actually the cycleway/footpath beside the bypass. Note the buildings lost under the M6 Toll and bypass route. Click for a larger version.

Zooming in illuminates the conveyor further.

The mapmakers knew what they were doing. There was a lot going on here: so, the burning question: what did it look like?

Here’s the question. What did this system look like, what drove it and are there any pictures? The footings are necessarily huge, as the load would have been considerable. Was the southern building an engine or motor house? What was it like to be on a boat when all that coal dropped in? When was the last use of this system?

A drift shaft was dug to Anglesey Wharf from other deep pits to enable easy coal transfer, so it operated late in the mining history. There must be some record of this system. I’ve passed these footings for years without every really considering them.

Come to think of it, someone, somewhere, must have photographed the functioning wharf. It must have been a fine sight, if somewhat dirty and polluted.

So what do we know, folks? BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, or comment here. Cheers.

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10 Responses to On the conveyor?

  1. Mike Hawes says:

    We were up there yesterday and wondered then what it must have looked like when it was in use, dirty and with a polluted canal thats for sure. Just the Coal dust in the canal would have made it almost toxic after while. Add to this the burning of coal all round in the buildings. There would have been any trees as the whole place was a working coal yard. A grim place , I often wonder what the Lime pits were like when they burnt the lime to slake it – nightmarish fumes and smoke.

  2. John says:

    Bill Mayo has some very good photo`s of all the workings that were along this stretch of canal

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