The scent of jasmine

I’m still perusing my recent acquisition ‘The Wyrley & Essington Canal Through Time’ by Ray Shill. It was while idly flicking though it the other night, I came across two rather interesting images on the same page. To save the work of cropping them down, I’ve scanned the whole page as the text is informative, too.


A pair of interesting images from Ray Shill’s book, ‘The Wyrley and Essington Canal Through Time’. Click for a larger version. Please buy a copy if you can.

My primary interest was in the upper image, but the lower large one, of Walsall Wood Colliery is another I hadn’t seen before; I’m fairly sure it was taken with the photographer stood on the towpath next to the Black Cock Bridge, with his back to the Black Cock Pub itself. This view would be one of gardens, trees and factories now.

The upper image had me head scratching for a while, so much so that I took the book to my good friend [Howmuch?] to ask his opinion.

It is indeed of Anglesey Wharf, a statement I originally doubted. The picture is taken from approximately where the anti-vehicle barrier blocks off the towpath to vehicles today. It’s looking towards the coal chutes – still present – and on to where the M6 Toll bridge is now.

I’m interested in the cottages. I couldn’t place them. I guess canal employees lived there, but what is the single storey building immediately to the right?

My curiosity piqued, I looked at the mapping record.

Untitled 4

This fragment of the 1:2.500 1962 Ordnance Survey map of Anglesey Basin clearly shows Wharf Cottages, the large building next door, and over the road, Jasmine Cottages. Click for a larger version.

The 1962 Anglesey Basin map of 1962 shows the cottages, but of course, that’s not proof they were extant on that date. Jasmine Cottages, over Wharf/Whitehorse Road, are also interesting.

I’d already prepared an overlay map in Google Earth for my previous post on the drift shaft at Anglesey Basin. That shows clearly where the cottages would be today (mostly, under the motorway, sadly).


1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf. The area of the cottages in the photo above is highlighted on the map, and they can be seen to be eradicated by the M6 Toll. Click for a larger version.

I’m interested in anyone’s memories of Wharf or Jasmine Cottages (the latter are just hidden on the image, behind the bank). I’d like to know what went on in the large building next door. Loads of lads must have played around the wharf as kids, has anyone got any memories?

Were Wharf & Jasmine Cottages demolished for the construction of the Toll Road, or had they gone long before?

Answers and comments to BrownhillsBob at or or comment here, please.

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35 Responses to The scent of jasmine

  1. Edwina Roberts says:

    When we moved to Brownhills some 40 odd years ago there was a sewerage farm just beyond the point you are interested in. There was also a beautiful little cottage just beyond the bend of the bridge, on the right hand side of the road as you look towards Hammerwich. There was an enormous tree which must have been there for centuries and it was all knocked down for the M6 toll.

    • Nice to see you, Edwina. Welcome.


    • Rob says:

      Jasmine cottage stood empty for a number of years after being condemned due to mining subsidence in the locality, which also necessitated reconstruction of the canal wall and overflow nearby. The repairs were carried out as part of a drainage scheme which involved thrust-boring a pipe beneath the canal from a pit excavated on its southern side.
      The last occupants there were squatters and the demolition and site clearance were left for the road-builders to deal with.
      Nothing to do with the M6 toll.

  2. Rob says:

    The cottages at Anglesey Basin had gone well before the Toll Road was built.
    Can’t say for sure but I’d guess during the 70s.

  3. Pedro says:

    Jasmine Cottage was still occupied in December 1965.

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    I remember Jasmine Cottage, which is the house Edwina describes. It was indeed demolished to make way for the motorway. It is mentioned in the orders published in the London Gazette 1998, together with nearby properties – e.g. about half way down right hand column.

    Wharf Cottages and the other industrial type building were gone before I can remember, so my instinct is they were demolished when the pits closed in 1962 or soon after. The railway track across the road remained for many years and, until the Burntwood By-pass was built, you could walk along the old railway cutting to beyond Pool Road, near St Anne’s Wood.

    The sewage works opened in 1916 – see – and, from memory, closed in the late 1960s.

    Dad told me there was a smithy in the area, but I’ve never found anything in the censuses to indicate a blacksmith or similar.

    I will reply separately about who lived there and what they did.

  5. Andy Dennis says:

    Jasmine Cottage, Wharf Cottages and Wharf Lane Farm

    The 1911 Census has “Jessamine Cottage” occupied by William Whitfield Arnott, Colliery Salesman, wife, 2 children, 1 servant. In 1901 he was at Chruch Road, Chasetown, colliery clerk. The Probate Calendar says ARNOTT William Whitfield of Jasmine Cottage, Wharf-lane Brownhills died 14 March 1949 at the Cottage Hospital, Hammerwich leaving £4,341 8s 3d. (Not bad if you consider that this could have bought at least two three-bed semis and couple of cars with change!)

    The 1901 Census has four households at Wharf (Anglesey):
    – Charles Follows, Foreman Coal Wharf, with wife;
    – Harry Sutton, Colliery boat loader, with wife, daughter;
    – Samuel Price, Farmer, Employer, with wife, daughter;
    – Henry T Cullen, Colliery Agent, with daughter, servant (1911 Henry Thomas Cullen, retired at Ogley Hay House, Vicarage Road, Brownhills).
    The previous record is Near Pool and the next a canal boat, then Howdles Cottages.

    The 1891 Census reads in the opposite direction – four households at Anglesey Basin:
    – Henry T Cullen, Clerk, with wife, 2 sons;
    – Charles Follows, Colliery W Foreman, with wife, mother, niece;
    – Thomas Cullen, Colliery Agent, with servant;
    – William H Wilkins, Farmer, with wife, 2 sons, 2 servants.

    I suggest from this that Price and Wilkins occupied Wharf Lane Farm (you can almost hear the grey cells whirring!), Henry T Cullen Jasmine Cottage and the others Wharf Cottages (note plural and 2 doors in the picture).

    Thomas Cullen was Henry T’s father. It appears they lived in the same area from 1851 onwards, possibly in the same house, wich occupations related to the colliery. Thomas moved from his native Somerset between the censuses in 1841 and 1851.

  6. Pedro says:

    In 1902 Florence daughter of Henry Cullen of Jasmine Cottage was married to John Wilson.

    By 1913 Jasmine Cottage, White Horse Road, was in possession of WW Arnot, and by 1932 ER Arnot, who was an auctioneer, valuer, and estate agent. In 1965 it was Mr and Mrs G Arnot.

    In 1935 ER Arnot, of Jasmine Cottage, was the auctioneer selling Wharf Farm in White Horse Road, Mr B Wood had given up farming.

  7. Andy Dennis says:

    Ernest Ralph Arnott, born Chasetown 1908, was son of WW Arnott.

    • Andy and Pedro – all I can say is Wow!
      Thanks so much to you both for your fascinating and wonderful contributions.
      My apologies for not replying sooner.


  8. Edwina says:

    Well Rob sorry to absolutely disagree with you but the cottage was definitely occupied when we moved into the area in 1969 and it was definitely the M6 toll that added to its demise. The actual cottage was in the Central Reservation and in its garden was a huge tree. I was heartbroken at the thought of such a magnificent tree being felled for such a thing as a Toll road. That had stood there for hundreds of years possibly more and the next thing – gone ……. What price progress? We used to be surrounded by sand martins in the spring, deluged would be a good word and what a wonderful sight that was, we used to sit on the canal bank hoping to catch sight of the kingfisher and usually we were lucky.. Bats would be active as dusk fell – there would be at least 15 or so feeding on the insects round and about. All we have now are motorbikes whazzing around at every available opportunity ….. No – give me the good old days any time …

    • Hi

      Don’t be too downhearted. Plenty of bats, kingfishers and martins around Anglesey Basin these days, as well as rabbits, foxes and a few of the stripy-faced fellows. It’s a bit early and cold for the winged mice yet, but often have them buzzing around when I cycle there in summer evenings after dusk.

      Today I watched meadow pippits, pied wagtails at the Nine-Foot and a kestrel hunting on the north heath.


    • Rob says:

      Please read what I wrote.
      I don’t dispute that it was occupied in 1969. It was occupied almost continually until the early 90s.
      It was condemned following a conveyance survey and occupied by squatters until shortly before site clearance commenced.
      The M6 Toll didn’t add to its demise, it was already consigned to history beforehand.

    • lesley bursnell says:

      The Charles family lived in jasmine cottage from 1969 – 1989 and only moves because of the toll road. The property was not condemned and my family did not want to move, but the ministry of transport as with other families on the route were moved. Lesley Bursnell 1 April 2013.

      • Rob says:

        I thought it was due to the road but the bloke living there circa 94/95 told me it would have come down anyway – I assumed he knew what he was talking about.

      • Edwina says:

        I agree wholeheartedly with Lesley as I remember walking up to Hammerwich Hospital when I was expecting my son and what a lovely walk that was on a summers day. I distinctly remember speaking with someone at the cottage but all I can remember is that it was a lady and that we passed the time of day for a couple of minutes or so.

      • Keith Hardy says:

        I remember you Lesley Charles as I lived in White Horse Road. You were a keen horse rider I recall.

  9. Howmuch says:

    Great reading this, the readers of this blog have sorted out another piece of our lost History.
    My thanks to all involved.

  10. Pedro says:

    The mention of Kingfishers always reminds me of a fantastic winter day’s fishing at Ribbersford, near Bewdley. Never caught a thing.

    But I had a Kingfisher for company for may hours sitting on the end of my rod. No one would ever believe the story, and many years later I took this picture of a young lad fishing at Upper Arley, which shows that it is possible!

    (click to enlarge)

    • Rob says:

      You know, I thought exactly the same.
      I’ve had kingfishers perch on my rod when I put it down to roll a smoke on the very same stretch.
      That length of the Severn valley down to about Stourport area must really suit them for some reason, plenty along the Trent between Burton and Nottingham too.
      This current weather reminds me of fishing the Fazeley canal near Drayton Manor when the birds were so desperate for food that I had robins and mistle thrush eating maggots off my bait table. These last few days I’ve been chucking boiled hemp and wheat on the lawn and had a garden full of birds from songsters up to collared doves and woodies.
      I hope it warms up soon or I’ll run out of bait!

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  12. Pedro says:

    Worcester Journal 5 April 1862.

    The New Reservior

    The whole of the arrangements needed for supplying Dudley with service water from the South Staffordshire Company’s reservoir, at Licfield, are, we now believe, complete, and the inhabitants of the town will soon feel the benefit of being supplied with water of a much superior quality to that which they have hitherto been compelled to consume.

    The water will be conveyed from the Lichfield Pumping Station, through 12 inch main pipes into the new reservoir at Conygree, near Dudley; and from the latter reservoir it will be pumped into a second reservior at a higher level at Shaver’s End. From this latter place the town and neighbourhood will be supplied.

  13. Ade Reid says:

    Good to see an article from the “forgotten corner of Brownhills”.I can well remember Jasmine cottage being there from the late 60s when I would have been six years old but the cottages on the other side had gone by then.Having lived in Chapel Avenue (off Whitehorse Road) that area of canal and the sandhills and up to the canal basin were our play area and we spent many,many long and happy days exploring as kids do.The cottage was demolished to make way for the Toll road and the bridge and Whitehorse Road down to the triangle was closed off to public access.I left the area in the early 90s after getting divorced but still get back to Brownhills when I go to visit the folks at Norton Canes.Cant believe that that corner of our “playground” has changed beyond belief.Happy days,still as they say you can take the boy out of Brownhills but you cant take Brownhills out of the boy..(or at least I think thats what I meant to say?)……

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  17. wendy says:

    my mom lived in wharf farm as a child which was near the canal you could still see the foundations of the farm when the motor cross used to race on the sandpits if you have any pictures of the farm i would love to see them. wendy

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  19. In the 1934 Electoral Reg. one of my Clemson ancestors was listed as being at Wharf Farm, he was Benjamin Clemson and is listed as Sawyer, Brownhills.

  20. Christopher McGuire says:

    Cross reference with “A bride in Jasmine” who was my mother. I therefore remember Jasmine Cottage between 1949 and 1959 when grandmother died. Of the pair of cottages in the photo, I think the left one was always unoccupied and the other by a widow, Mrs Machin. The left of the single storey “cottage” was an office to the wharf for the manager who was an uncle/cousin with the next part of the building also an unused office with the right hand side always closed and probably industrial rather than commercial with no windows. Jasmine Cottage had been a wonderful place though allowed to be run down in the fifties without much gardening done. There has been a reference to a large tree in the garden; I can only remember an enormous monkey puzzle tree, araucaria araucaria apart from many smaller trees, especially damson and plum, which has resulted in a monkey puzzle tree being planted in all our gardens since.

  21. Toni says:

    I have looked through you pictures and information on jasmine cottage on wharf lane. I grew up there as a child we moved there in 1993 and had many happy years, we were the last family to live there before it was demolished for the m6 toll, which then was called the Birmingham Northern relief road. It Was nice to see you blog about it.

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