I’ve had some fantastic contact recently with reader Wyrleyrob, who’s helped on a number of historical issues. Wyrleyob is interested in the Birchills foundry/power station history, and has spoken to his friend, great local historian Jack Haddock. Together, they’ve come up with some fine images which I can share.
I’m so glad to receive input from Jack, the cycling local historian in whose tyre tracks I follow shakily. He’s written some iconic and wonderful books on Walsall history, and deserves more appreciation than I think he generally receives. The Council in particular should be shouting about his work from the rooftops.
A couple of photos from my close friend Jack Haddock that show demolition of the stack at Birchills foundry and the canal basin that used to serve it. Talbot Stead is the building to the rear of the canal shot.
He has clear recollections of a small engine shed on the Bentley side of Green Lane that contained an unused locomotive, just sat there rusting away (1930s). I am old enough to remember the tracks crossing Green Lane but I have no recollection of there being buildings extant (early 60s). Jack also has a recollection of going to meet a neighbour who worked in the canteen at Talbot Stead, and when he arrived the BR loco off the shunt was stood all alone in one of the huge sheds at the rear of the premises. This was a regular turn for a Ryecroft engine at the time, the crew had obviously gone for snap. It was one of the few occasions when he wasn’t carrying a camera. These lines are clearly shown on your maps and although unused, the tracks were still in place into the 1970s. Even today looking from Green Lane overbridge, their route is easy to define.
He took many shots of the power station and an unusual view is also attached. Taken from (probably) in front of St Matthews church.
I hope you find them of interest and feel free to share via your blog.
Thanks to Wyrleyrob for a great contribution. If anyone has anything to add, please comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.