Fast and sluice

control hut 1960

A workman operates a sluice valve, 1960s. Image from the Canal and River Trust Archive.

Last week, I featured the third batch of images from the Canal and River Trust Archive, of the Grove Colliery near Brownhills in the late 1950s – also revealing the archive and inviting readers to go see what they could find.

Andy Dennis got busy, and found the above image of a workman opening a sluice valve, tagged ‘Anglesey’, which he suspected was of a valve house at Chasewater – not the notable one on top of the dam, but the lower one just above the basin.

He went and took a photo, and compared the two. He was bang on the money – the chap is operating some kind of sluice at Chasewater.

control hut 2015 (600x800)

This is clearly the same brick hut as above; note the dark brick halfway up the doorway on the left. Image kindly supplied by Andy Dennis.

What’s interesting me here particularly, is how the sluice arrangements on the dam must work. Way back in 2010, the excellent LichfieldLive featured this publicity image of Councillors draped over (sorry, operating) the sluice valves from the thruppenny-bit valve house on top of the Dam:


Coulcillors Val Richards and David Smith look like they’re doing something at Chasewater back in 2010, from LichfieldLive.

So the question is, why three sluice vales? How do they work and operate? Some clue is given by an inspection film of the sluice culvert from Lichfield District Council, where water is conducted to the canal beneath the dam, back when the reservoir was drained for the dam restoration.

So – the question is simple: what to we know about how this system operates? It’s fascinating, and I’d really love to see a description, or even better, some kind of plan.

Comment here, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

These old pictures come from Canal and River Trust photo archive, which can be found here All of these images can be obtained (for a fee of course) printed in much better quality by contacting the Canal & River Trust here.


The same workman shown checking water level in what we can assume is Anglesey Basin at the same time. Note the boat, so no weir then, and nor safety rail. Any clue to the car? Image from the Canal and River Trust Archive.

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7 Responses to Fast and sluice

  1. David Evans says:

    hi Bob
    the car is a Vauxhall Cresta quite a cut above your Ford Pops and Moggie Minors…registered in Staffordshire….RE..would guess mid 1950s..
    Walsall registration was DH..

  2. Pedro says:

    Vauxhall Wyvern??

  3. Clive says:

    I wonder if the extra valve is there so they can flush out the main overflow sump chamber!

  4. Laurence Thacker says:

    Another vote for the Vauxhall Wyvern 1956, my grandfather had a green one when my parents married in 1960 and it appearers on some of their wedding photo’s.

  5. stuart cowley says:

    Does anyone remember the houses along the path that led from the canal towards Chasetown?
    Walking towards Chasetown you would pass them on your right before dipping down to a bit of a brook ,then you’d walk up a slight incline to where the bridge is now going over the Chasetown bypass.I can remember people living in them in the 60’s then from about late 60s early 70s they became derelict. These were facing the direction of the house that’s by the dam now.

  6. Geoffp says:

    Unfortunately I am not familiar with the topography of the area, but as the *hard-working* councillors are operating two valves, and there are two penstocks (the vertical gates that control the flow of water into the sluice as shown in the film clip) that suggests that they may be part of the same system, the valve operated by the gentleman in the brick hut appears to be quite separate. I must have a look round the area with my camera when the weather improves.
    As for the car, it is definitely a Vauxhall Velox or Cresta, the ERE Staffordshire registration was issued between November 1954 and February 1955, which dates it quite precisely.

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