Mind your head!


The long gone bridge over the Chester Road between Coppice Lane and the Rising Sun. Image kindly supplied by Godfrey Hucker.

A quick one for a Saturday afternoon reaches me from the young David Evans, who’s curious about early bus routes in Brownhills, double deckers and bridges.

Inspired by the picture of the open-top pre Great War bus featured last week, David is certain double deckers ran below the rail bridge that once existed over the Chester Road by Brownhills Common, of which little remains today.

David wrote:

HI Bob

Brownhills bus pre World War I… and a certain bus route!

This image appeared on the blog a while ago and shows the Chester Road Bridge – or some of the remains of the bridge.

It seems that the height clearance had been increased at some stage by digging out, if that’s the proper term, the roadway under the bridge… hence the footpath being seemingly raised!

I wonder what the original clearance was when the bridge was constructed?

Perhaps the Coppice Lane bridge wall might give an indication?

I wonder if there is a map that shows the “private road” that led from Chester Road to Watling street by this bridge?

Kind regards

As a kid, I remember the remnants of the bridge – of which the deck have been removed – forming a ‘subway’ over the footpath, which was then lower than, not higher, than the road. I also remember the road there flooding; in the early 80s, the remainder of the bridge was removed and the road raised, alleviating the flooding.

The question is, when was the road lowered to increase clearance, if it was at all? Was it done in one go, or successive jobs?

Did buses ever run under the bridge?

Come on folks, what do you know? Please help settle the debate. Comment here of mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.


Mind your head! The ill-fated, but iconic local LNWR bus service, from a postcard featured here last week.

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9 Responses to Mind your head!

  1. aerreg says:

    hhope ime not going to put a spanner in the works on the midlands bridge but i dont think double decker buses ever went under it in the early photos the bus is always shown comming up lichfield road later years modern buses travelled via the parade to the sun as a boy i walked many many times to albuts road via the bridge when the station was there the acces was a wide gate to thee right hand brownhills side of the underpass just a thought i may be wrong any case where would a bus be going down coppice side walsall to the sun was number 11 GOD BLESS

    • sheila lewis says:

      I agree the buses ran along the Parade and A5 also Whitehorse Road. No.11 went to Walsall along Pelsall Road into Pelsall then onto Walsall.

  2. Andy Dennis says:

    My recollection is the same as Reg’s. Harpers’ and Midland Red certainly used the Parade. In think there is a clue to the contoures of the road lies in the footpath, which still dips.

  3. Buses never went up the Chester Road whilst the Midland Bridge was there althought the road went down like it does in Walsall back of the railway station. Pedestrians were above the top of the cars as they used the raised pavements but not quite above heavy vehicles. Harpers and The Red used the Watling Street then came down the Parade. However the Midland Red Shrewsbury to Leicester would continue along Watling Street both ways to it’s destination.. I am sure that when Phil reads this, his knowledge of the buses will come to the fore. I don’t remember , as a kid if the Corporation Blues came to the Rising Sun or whether that was later.Have a feeing that maybe the Number 11 Walsall via Pelsall to Brownhills may have done, but at a later date when the west became more built up. The 5 to Hednesford I am sure used to run down Chase road along the A5 to Watling st School then down Whitehorse Road. Of course Harpers ran across to the rising sun and down Wilkin Road to Norton Canes and Onwards

  4. frederick b lycett says:

    back when I used to drive under the bridge every day, I have a memory of it being 14’6″ but don’t quote me, a low bridge decker would manage this, but not a standard one, Ralph Ferrie had a good pitch in the old station patch, until the good old council thought otherwise.

  5. Harpers service buses between Norton Canes and Brownhills always used Wilkin Rd, Watling St, Holland Park The Parade and High St. Buses running Private, G.E.C or I.C.I used the Chester Rd. Chester Rd has always been classed as a Trunk Rd between and continued as Chester Rd down through Norton Canes. Watling St gained its status from the Rising Sun After Thomas Telford rebuilt it from London to Hollyhead as a Major Link to Dublin. Prior to that Watling St from Rising Sun was called Roman Rd.

    • Thanks, Phil and all who’ve replied.

      I must confess I was of the opinion buses didn’t run up there, but your comment about the works services has triggered a memory.

      Was there an accident sometime in the postwar period to maybe 70s with a works service on Chester Road? I think is was serious and may have involved a fatality?

      I seem to recall seeing a clipping somewhere but it’s all a bit hazy.

      Res anyone recall this please?

      Cheers for all the contributions,

      • Hi Bob, yes you are correct about the fatality, there was in fact two accidents along that stretch of road. The fatality in December 1954 involved a Harpers works service double decker that hit a stationary lorry in poor visibility ripping out then N/S Lower saloon, three women were killed. Express & Star covered the story. The other was in the early 60’s a mobile crane pulled off the Hussey Arms in front of a works service double decker with the Jib extended taking part of the front upper saloon out, luckily injuries were a few broken bones due to the impact. I will PM you the bit of E and S cutting.
        Regards Phil

  6. aerreg says:

    your thoughts are wright bob there was an accident involving a works coach I dont have the details but ime sure some old timer who follow you will know the story was rife when I came to heath hayes years ago for the coach enthuiasts STANDERWICKS ran a service from liverpool to birmingham along chester roadin the early days of the A 5 living on chester road north they were common also other large commercial traffic was FISHHER RENWICK all whent under the midland in humour it was said STANDERWICK at times stopped at dear old selwyns down CATRSHILL for the thpassengers to buy an ice cream now that story takes some licking god bless

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