After I posted my ride pictures from last Saturday’s spring sojourn around east Staffordshire, reader Graham posed a comment asking a really interesting question about a canal bridge on the A51 at Hopwas, which I’m really interested in.
I know it’s way out of the normal range for the blog, but we have lots of canal experts reading the blog, and having never noticed this before, even though I’ve ridden over the bridge many, many times, it’s piqued my interest.
Bob, this might be a little outside your usual area, but as I see you included Hopwas in your recent cycle route I’m going to ask.
I’ve always been intrigued by the canal bridge at Hopwas. One side has a pavement but the other has a section of rivetted iron, originally presumably for protection from cart wheels.
It has always looked to me as though it was a section cut from an old egg-ended boiler. Do you, or your ever knowledgeable readers, know anything about it?
That’s a cracking question, and I’d make two observations: my first being that’s very well shaped to the curve of the bridge, and secondly, that style of riveting is clearly rather old, but whoever made this was really sure of what they were doing.
Anyone any ideas, please? My only thought is that it’s possibly protection for a pipe, as there was once a Tamworth Waterworks pumping station back up the hill towards Packington, which would be late Victorian, and would probably have been supplying water to Tamworth’s paper mills further up the A51.
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