From summers long since passed…

A very beautiful and evocative image posted on twitter by @CRTINspectionTom. Click for full size version.

I’m also indebted recently to old friend of the blog The Stymaster (whose Piglog and Publog are much older than my blog and both still going strong) for drawing my attention to a thoroughly engrossing Twatter account which a couple of weeks ago featured the wonderful image above.

The picture is from the mid 1970s, as the poster states, and I think the implication is that it was probably 1976. The image shows the Anglesey Wharf and basin area – the end of the canal – near Chasewater, with a narrowboat moored by the overflow. Note Hammerwich Church on the skyline, and the remarkable lack of mature trees in the landscape.

The poster is ‘@CRTInspectionTom‘ an Asset Inspector for the Canal and River Trust, and his account is a constant stream of wonderful current and historic canal photographs. Check it out here – well worth a follow.

One thing that never ceases to astound me in pre-1990s pictures of our area is how much greener it is today.

Nearly the same angle from 2016 posted on my 365daysofbiking journal.

Another image I want to share as a talking point is this one below, of the old ‘Iron Bridge’ as we knew it, by respected friend of the blog and Brownhills Historian David Hodgkinson. David has, of course, the oldest history website for Brownhills, without which there would have been no Brownhills Blog. David has a wealth of images I’m going to share some of soon, as I think they deserve a much wider audience, but more on that another time.

The Iron Bridge was removed in I think, 2007: It was a curious construction, pre-dating welding and was mainly hot riveted together from angle iron. The steps were incredibly steep, and the entire construction seemed to come from a hand that although a competent engineer, had never built a bridge before.

Many Browhillians and Clayhanger folk will remember dragging and hauling bikes, bags of shopping and pushchairs over this remarkable but frankly awful bridge, and this is a great photo.

Thanks to David for sharing it and I’m interested to hear your memories – of local canals in the decades past, inspired by these images. Please do comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at googlemmil do com.

This is the old Iron Bridge at the foot of Pier Street, Brownhills. Note the steepness of the steps. I’d say late 1980s, maybe early 1990s. Note that Silver Court Gardens and Bayley House are visible, and the rough nature of the towpath. It’s a market day and the thing is clearly in full swing; the original ‘Marina’ construction along Silver Street – with the bizarre, pointless walls – had yet to be removed. Image courtesy of David Hodgkinson.

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5 Responses to From summers long since passed…

  1. Ivor Sperring says:

    I remember crossing the canal here when the bridge was build of wood in the late forties early fifties, On many occasions there were gaps where the wooden planks were missing, the theory was that the missing wood !! had been used for firewood by local people, what a terrible thought!

  2. Paul Brevitt says:

    iI remember the basin in the 60/70 i remember crawker fishing in it just up the canal was an over flow we called it the cuckoo

  3. Facade says:

    The “new” bridge went up on 3 June 2007, the “old” bridge came down on 8 July 2007. The installation of the “new” one was a spectacle, I’m surprised they didn’t sell tickets. Certainly the “old” bridge was fully load tested that day as we were all jammed on it. I’ve sent Bob a dropbox link to the pictures I took at both occasions.

  4. Pingback: Building bridges – BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  5. Grenville Watton says:

    I was born in silver street in 1946 and lived there until 1962 when everything was being demolished and silver court was built. The bridge pictured at the bottom of Pier street was well used in those days with the Pier Inn being right at the bottom of the steps and its gardens backing onto the canal. The towpath on the Clayhanger side was well used, not least by horses pulling boats loaded with coal from the pit in Lindon Road and we used to swim regularly in the canal, happy days and Pat Collins funfair came regularly and set up on the common between the High street and the canal

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