Those faces. She looks like a fine, no nonsense lady. ‘One of the last canal families, Vi Atkins with her daughter Violet, on the last horse-drawn run from Ellesmere Port to Clayton’s Refinery, Oldbury in 1952.
As I promised yesterday, some selected images here that caught my eye from the book I was bought for Christmas ‘The BCN in Pictures’ – a remarkable 1982 picture booklet of achieve images of the local canal network, the boats that navigated it and the people who worked it – both for a living, and to restore it in the dark years when hardly anyone cared.
This is Catshill Junction, Brownhills, from the bridge looking towards Tesco. Note the gas works where Humphries House stands today. ‘Ernest Thomas was a much loved canal carrier who later operated a substantial lorry fleet. His wooden tug DOT is show at Catshill Junction in the 50s’
The book is long out of print, but there’s loads more pictures than I feature here, so please do grab a copy if you can find one.
That face wasn’t posed. Oh gosh. I’d love to know the who and where of this. ‘What some people call pleasure! Part of canal restoration is getting covered in mud!’
It’s hard to appreciate now just what a bad state the canal was in when I was a child, and the huge strides made – much of it by volunteers – to gift us the clean, peaceful waterways of today.
I’m hoping someone can tell me where this is, and what, if anything, remains? ‘Once one of the largest operators on the BCN, Thomas Clayton of Oldbury survived until 1969, in latter years still carrying a considerable amount of oil. This scene shows their dock in Oldburyicirca 1965’
The book features a great map of the BCN network as it stood on publication and
I posted that yesterday; you can see that post by clicking here.
A familiar image, in better quality than usually seen – this is a work crew featuring well-love local character Alf Mole at Catshill Junction. They would be stood in the gardens of Chandlers Keep today. Note the child obscured by the gent in the foreground. ‘Catshill in 1956, where the Daw End Branch (sic) joins the Wyrley and Essington Canal. British Waterways staff are seen engaged in bank maintenance.’
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society still exist of course, and in 2019 are to take on the organisation of
Brownhills Canal Festival – more on that to come soon.
This is one of my favourite images, and a spot I know really well – the canal as it goes under Spaghetti Junction. An old boss of mine used to be fascinated by the crane coming from the factory building, top centre. For years it was a landmark when we returned home up the motorway from London. ‘A birds eye view of the Tame Valley Canal as it heads West towards Witton from Salford Junctionunderneath the Gravelly Hill Motorway Interchange.’
visit the BCN website here. They have some great history.
Some fine appropriate clothing in this one… bless the 1970s. ‘Towpath clearance at the Tipton end of the Dudley Tunnel adjacent to the Black Country Museum during the Dudley Dig of 1972.’
If you have any comments to make, please do – either here on the post or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. You can of course, find me on social media too.
Note Sterling Tubes in the background of this one. I’m intrigued by the steel structure spanning the canal in the background – what is that? ‘A traditional canal boat launching at Ken Keay’s former dock at Carl Street, Walsall on the Wyrley.& Essington Canal. MEROPE formerly a GUCCC wooden motor built in 1938, now owned by Peter Dodds takes to the water after being docked in February 1973.’
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