Filtering the evidence

1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf overlaid on recent Google Earth imagery. The lost sewage works is circled. Click for a larger version.

An interesting enquiry came in recently from Declan Hammonds, who is interested in the history of a bit of edgeland in Brownhills, between the former Anglesey Wharf and the M6 Toll/Chasetown Bypass interchange that used to contain a sewage works.

The works is marked on some maps as Lichfield Rural District Council, and on others, Brownhills.

Declan asked:

Good Evening,
We have recently purchased the site of the former Brownhills RDC Sewage Works off Whitehorse road in Walsall (over the canal bridge) and wonder if this is the site mentioned and photographed in your blog.
Whilst the land has been purchased through our company, I take great interest in historical land use and wonder if you have any information on when the site last operated or was demolished.
The site has been cleared in its entirety and all that remains of its past is the sign (picture attached) and a few sporadic manhole covers.

The sewage works – clearly demolished – as seen in the 1963 NCB aerial survey. Click for a larger version. Image courtesy of Lichfield District Council.

The facility seems to have been gone by 1963, when the NCB did their aerial survey of the area – this above shows the adjacent sand quarry growing and what appears to be the remains of the circular filter beds on the ground.

If I’m honest, I’m unclear whose sewage this installation would have been filtering unless there was a sewer under the canal, but I’d say it discharged into the nearby Crane Brook. The White Horse Estate doesn’t seem to have grown until after the plant’s demise.

This 1962 1:1250 Ordnance Survey excerpt shows the sewage works expanded and still functional – but this will have been exhibiting mapping lag so it wasn’t necessarily there in 1962 at all. Click for a larger version.

Can anyone help please? It’s a really good question and a local feature I’d noted before but not really thought about. There has been some discussion of this in the past, but nothing solid. As it were.

If you can help, please do: Comment on this post, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tap my window on social media. Cheers to Declan for a really interesting enquiry.

The only remnant? Image kindly supplied by Declan Hammonds.

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26 Responses to Filtering the evidence

  1. Pedro says:

    Did not exist 1884 or 1902 but did by 1919 and known as Lichfield RD Council sewage Works, will check for more info.

  2. Steve. says:

    Hi. As a children we used to play over in that area and the bacteria filter bed were definetly being used, that would be around 1977 ish. Not sure when the stopped using them though.

  3. Ed says:

    I know that when we moved here in 1969 it was a sewerage works and as I understand it still working. Our house In Howdles Lane has Lichfield Urban district council on the deeds. Also there is a sewer system that runs right under the canal and is in use as we speak, I know this as it runs right through my back garden to my neighbours then under the canal right down to the new by pass and on from there to the pumping station at the Triangle. It is policed by Severn Trent on a regular basis.

  4. andkindred says:

    I lived in Howdles Lane, too. As I understand it, sewage from the Lane and nearby, including Castle Street, drained under the Lane, at the bottom of the dip, near the end of Anglesey Road. From there it passed under the canal to the treatment works, which discharged into Crane Brook. I don’t know when it was decommissioned, The old Brownhills Brook, draining the common, which now runs under the Black Path and Knaves Castle Avenue, but which previously ran along the bottom of gardens in Howdles Lane (even numbers), also goes through there somewhere. Andy

  5. Jayne says:

    When I moved into Wyrley Close in 1988 there was still a sewage works with road access, more of a lane actually and, the works themselves were fenced off. There was a house just over the bridge at the top of this roadway, it may have been a farm and the Highways bought it. Afraid I don’t know when it was capped off but I do remember the smell that it gave off!!
    I actually didn’t realise this was the land sold recently, interestingly this past weekend strimming has been in operation over there with plans to fence off and restrict access so I hear.
    I hope the new owners have success in whatever they’re doing there and don’t disrupt the lovely deer herd too much!

  6. Paul says:

    I had no idea it used to be a sewage works – walk the dog round there quite often.

    Noticed it has been fenced off and the footpath re-routed with signs about it being farmland and dogs being shot if out of control.

    It looks somewhat landlocked so I’d be interested in the intended use.

    • Mike says:

      There’s an old trackway from Burntwood Bridge where it crosses the canal. You can just make out the gate in amongst the overgrowth that leads down to the old works.

  7. Dave says:

    Spoke to the two guys who were working there and they seemed nice blokes. Company who bought the land have plots all over the country apparantly and either just hold onto them waiting for an increase in value or possibly to turn it into allotments.

  8. Alison says:

    There was talk of this site being turned into allotments if I remember rightly – could be wrong but seem to remember seeing something about it.

  9. John says:

    Would be great to have allotments on this site 👍🏻 I personally would take one, would have been perfect for this year with the lockdown.

  10. SarahJ says:

    What would they build on this site? Allotments, bee keeping, grazing, stables, house/houses, eco lodges? What’s everyone’s thoughts & what would you like to see?

    • BrownhillsBob says:

      No building.

      The owners are planning allotments.

      I have a post about that late today or tomorrow.


  11. Pingback: New allotments for Brownhills and Chasetown – what do you think? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  12. Sheree Wills says:

    Just been told they have planning permission. They are now clearing land and flattening

  13. Jayne says:

    Saw a digger delivered yesterday around 4pm, lots of noise but not been over to look yet!

  14. Sheree Wills says:

    Not sure what is going on. Diggers are there now. They have fenced the land off and security cameras have been sighted. No body seems to know what is going on. Don’t think it is allotments. But very large pipes were also delivered last week

  15. Shirley says:

    Lots of vehicles down there at the moment and loads of noisy machinery running. I was woken up by alarms sounding from that direction at approximately 7 this morning.

    Would be good to know what’s going on.

    • BrownhillsBob says:

      You have several options

      • Go ask them
      • Call planning at Lichfield as advised (and apparently ignored)
      • Call the landowners and ask them

      Given the historical complaints of sewage leaking here and the former use, I feel the pipes might be a clue.

      Any of the above will give you a better answer than speculation here


      • Sheree says:

        Spoke to council who were there on Saturday. Supposed to be planting trees to replace damaged ones and allotments
        The owner was there at the time. The council are taking down some trees in the same area to put it back to heathland for the bees that are rare that live there. They said that if anyone wants the logs they cut down they can take them safely

  16. D Miller says:

    It’s allotments I spoke to the Landowner today. 25-30 allotments depending on available space. Available from Match they say

  17. BrownhillsBob says:

    Right, Declan has been in touch. If you’d like an allotment, you can apply now.

    I hope we can stop the conspiracy bullshit now please.

    Afternoon Bob,

    You may recall we spoke some time ago with regard to the former Water Works at Whitehorse Rd and our plans to turn the site into allotments.

    We have now finished our enabling works and can make plots available from 1st March 2023. If any of your followers are interested they can register online at There should be around 30 or so plots dependant upon individual needs.


    • Sheree says:

      That’s wonderful news
      No conspiracy was thought. But such a large plot you never know. But lovely for you to be planting trees and allotments

  18. gloria says:

    Fantastic! I’ve been on the Council waiting list for almost a year.

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