On islands…

Kingswood Lakeside – without warehouses or the new road in April 2002. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

Today, I have a remarkable set of photos for readers from longtime reader, friend and contributor to the blog Robert Sault. Robert, you might remember, contributed a remarkable gallery of images, mostly old-school aerial ones, of the M6 Toll being constructed in the early 2000s.

Churchbridge showing the Chase Line (right) in December 2001. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

Last week, I shared out Rob’s original post on social media, as I’d had some interest in the matter as I often do. That let to the response from reader Leighton Rees who was looking for aerial photos of the Churchbridge area – where the Orbital Shopping Centre and the notorious motorway interchange islands are today.

Churchbridge into Bridgtown, April 2002 – note the new Orbital centre, top right. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

Unknown to me, Rob was reading this request and stepped forward with images for Churchbridge from the very same set, and they show a remarkable construction project that was to change south Cannock, the A5 Watling Street and Great Wyrley forever.

Robert Sault said:

Hi there,

I read that you’ve been unwell and are recovering now. I’m pleased to hear that and hope the trend continues.

I noticed someone requested older photo’s of the Cannock Orbital and remembered that some of the Toll aerial progress shots included bits of it so I’ve enclosed these, including the stretch by Kingswood and up to the compound on the Walsall Road behind the Turf.

I hope you find them useful and that your health improves.

Best wishes,
Rob Sault

Thanks Rob – I’m getting better all the time and thanks to you and other readers for your enquiries and expressions of support. It really has been appreciated. This has been an adventure I wouldn’t wish to undertake again, but at least I’m through it now. Cheers.

They images form a truly remarkable gallery. Was it really two decades ago?

The Orbital bottom, Chase Line diagonal upper left to mid right, December 2001. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

From comments he’s posted in the past, I believe Robert worked on the construction of the motorway which was not without controversy and I’ve covered before here several times.

Chase line bottom left, orbital upper left in April, 2002. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

There is one further image in the set that’s a bit further east: The one below, which is of the south Norton Canes/Brownhills West area, on the western edge of Chasewater.

This area now is mainly houses, but originally held a lot of open farmland, scrub, a garden centre and the former Norton Canes Greyhound Racing Stadium. At the bottom edge of the image, the Norton Canes service station would be built to serve the M6 Toll – itself not without controversy, with the original plan to put it at Chasewater. Thankfully that never came to pass.

My thanks to Robert for sharing these remarkable images – this is most generous and compliments the large contribution from the wonderful Wendy Jones in her set from the period, which remains very popular – you can see that one here.

A stunning image – looking up the A5 towards Chaswater, April 2002. The Betty’s Lane industrial area is on the left, Brownhills West extreme upper right: Of course, Chasewater is top. Image generously supplied by Robert Sault. Click for a large version.

Anything to add, or memories you’ve recalled? Comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or hit me up on social media. Lets see what we can recover!

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1 Response to On islands…

  1. Ian says:

    This is a fantastic set, capturing history being constructed. The ‘Silly Isles’…

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