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Friday, March 09, 2012

Stafford Branch Canal

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal opened in 1772 but never came closer to Stafford than the 1.5 miles from Radford Wharf. The wharf was situated on the opposite side of bridge 98 from where we had our Sunday roast. The site is now occupied by a car sales outlet for BMW.

In 1805 a horse tramway was built from the wharf into Stafford town centre but this seemed not to be profitable and it closed in 1814.

Four years on in 1816 a new connection to Stafford from the canal was opened. It started from Baswich lock just a short distance from bridge 101 and was not so much a new canal but the canalisation of the River Sow. Just one lock here led down to the Sow and a 1.5 mile much realigned course of the river into Stafford. The Wharfhouse and canal buildings at the terminus were demolished in 1972; the basin was filled in and ended up below a multi storey car park. (parking garage, U.S.)

The entrance to the arm was beneath a roving bridge. The canal then entered a pound (a section of canal for U.S. readers) of 100ftx20ft, then an aquaduct over a drainage channel and the lock down to the River Sow. The lockhouse was demolished in the mid 1960`s and the bridge in the 1950`s. Records show the brickwork of the lock was intact in 1971.

So not much left it seems but in fact if you stop by and look there is a lot of evidence of the structures and a lot on the internet including recollections of one Olive Price.                             Olive spent some of her childhood living in the lockhouse and if you read all the information here together with drawings by Olive and a rare picture of the bridge you can then appreciate what you can still see on the site of the old Stafford canal. (The picture at left shows remains of the pound walls.)


Chrisi said...

I just love reading your blog!

Les Biggs said...

Hi Girlfriend!
I was just thinking about you this morning and wondering how it all goes? So often I see something and I think, "Ooh Chrisi and Keith would love this!" Like the open market at Penkridge with different breeds of chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl and more for sale. There were some mighty fine looking birds there.
Jaq X

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs