Monday, April 30, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Branches in Brownhills

I returned to the Wyrley & Essington Canal for a third visit this morning, this time wanting to explore a bit of the Daw Hill Branch that eventually meets the Rushall Canal (though i didn't go that far - another day). I also explored the Anglesey Branch that heads off from Ogley Junction to finally terminate the canal in a basin. I didn't go that far but did take in some nice views, you can see my photographs here. I plan to return to the Anglesey Branch soon and complete it.
Wyrley & Essington Canal P4210081

Friday, April 20, 2012

Go this way

The new lock 7 on the Droitwich Junction Canal, you need to go this way on the canalised part of the river else it might get a bit bumpy...
Lock 7, Droitwich Junction Canal, Droitwich Spa

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going out onto the Avon

Narrowboat Eliza about to leave the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and venture out onto the River Avon. Being a bank holiday there was a large crowd present to witness this miracle of inland waterway operation.
Eliza @ River Avon Lock, Stratford-upon-Avon Bancroft Basin

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Berwood Bridge

The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal bridge Berwood Bridge, one of the Listed Buildings in Erdington, is one of the last remaining traces of the Berwood sub-manor of Erdington.
Going through Berwood Bridge
Berwood Hall, which once stood where the modern day Farnborough Road is now, dates from the 13th century. The land originally, it is recorded, was given by Hugh de Arderne1 to the Abbey of St Mary of the Meadows in Leicester for use of a monastic grange. A moated hall is recorded in the 13th century but by the 17th century it had fallen in disrepair. A chapel on the manor (built by the canons in return for the gifts of land to sing masses for the souls of Hugh's descendants) fell into disuse by the early 15th century. The manor remained the possession of the abbey until the dissolution of the monastries and the manor was sold to Thomas Arden in 1540.

It remained owned by the Ardens until a later descendant (Dorothy) married into the Bagot family of Staffordshire2. The Reverend Walter Bagot was lord of the manor in 1783, his son was also later lord of the manor at nearby Pype Hayes Hall. The Bagot Arms pub still bears their name.

Much of the land was sold in the 1880s by the Bagots to the Birmingham Tame & Rae Drainage Board (a sewage farm is listed as being here in the late 1800s before it was moved to its current location in Minworth) but by then the manor probably no longer existed in any real sense.
December 1945 view of Berwood Bridge (via Google Earth), the bridge can be seen just left of the centre of the image. 

A farmhouse built on the site of the former manor house served as the officers' mess at Castle Bromwich Aerodrome during the First World War3 though by the Second World War the farmhouse and much of the rest of the Berwood estate had been swallowed up by the airfield. Following the war the Castle Vale estate was built on the site of the old airfield.

A few names survive here and then on new buildings and roads but it is likely the only surviving remnant of the old manor is Berwood Bridge which was built at the end of the 18th century or early 19th to allow Berwood Lane to cross the then-new Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

1) L. F. Salzman (editor). "Parishes: Curdworth." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 4: Hemlingford Hundred (1947): 60-67. British History Online. Web. 26 March 2012. <>
2) William Fowler. "A history of Erdington: an address to the members of the Erdington Institute... delivered April 27th, 1885 (London:British Library)"
3) William Dargue. "A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . from A to Y" Berwood, Berwood Common <>

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some changes to this blog

I have decided to make a few changes to this blog, i will now also cover rivers in the Midlands as well as canals (though canals will remain the focus). This is because i often visit interesting rivers so its a shame not to include them too, especially as often canal boats are traversing them anyway! I also plan to move beyond this simply being a portal into my photography and plan to do some original features and articles on the inland waterways of the Midlands. So keep 'em peeled...
Stratford-upon-Avon P4070026

Pubs (10) : Barley Mow, Droitwich Spa

Just down from Droitwich Junction.
Barley Mow, Droitwich Spa

Friday, April 6, 2012

Boxing club

Just along the Droitwich Barge Canal from Kidderminster Road Bridge is the Droitwich Amateur Boxing Club building which looks suitably beat up!Droitwich Barge Canal, Droitwich Spa

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Droitwich Canals

Its always nice to visit some new canals that i have not visited before and a trip to Droitwich Spa today enabled me to visit two new canals. Thats because the Droitwich Barge Canal and the Droitwich Junction Canal meet in Droitwich at Droitwich Junction (natch). A nice place for a visit, both canals have only recently been reopened following years of restoration having originally being abandoned in 1939.

Together the canals form an alternative link from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal down to the River Severn built originally to transport the salt obtained from Droitwich's natural brine springs but nowadays for tourism and leisure of course. Here you can see my photos of the canals, plus the town of Droitwich and the River Salwarpe that runs alongside the canals (and indeed part of the river has been "canalised" in order to link the two canals).
Stouton Croft Footbridge, Droitwich Barge Canal, Droitwich Spa

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Newhall Street Bridge

Just past the BT tower (where the canal goes underneath a building) the Birmingham & Fazeley passes underneath Newhall Street.
Newhall Street Bridge, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal