More of my Brownhills

On my Brownhills Walk earlier in the year, I took some photos along the Wyrley and Essington Canal Anglesey Branch.  One in particular made me wonder – what was there before the M6 Toll?Then we had the collection of old photographs from Laurence Hodgkinson and there was the answer:Taken in 1966, a level crossing over Wharf Lane and the railway line, as straight as an arrow, down to Anglesey Sidings/Charrington’s depot/transport yard.  You can even see one of the large storage tanks in the distance.This is the view from Wharf Lane canal bridge,and this is a similar view now.The trackbed still looks straight – what you can see of it!And on to Newtown Bridge!

There were a number of old buildings to the left of Wharf Lane, including the old stables and a water tower.

I wonder who’s got the ‘Whistle’ sign?

These railway remains were the line from the collieries down to Anglesey Sidings where the line joined the LNWR line from Wychnor to Bescot – nowadays more commonly known as the Lichfield to Walsall line.  From there the coal could transported to just about anywhere in the country, although a lot of it was used in the Black Country.

The colliery involved in this railway was the Cannock Chase Colliery Company, which ultimately had 10 pits in the area, although they weren’t all in operation at the same time.  In the very early years of No.1 and 2 collieries, the canal was mainly used, but then McClean completed the rail system.  Since McClean owned both the coal and rail companies, the canal was hardly used between 1857 and 1861, but then McClean gave up his lease on the railway company and canal sales increased to about one third of the company’s output.The end of the Colliery line at Anglesey Sidings.  Cannock Chase loco No.6, a Sharp Stewart 0-6-0ST  2643/1876.  This picture, taken 21/7/1936 also shows Hammerwich Church in the background and the signal box on the Lichfield to Walsall line.

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One response to “More of my Brownhills

  1. Michael Sarsfield

    Hello, How nice to see photographs of where I used to play when visiting my grand parents house at Wharf Lane Cottages. As a young boy, I was born and grew up in Brownhills [20 Lichfield Road]. I was born in 1952 and lived there until 1959 when I moved with my parents to Swansea. My late mother’s father lived in Wharf Cottages – Mr John [known as Jack] Jefferies with his 2nd wife Edna, my nan. I spent a lot of time there and used to call into the “Signal Box” at the crossing, talking to Mr Mercut[I may have miss spelt his name]. I would help him open the gates for the trains going down and back to Anglesey sidings. I used to talk to the boatmen and watch the barges coming up and down. My grandparents neighbours, the Meechams, were very friendly. Every year the would have a “visitor” – Billy the Swan, who would come out of the canal and use his beak to knock on the front gate for his food.
    I n the 2nd photo – “view from the bridge” if you look on the left hand side, the first building is the old stables and pay office, next you can just make out Wharf Cottages, and slightly further the “Signal Box” [ probably known as the Gate Keepers box].
    Alas all gone now, and I understand that you have difficulty in accessing Wharf Lane?

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