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Wyrley & Essington branch canal

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Spotted this in a battered copy of the Walsall Observer dated Fri Jan 30 1970 - not the best scan due to the condition of the paper





The accompanying article read


A Bloxwich councillor is intensifying his effort to get a stretch of canal covered. Walsall Town Council have admitted that it is a health hazard.


The canal which lies only a few hundred yards from a school on the Mossley Estate is chocked with debris and filth.


Only a few months ago it was the centre of a tussle between Walsall and Cannock local authorities over the technical question of which town owned the rats that were breeding there.


Walsall councillor S Wright claims that a pledge was made four years ago that the canal would be culverted. Chief public inspector Mr J P Barton agreed yesterday (Thursday) that there was a health hazard. ‘It is a regular complaint’ he said. ‘We have had to clean it out a number of times, but it has always filled with debris again. We have also treated it for rats, but they keep coming back. It is a nuisance, and one to which we have to give constant attention’.

‘It is a disgusting mess’ said Councillor Wright, who considers that the situation had been badly mishandled. ‘Children could be in serious danger, yet nothing is done’ he went on. ‘We have talked about it and said how bad it is, but the time has come to do something about it’.


It was at its worst in summer, when the flowing brown water stagnated and began to smell. If the canal was covered the council would be able to sell the adjoining land to a developer or industrialist. Good building land was going to waste.

A spokesman for the Borough Surveyor’s department said the responsibility lay with the British Waterways Board. ‘I think they intend to carry out culverting at some future date and we are going to make some contributions to the cost’ he said. ‘But when they are going to do that, I do not know’ he added.


There was no one available at the head office of British Waterways yesterday to comment.


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I well remember the terrible rat infestation at Mossley, it really showed how poor Walsall was at dealing with a problem. This was an era when "fillem in" was a common call!


The lock is probably number 3 below is a attempted enhancement of the picture:




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The father in law lived at 204 Canal Side Sneyd Junction Bloxwich as his father (also) R J Smith worked for 56 years for the BCN Co and then British Waterways until his retirement in 1962.


I've still got his commemorative retirement album from BWB which included this personal message






A picture of his (and other colleagues) presentation award taken from the staff magazine.......





I wonder where that Walsall District Social Club was located - can anyone enlighten me? Thanks


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On ‎19‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 17:57, David Mack said:

Photo not found.  Do you mean this?


That I "Bakers bridge", veru often the towpath floods there.


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