Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hill Top Aqueduct - Wednesbury Old Canal BCN

Hill Top Aqueduct
Wednesbury Old Canal

This aqueduct stood at the far end of the Wednesbury Old Canal, carrying the cut over the course of the GWR line into its terminus at a basin near Hill Top.

Whilst the canal was built in 1769 as part of Brindleys first phase, the aqueduct would not have been built until about 1858, when the railway and its associated tunnel were constructed across it's line.

Reference documents suggest that photographs exist of this structure, which was still in place as recently in the 1973, several years after the canal's closure in 1954. In the absence of a photo I include a drawing made by Eric Richardson as found in his highly informative booklet "In Search of the Lost Canals of the Black Country".

If you are interested in this long lost waterway, click here to access my companion blog which carries more information.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think the drawing is a very good representation of the aqueduct as I remember it. Firstly the cutting is much deeper than shown, so the akadock as the locals called it was much higher above the GWR line and longer from one side of the cutting to the other. There was no underbuilt arch, at least not in the mid 50s when I walked it every Sunday morning with my father. By then it was out of use, and the canal, though murky green, was reasonably clear of weed and probably still navigable if there had been anywhere left to go. The basin had long been filled in and was, I seem to recall, home to a smallholding. The aqueduct had been blocked off and drained so it was easy to see the method of construction. It was built out of a series of iron/steel? boxes riveted together with the joining sides not fully cut out in order to strengthen the join and allowing a boat to pass through, leaving trapped water for bullrushes, frogs and newts in the bottom of the tray. There was a tow path on the side away from the tunnel entrance. The construction was held aloft on two metal piers, the foundations of which were still there in the 80s when I last visited the site. It had a very rickety appearance and whilst I alway paused to look at the wildlife, I never paused for too long, being convinced it moved as we crossed.