Broad Street Basin part 2

The Temporary Railway Station

The railway station is the brick building behind the lean-tos at the rear of the Union Inn.

The Union Inn stood next to the first railway station to be built in the centre of Wolverhampton. It was owned by the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company and designed by their architect Edward Banks. The station was built by William Jarrow of Leicester at a cost of £380.

The Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway also built the original High Level station, and had a half share in the project with the London and North Western Railway.

Unfortunately building work was delayed because of the decision to divert the canal. This problem was overcome by the building of the temporary station which enabled the company’s trains to operate while work was in progress on the High Level Station.

The temporary station opened on 12th November, 1849 and had a single platform on top of the railway embankment, with a walkway down to the station. There was a loading area with a track at the rear of the building.

The station closed when the high Level station opened on 24th June 1852.

After closure the building was used as a Sabbath School, and later sold to the Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company for use as a stable block and general storehouse.

In later years it was used by Dent and Partners Limited who were builders, and Midland Painting Limited.

The location of the temporary station.

 The Hay Basin and Wharf

The Hay Basin and wharf was built in 1850 and originally called the Albert Basin. It quickly became known as the Hay basin because large quantities of hay were transported here.

Work on the wharf began in April 1850. It soon became the scene of a riot between two opposing railway companies, the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company and the London & North Western Railway.

After the opening of the temporary railway station in 1849 the relationship between the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company, and the London & North Western Railway became problematic.

The North Western went into direct competition with the S&B by reducing fares on the Shropshire Union line from Stafford to Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury & Birmingham immediately sought, and got an injunction to prevent this practice, but the London & North Western successfully opposed it. A long legal battle and a price war commenced.

The London & North Western retaliated by delaying the opening of the Stour Valley Line to prevent the Shrewsbury & Birmingham company’s trains from travelling to Birmingham.

The Shrewsbury and Birmingham was getting increasingly frustrated because it still couldn't send its freight to Birmingham by train, and so decided on a different approach. The Birmingham Canal ran alongside the track, and was seen as a convenient alternative.

On Friday 12th July a group of Shrewsbury & Birmingham workmen were fitting an access gate into the boundary fence when the London & North Western decided to stop them. Mr. Moore, one of the Stour Valley's contractors sent a gang of men to stop the work.

An argument followed between Mr. Moore and the Shrewsbury & Birmingham's engineer, Henry Robertson. Soon some 300 Stour Valley workmen, all armed with spades, pick axes or the tools of their trade descended on the scene to halt the work once and for all. They were soon followed by a Shrewsbury & Birmingham train which brought about 200 men to the scene, also similarly armed, and distinguished by arm bands made of red tape. Soon fighting began, and the Mayor, who summoned the police and army, read the Riot Act. The two factions were separated, and a series of legal battles began.

In the 1920s the Hay Wharf and Basin was used by the Midland & Coast Canal Carriers Limited, formed in April 1922. They were taken over by Fellows, Morton and Clayton Limited on 1st July, 1938.

Toll House and Lock Keeper's Cottage

The cottages date from the late 18th century, but are much altered, as can be seen from the changes made to the brickwork on the front.
This sketch by the late Ron Eason shows differences in the brickwork.

Since the late 1970s a bay window has been added.

This view from 1978 was taken by the late Ron Eason.

In the 1930s the BCN agent was Mr. L. Hadley, at the Toll Office, Canal Side (top lock).



A photograph showing the cottages, top lock and Littles Lane Bridge that carries Lock Street over the canal.

The Mission Room

There were several mission rooms on the BCN. Three of them were run by the Incorporated Seamen and Boatmens Friend Society formed in 1846. Their mission rooms were at Worcester Wharf, Birmingham, Hednesford Basin on the Cannock Extension, and the Boatman’s Rest at Walsall. Independently financed missions were also built at Tipton, and at top lock Wolverhampton.

The missions held services for boat families, and provided tea, coffee, food, tobacco, newspapers, and periodicals. They had washing facilities and board games such as chess, and draughts for the long evenings. The volunteers at the mission rooms would also write letters for illiterate boatmen, and attempt to educate boat families’ children.

The single storey building by top lock had a bell and short bell tower. The mission room is marked on the 1899 Wolverhampton map, but had closed within a few years.

Sablon Welding Company's building.

The mission building was demolished and rebuilt as a workshop for the Sablon Welding Company who were in existence until recent times.

The company produced ornamental ironwork such as railings and gates.

Some of the company's products:

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