Corn Hill To Wednesfield Road part 2

Broad Street Warehouse and wharf

When the canal was diverted in 1849 to 1850 with the building of the High Level railway station, the northern end of the original canal was left as a short basin. In 1869 this was leased to the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company who built the current warehouse, offices, and stables etc. around the basin in 1870. In 1879 the superintendent was Edward Hitchin.

A short description of the company can be found in the 1884 Wolverhampton Guide:

Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company

The length of these canals is over 200 miles. The main line, connecting the midland counties with the port of Liverpool, was opened for traffic about 1836.

These canals reach the mineral districts of North Wales and Shropshire, and, by a junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal, the North Staffordshire Potteries.

he principal offices are at Chester. New offices and premises have recently been built by the company at Wolverhampton at considerable expense, where the business is conducted. Local manager, W. Humphrey, Esq.

The company's entry in the 1908 Wolverhampton Red Book is as follows:

Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company, Wharf and Warehouse, Broad Street. District Superintendent Arthur W. Bourne.

By the 1920s the company's canal carrying business had started to make heavy losses, and so in 1921 most of the boats were sold to other carriers. The Broad Street Warehouse buildings were taken over by the Midland and Coast Canal Carriers Limited, formed in April 1922. Their entry in the 1925 Wolverhampton Red Book is as follows:

The Midland and Coast Canal Carriers Limited, Broad St. Manager A. W. Bourne.

On 1st July, 1938 the buildings were taken over by Fellows, Morton & Clayton Limited when they acquired Midland and Coast Canal Carriers Limited.

There used to be a sign on the side of the warehouse that stated the following:





Fellows, Morton & Clayton Limited made a loss in 1947, due to increased competition from roads and railways. As a result the business went into voluntary liquidation in November, 1948. The company's assets were acquired by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, the new governing body, formed in 1948 under the terms of the 1947 Transport Act which nationalised the canals. The Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, later became known as British Waterways.

The sign on the warehouse in the early 1970s.

Broad Street Warehouse then became the main distribution centre for the North Western fleet of narrow boats, and  eventually ended up as a base for the local canal maintenance team, and a storage area. In 1996 part of the building was leased to a night club.

The entrance to the ex- Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company's basin.
The ex- Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company's basin at the end of the old canal.
The rear of the warehouse.
A final view of the rear of the warehouse and the entrance to the basin and wharf.
The side of the warehouse.

The front of the warehouse and Broad Street Bridge.

Broad Street Bridge
Broad Street Bridge, carrying Wednesfield Road over the canal.

Broad Street Bridge, with the Union Inn on the left.

Broad Street Bridge prior to removal. Courtesy of David Clare.

The bridge was built in 1879, at a time when much of the area around Broad Street had been cleared as a result of the Artisan's Dwelling Act of 1875 which gave the council powers to redevelop slum areas.

It replaced a masonry bridge, and was designed by George Eastlake Thomas, the Borough Engineer. The outer arches are made of cast iron, and the main structure is wrought iron.

A trench is being dug in order to divert the canal. Courtesy of David Parsons.

Looking down from Broad Street as work on the canal diversion continues. Courtesy of David Parsons.

Dismantling the old Broad Street bridge. Courtesy of David Parsons.

The bridge was dismantled in May 1976 as part of the ring road development.

The road was widened to take the modern road junction, and the canal diverted in order to reduce the gradient of Wednesfield Road.

The diversion can be seen to the left of the old bridge.

The last days of the old bridge, as the new bridge takes shape. Courtesy of David Clare.




The stones are labelled before going into storage.




Photo courtesy of David Clare.

The bridge is dismantled. Courtesy of David Clare.

The scene today showing the new bridge, and the canal diversion around the site of the old bridge.
A final view of this part of the canal, looking back towards the tunnel.
Luckily the old bridge was saved and has been given a new lease of life at the Black Country Living Museum. West Midlands County Council donated the bridge to the museum, and gave a grant towards its erection on the site.
The bridge in its new setting at the museum.

It is now an important feature in the museum's Victorian village. It was erected there in 1978.

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