Lock Street to Cannock Road

This part of the canal had two factories on the western side, Junction Iron Works and Cannock Road Works. The area between the two was occupied by Herbert Street Goods Depot, which was covered in part 6.

On the eastern side of the canal are two railway lines. The western one was built by the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company, and taken over by the London & North Western Railway. The other was built by the Great Western Railway.

The old North Western line is still in use today, whereas the Great Western line closed in the 1960s.

On the right is Springfield Brewery that had a siding from the Great Western main line.

There are 4 locks on this part of the canal, lock 2 to lock 5.

Junction Iron Works

In Littles Lane beside the canal stood Junction Works, where cut nails and shoe tips were made. The business is listed in Pigot & Company’s 1842 Staffordshire Directory as Junction Works, cut nails and shoe tips. In the 1845 directory the listing is as follows: Joseph Walker, heel tip and cut nail manufacturer, Junction Works.

In between the factory and Lock 2 was a basin, which must have been used to unload the sheet steel that fed the firm’s presses. The basin would also have been used to load bags of cut nails and shoe tips onto waiting boats to be transported to customers.

In 1848 to 1849 Victoria Basin was built by the Shrewsbury & Birmingham Railway Company as part of their new goods station. Junction Works were then situated on a thin strip of land between the main canal and Victoria Basin.

Just left of lock 2 is what remains of the basin that was used by the works.

It is now overgrown.

White’s 1851 Staffordshire Directory lists Joseph Walker as a cut nail maker in Littles Lane.

The factory is marked on the 1901 Ordnance Survey map as Junction Works, cut nails and shoe tips, but is marked as disused on the 1919 map, so the business must have closed by then. The site was later acquired by the Great Western Railway for an extension to the goods station.

An impression of how Junction Works must have looked in about 1900.

Cannock Road Wharves and Cannock Road Works

By 1851 the site had been occupied by the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company who had two wharves, a large one roughly in the centre of the site, and a smaller one to the north. The company is listed in White's 1851 Staffordshire directory as follows:

The Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company, Cannock Road. R. K. Shenklin agent.

In 1870 the company built Broad Street Warehouse, and moved from Cannock Road to the new premises. The Cannock Road site was sold by auction in 1870, as a site with extensive warehouses, and wharfage land.

The site today, as seen from lock 4.

The large basin was in the centre, where the building now stands.

Another modern view looking towards lock 5.

The narrow basin was on the extreme left.

A map showing Cannock Road Works, and the two basins.

The northern basin had been filled-in before the factory was built.

G. R. Smithson & Company Limited.


It appears that the site was purchased by Smithsons in the 1890s when the factory was built.

The company, founded in 1888 were originally japanners, but changed direction to produce a wide variety of small pressings, presumably when Cannock Road Works was built.

Pressings of all kinds were supplied to vehicle manufacturers, railways, and mining companies. Small fabrications, up to 50lbs were also produced.

In the 1950s the company became part of the Owen Group, and remained on the site until 1985 when the business moved to Arwell Works, Stafford Road, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton.

Today the site is occupied by a small dairy.

An advert from 1927.

A small catalogue from the 1950s:  


A folder from the 1970s:



For some years Smithsons also produced Carpenter and Tildesley locks at the Cannock Road site, where there was a lock making department..

In 1830, James Carpenter and John Young took out a patent for an improved design of latch bolt and lock. The two agreed to divide the patent into rim lock use and mortice lock use. James Carpenter constructed rim locks, while John Young had the right to make mortice locks.

Carpenter named his rim lock "Number 60", which became known as "Carpenters lift up lock". As his business grew he erected a large factory in New Road, Willenhall, known as Summerford Works. After James's death in 1844, John Carpenter and James Tildesley, a local locksmith who had married James’s daughter Harriet, inherited the business. The name was changed from Carpenter and Company to Carpenter and Tildesley, in 1851.

In 1852 James Tildesley became the sole owner of Carpenter and Tildesley and developed a large business exporting locks to Australia. He died in 1876 and the control of Carpenter and Tildesley passed to his sons, James C. and Clement.

James died in 1907, and in 1915 Clement signed a lease with G. R. Smithson and Company Limited for the lease of Summerford House, originally the home of James Carpenter and then the Tildesleys.

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