Stourbridge Canal


Stourbridge Canal

The Stourbridge Canal is a canal in the West Midlands of England. It links the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal (at Stourton Junction, affording access to traffic from the River Severn) with the Dudley Canal, and hence, via the Birmingham Canal Navigations, to Birmingham and the Black Country.

The Stourbridge and Dudley canals were originally proposed as a single canal in 1775, but were separately authorised in 1776. The engineer was Thomas Dadford. The Canal was largely complete by 1779.

At Wordsley Junction, the Stourbridge Town Arm heads south-east into the town of Stourbridge.

A flight of sixteen locks takes the canal up the hill towards Pensnett Chase, where there were collieries. From Leys Junction, the Fens Branch is a short, navigable feeder from Fens Pools and the main canal continues to Delph Locks, a flight of originally nine (now only eight) locks at the start of the Dudley Canal.

The canal remained profitable until the eve of World War II. A branch railway line from Stourbridge Junction railway station, via Stourbridge Town railway station to Stourbridge Basin was built in the 1850s. The basin was for interchange with the canal, and this aided the canal's continued use.

A separate company built the Stourbridge Extension Canal from the Fens Branch to Shut End (in Kingswinford) thus opening up another part of the coalfield to development, but this passed into the hands of a railway company in 1860 and became completely disused after the Second World War, apart from a few yards at the Fens Branch end, which remain watered and serve as a mooring place.

The canal forms part of the Stourport Ring, which is one of the popular cruising rings for leisure boating.

A major breach occurred in September 2008 between Lenton Chain and Stourton Locks. This completely drained the section and the Town Arm. British Waterways hope to restore navigation from the junction to the Town Arm fairly quickly, but it is likely that repairs the rest of the canal will take some months.

References

*cite book|author=Hadfield, Charles|title=Canals of the West Midlands|publisher=David & Charles|location=Newton Abbott|year=1969|isbn=0-7153-4660-1|pages=73-5; 100-6; 264-6

*cite book|author=Perrott, David|coauthors=Mosse, Jonathan|title=Nicholson Waterways Guide 2 - Severn, Avon & Birmingham|publisher=Collins|year=2006|isbn=978-0-00-721110-4

*cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title= Birmingham Canal Navigations|origdate= 2004|publisher= GEOprojects|isbn= 0-86351-172-4 - Highly detailed printed 1:30,000 sheet map


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