Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Engine Arm - Lucky Duck's current home

Just a few words on Lucky Duck's current location (Smethwick near B'ham in the heart of canal country), in the absence of any real news.

The Engine Arm branch got its name from the Boulton & Watt beam engine that onced pumped water from the Engine Arm to the Birmingham Canal, the engine ran for 112 years only stopping for maintenance and repairs. It is now a gated in-line 'marina' with electricity hook ups and a lovely community feel. Seems sad to take the duck away from that but i'm sure she'll be happy in Upware!

This is Engine Arm Aqueduct, just a minutes cruise from Lucy Duck's current mooring. We went over it, in fact on our way back from our cruise with the current owner.

The sign says...

This magnificent aqueduct was originally desiged and constructed by Thomas Telford in 1825 to carry the Engine Arm Canal above the New Main Line some twenty feet below.

The Aqueduct...
Is an iron trough supported on a cast iron laced arch with brick and stone abutments. The aqueduct was restored in 1985 and incuded a new painting scheme to highlight the fine detail of the ironwork. The brick footbridge carrying the Old Main Line towpath has honeycomb indents in stone quoins.

Engine Arm Canal...
Also known as Engine Branch or Birmingham Feeder Arm, is typical of the many short branches serving industry which were lined and totally enclosed by factory walls and wharves. It's main purpose was a feeder from Rotton Park Reservoir to the Old Main Line at Smethwick Summit. The end of the feeder was made navigable mainly to bring coal to the Smethwick Engine site at Bridge Street as part of Telford's improvements in 1830.

The canal is a quiet backwater but it only requires a little imagination to see it as a hive of activity with workmen, horses, boats passing, loading and unloading at the now silent wharves and loading points. When industry turned its back on the canal, the windows, doors and loading points were crudely blocked off or bricked up.

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