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Black Country Society Walk to Eastern Halesowen on Wednesday 29th June

This walk, led by Dave Galley, took a rectangular route along the Lapal canal, Manor Way, Bromsgrove Road and Mucklows Hill. Photographs from Graham Beckley.

At the start of the walk Dave explained how in 1990 the Lapal Canal Trust had plans to re water the four miles of missing canal to reinstate the ten mile Dudley No2 canal from Park head Dudley to the Worcester Birmingham canal at Selly Oak. Despite the obstacles that would need to be overcome such as two main roads, the M5 motorway, and a mains mains electrical pylon, it was estimated it could be done at the time for £12,000,000.

The walk continued along the canal embankment across the valley in the Leasows. When the canal was completed by 1797 the was for sometime the highest embankment constructed. The trust obtained funding to allow the channel to be rebuilt with concrete walls joined by a membrane to allow any movement in the original bank.

The next photo shows the view from the embankment. Below the embankment is the Priory pool which is also known as Breeches pool said to resemble a pair of breeches with the legs formed by two streams joining the main pool and also the Lady pool because there was once a college for young ladies based on hygiene and physical training near by.

The feature known as the Narrows shown above as a simple but effective way of sealing off the embankment should a major leak happen. Water running from leak would create a current that would cause the hinged gate in the Narrows to go with the flow and swing across closing off the rest of the canal system. It is believed the gate closing off the Dudley side was where the canal went under Mucklow Hill.

Many questions are asked about this arch on land being developed for building on Bromsgrove Rd. Some one asked if it was part of the town wall of Halesowen. It was in fact an entrance to two large identical houses known as the Mount belong to the Rose family who operated the water powered mill below sourced by the River Stour. Part of the Mount later became Halesowen Cottage Hospital and was then turned into flats, which were demolished and is now part of Tenterfields School. The Bromsgrove Cutting is also part of the UNESCO Geo Park with examples of the Westphalian Epoch. This is best viewed in winter when not obscured by vegetation.

The final group photo was taken on the side of Mucklow Hill where pannier tank locos were often seen taking on water for their journeys between Dudley and Longbridge. Halesowen Station was on the opposite side of the road.

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