Farmer's Bridge top lock 1, Birmingham, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member tofixe
N 52° 28.850 W 001° 54.719
30U E 573888 N 5815076
Quick Description: This is a lock, right in Birmingham city center.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/23/2013 2:38:54 AM
Waymark Code: WMH4VK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
Views: 4

Long Description:
The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal is a canal of the Birmingham Canal Navigations in the West Midlands of England. Its purpose was to provide a link between the Coventry Canal and Birmingham and thereby connect Birmingham to London via the Oxford Canal.
John Smeaton was the engineer employed by the Birmingham and Fazeley, but work did not start immediately, as he was also responsible for the Riders Green to Broadwaters line, which was completed first. The project did not go smoothly, as there were disputes between James Bough, the superintendent of the canal company, and Pinkertons, who were the civil engineering contractors employed to carry out the work. The issue concerned the cement that the Pinkertons were using. Work on the Fazeley line began in April 1786, with Bough still acting as superintenent, and the Pinkertons responsible for the construction of the section between Minworth and Fazeley. In late 1786, George Pinkerton found out that the levels, which had been surveyed by Bough, were wrong. Samuel Bull, the engineer for the canal company, investigated and reported that Pinkerton was right. The Pinkertons started to work on the project from January 1787, even though the contracts were not signed until May. Bough made a series of allegations that Pinkertons' workmanship and the materials used were of poor quality.

The company stopped paying Pinkerton in late 1788, as the costs were exceeding the original estimates, and the contract was taken away from them in February 1789. There was then a financial dispute over money which had been paid to Pinkerton as "extras", but which the company then claimed were overpayments. Some £2,750 was at issue, and the case rumbled on for a decade, until a court case in 1801 gave him only £436 of the claim. Unhappy with the outcome, Pinkerton justified his position, but his remarks about John Houghton, the Company Clerk, were deemed to be libellous, for which he was fined and spent some time in prison.

The canal was completed in August 1789. The benefits of the co-operation with the other canal companies were that when all the links were completed in 1790, it immediately generated a great deal of freight traffic. This created problems, as the flights of locks at Aston and Farmer's Bridge became congested, and this became worse when the Warwick Canal built a junction onto the Digbeth Branch. The problem was not solved until 1844, when the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal to the south east and the Tame Valley Canal to the north west were opened. The name of the Birmingham & Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Company was changed to Birmingham Canal Navigations in 1794.

The canal is now regarded as running from the BCN Main Line at Old Turn Junction (near the National Indoor Arena), Birmingham to the Coventry Canal at Fazeley Junction, just outside Tamworth. The length of this stretch is 15 miles (24 km), and it includes 38 locks. From Old Turn Junction, 13 locks drop the level of the canal by 81 feet (25 m), after which there is a short flat stretch from St Chads Cathedral to Aston Junction. There is a one mile (1.6 km) branch called the Digbeth Branch Canal which runs from the junction to Typhoo Basin and contains 6 locks. A short cut runs from near the end of the branch to the Grand Union Canal at Bordesley Junction.

Below the junction there are another 11 locks, which form the Aston flight. Holborn Hill bridge carries the railway to Aston station over the canal, just before the bottom lock of the flight is reached. At Salford Junction, the Tame Valley Canal runs to the north west, and the Grand Union Canal runs southwards, while the Fazeley heads eastwards. Two more locks continue the descent at Minworth, and the character of the surroundings changes from an urban and industrial landscape to open countryside. There is a short 57-yard (52 m) tunnel at Curdworth, after which fields and flooded gravel pits line the canal. At Drayton Bassett, an eccentric footbridge with Gothic-style towers crosses the canal, close to Drayton Manor Theme Park, after which Fazeley is reached, where the canal joins the Coventry Canal.

The 5.5 mile (8.8 km) stretch which extends northwards beyond Fazeley Junction to Whittington, near Lichfield, was built by the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Company, although it was built on the route authorised by the Coventry Canal's Act of Parliament. This section is now regarded as being part of the Coventry Canal.

Historically the canal started at Farmer's Bridge Top Lock (the real Farmer's Bridge Junction), where it met the already existing Birmingham Canal Newhall Branch. That branch has now been built over, with only Cambrian Wharf surviving.

The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal forms part of the Warwickshire ring.

Waterway Name: Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Connected Points:
Birmingham and Coventry Canal

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 8/1/1789

Elevation Difference (meters): 2.00

Site Status: Operational

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

Web Site: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Alancache visited Farmer's Bridge top lock 1, Birmingham, UK 6/19/2014 Alancache visited it