Saturday, 4 October 2014

Introduction to the Bescot & Wednesbury Forge Area

“The river Tame runs for some distance parallel with the line, and in its graceful evolutions twice passes under the embankment […] in the river is a great abundance of fish; they may be taken by fly or bottom fishing.”
(written in 1838 about the Tame at Bescot near the Grand Junction Railway line) 

This section is all about the Bescot area, where the Tame meets its two main Black Country tributaries. Confusingly, one is also called the Tame, though has less claim on the name than this one, and was previously called Willenhall Brook (as that is where it comes from); the other is the Fordbrook which flows through Walsall. They all meet in a tangle beneath railroad and motorway, confused further by the old mill races that once cut off this way and that, serving the once vast Wednesbury Forge. The forge, if it stood today, would probably be one of the most important industrial sites in England, if not the world, but it was demolished in the early 2000s. It grew, like many other industrial sites along the Tame, from a small water-powered mill which converted to iron working in the 1500s, and became a massive industrial works for making saws, guns, and then edge tools and other hardware.

The other brooks that meet the Tame here also have important industrial histories. Willenhall Brook (officially a second source of the Tame, and usually called Tame too) passes through Darlaston and James Bridge before reaching the Tame, where heavy industry once filled the air with clanks and clatters; FH Lloyd being probably the most well known of these. The Fordbrook, as noted, flows through Walsall and was well known for supporting leather making on its banks; there were also many lime works along its route.

Wednesbury ForgeThe Willetts Family at Wednesbury Forge (c. 1704-1816)  -:-  Document Archive for Wednesbury Forge  -:-

R I V E R   G A L L E R Y

Willenhall Brook (other Tame),
by Albert Blakeway.

Willenhall Brook (other Tame) coming under the railway, 
by Albert Blakeway.

After the two Tame's meet, 
by Albert Blakeway.

After all three rivers have joined,
by Jenni Dixon.

Willenhall Brook (other Tame) under the railway,
by Albert Blakeway.

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