Monday, 20 October 2014

You have arrived at.....
Your next stop along the River Tame is at Bromford Bridge; the name of an old railway station that was open from 1896 to 1965 to serve the new Bromford Bridge Racecourse. The racecourse has little to do with industry, but its effect on the Tame was notable, as the river was re-routed to accommodate the course, though a few small puddles of the old meanders remained in area in the middle of the track. The last race was in June 1965, and the housing development that is now sited there, Bromford Estate, includes streets named after famous racecourses, on land that was historically noted to be 'liable to floods'.

Bromford Bridge itself is an ancient crossing site of the river, a bridge first noted in 1317, but, by far the most impressive over-water structure in Bromford is one that no-one realises that the area has, and that is the longest viaduct in Great Britain: Bromford Viaduct. This is the stretch of the M6 that is raised above the River Tame between Spaghetti Junction and junction 5 at Castle Bromwich, and stretches for three and a half miles, giving potency to Roy Fisher's line 'under the long legs of the M6' in his poem Birmingham River. The river at Bromford has been used to power an ancient mill and forge, as well as being used by Dunlop, who even produced their own channel from the river through the factory, called the Dunlop Channel. The ancient forge dates back to at least the 1600s, and was a hugely integral part of the huge industry in iron of that time that helped to produce what we now call the industrial revolution. It survived till the 20th century rolling metal and drawing wire. Some small-scale industries have survived in Bromford, such as Hemphill Castings, who cast aluminium for markets over the world, and who kindly let us take a tour inside.

We will be adding posts about all of these aspects of Bromford's industrial history, and more, when it comes to light.

BROMFORD FORGE (1600s to 2000s)
HEMPHILL CASTINGS
DUNLOP
also......
BROMFORD ESTATE
BROMFORD VIADUCT

The map below is a blend of maps from the 1880s to the present day (2014), showing the original route of the Tame through Bromford (pale aqua), it's current route (dark aqua), and the walking route to follow the river today (red). Bromford Viaduct (M6) is in black, and industries, such as Dunlop, are in grey. Copyright Jenni Dixon ( tameppf@gmail.com ).



FIND OUT MORE

A History of Bromford from the William Dargue site: http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-b/bromford/

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