The once-derelict Walsall Town Wharf has been re-developed, and now has an acclaimed art gallery. The Town Arm of the canal got so run-down it was on the point of being lost forever, but is now totally transformed.
It provides moorings for boaters and access to the town's attractions, including the Leather Museum, Walsall Arboretum and the Jerome K Jerome Birthplace Museum.
The history of the Walsall Canal
The Walsall Canal runs for seven miles from Ryders Green Junction to Walsall Town Wharf. Once on the cusp of being lost forever, the arm has been refurbished to include mooring facilities for visitors; an innovative new art gallery is at the end of the arm and a noted arboretum lies nearby.
Walsall Gasworks were still using canal transport until late into the commercial-carrying age and tanker specialists Thomas Clayton undertook their last journey from here with a load of crude tar in 1966. The Anson Branch connected with the Bentley Canal and on to the Wyrley & Essington Canal until it was abandoned in the early 1960s. The Bradley Branch ran from Moorcroft Junction to the Wednesbury Oak Loop until it too was abandoned around the same time. The Gospel Oak and Monway Branches together with various basins and spurs, all long derelict, are an indication of how important the line once was to the economy of the area.
Vital to local economy
At Tame Valley Junction, the Tame Valley Canal branches off towards Birmingham; the Lower Ocker Hill Branch once serviced the eponymous power station. The Tipton Green & Toll End Communication connected with the main line at Tipton and, until its abandonment in the 1960s, it offered an alternative route from Ryders Green, which tended to become very busy. At the bottom of Ryder's Green the derelict Danks Branch linked with the Tame Valley while the Haines Branch served brickworks.