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Angelsey Wharf Controversy

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Spring 2020

Joseph Boughey uncovers documents giving an insight into the decline of carrying on the Birmingham Canal Navigations in the mid-1960s

This article explores observations from part of a single file from the Waterways Archive (CRT/BW/95/1792) entitled “NCB traffic (other than compartment boats)”. It includes many details of the decline of coal traffic within the Birmingham Canal Navigation (BCN) area, and insights into the reasons for this.Carrier complaint Unusually, it includes a letter from a carrier, Peter Keay & Son of Pratts Bridge Wharf in Walsall. By 1966 one of the few surviving coal loading facilities on the BCN waterways was at Anglesey Basin, and K.P. Keay wrote to British Waterways on 15th April to report rumours that this wharf was to close, which would involve the loss of 80 per cent of his business; compensation, or an alternative loading point, was sought. The largest customer, Langley Forge on the Titford Canal, Oldbury, took 1,993 tons in 1965 out of Keay & Son’s total coal traffic of 4,947 tons. A file records that the total coal tonnage on all BW waterways in 1965 was 3,1…

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