Tugs And Day-Boats On The Wyrley & Essington Canal

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2021

We look at another selection from the Jack Parkinson Collection showing images of tug and day-boat traffic on the Wyrley & Essington in 1964, during the final years of trade

One of the main carriers working on the BCN during the early 1960s was Leonard Leigh Ltd. The company was in business as coal and coke contractors, canal-carriers and builders’ merchants at Wharf Street, Hockley, Birmingham. In this 1964 image, Leigh’s wooden tug Christopher James tows three dayboats loaded with slack.

Three men are involved to keep this train moving at Pelsall Junction, where the Cannock Extension Canal joins the Wyrley & Essington Canal. The view is looking east along the Wyrley & Essington with York’s Bridge and the Royal Oak public house in the distance. The consignment of small coal being transported here is probably from Anglesey Basin, on the Anglesey Branch of the Wyrley & Essington, for Wolverhampton power station. Coal traffic to Wolverhampton station ceased on 21st October 1965.

The unusual name of the tug is reputed to be from the grandson of the owner. It was said to be built for Leonard Leigh in 19 …

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