Willow Wren at Brownhills

Canal Postcards: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones reveals the background details of a picture postcard of the BCN at Brownhills

After the Willow Wren Canal Carrying Co Ltd was founded late in 1953, it started its carrying operations in April and May 1954. From the following June, coal was taken from Baddesley, Newdigate and Griff collieries in Warwickshire on the Coventry Canal to Hayes Cocoa Co on the Grand Union in Middlesex, owned at the time by the Nestlé company. This was on behalf of several coal factors, such as Evesons (Coal) Ltd of Birmingham, which had the supply contracts. These Warwickshire pits were beset by problems in the mid-1950s and so supplies from Baddesley ceased in April 1955, with the others continuing until 10th May 1957, when the contract was switched to Cannock Colliery on the Birmingham Canal Navigations’ Cannock Extension Canal. The first pair to load there was motor Quail and butty Teal, steered by Jack and Doris Monk early in May. The Hayes factory was built in 1913 for the Sandow Cocoa Co, passing to the Hayes Cocoa Co in 1916. It transferred to Nestlé in 1929…

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