Sights of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Part 2

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Winter 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones looks at another selection of BCN images from the 19th and 20th centuries

This engraving from Griffiths’ Guide to the Iron Trade of Great Britain of 1873 illustrates the New Mars Priestfields Ironworks of George Adams & Sons, and is full of interesting detail and visual metaphor to advertise and promote the business. The company trademark, Mars the Roman god of war, stands on the roof to oversee activities at the works. This works was in the area known as Catchem’s Corner, between Millfields and Rough Hills, which later became part of Ettingshall. It was situated alongside the BCN old main line and had its own lengthy basin accessed under a towpath bridge. According to this depiction, the basin ran the length of the works. The engraver has copied a photograph of the works but has added canal craft, with loads of coal arriving to keep production at full throttle. Adams sourced its pig iron from the works of Earl of Dudley and Earl Granville of Lilleshall, and used it to manufacture sheets, hoops, plates, bars, strip and small rounds and sq…

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