Ref Nop/2220
TitleDudley Tunnel, Dudley Canal Navigations Line No. 1, Dudley
DescriptionA canal pleasure boat about to enter the northern portal of the Dudley Tunnel, at Castle Mill Basin. The train overhead is a goods train on the Great Western Railway's (GWR) Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Line travelling towards Dudley from Tipton Five Ways stations. Passenger transport ceased on this line in 1966. On this side of the tunnel now stands the Black Country Museum.
Date1966
TermCanals
FormatPhotograph
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AccessStatusOpen
Extent1 item
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AdminHistoryStarted in 1776, under the direction of Thomas Dadford Senior and opened in 1779. It was extended to the Birmingham Canal via Dudley Tunnel in 1792 (under Act of 1785). The canal went from Tipton Junction, where it joined the BCN, through Dudley Tunnel, to Park Head Locks. The Dudley Canal Line No.1, officially closed in 1962. Dudley Canal Tunnel Preservation Society formed on 1 January 1964, and provided boat trips through the tunnel. In January 1972 Dudley Borough Council agree to contribute half the cost of restoring the canal and in September it was officially reopened.
The Dudley Canal Tunnel, was begun privately by John, 2nd Lord Viscount Dudley and Ward (Earl of Dudley) in 1785 and completed in 1792. It formed part of the branch canal to Castle Hill and acted as an important link between the Birmingham and Black Country canal network and the Staffs & Worcester Canal at Stourton. It is the oldest in the Dudley system and the earliest of any length to be built. Unlike other tunnels, it also formed part of the underground transport system designed to transport limestone from the Earl Of Dudley's mines in Castle Hill and Wren's Nest, west of Dudley, to Birmingham and the rest of the country. Part of the canal is also made up of open-air basins aswell as continuing underground. One of these open-air basins called Castle Mill Basin, eventually became part of the junction between the limestone mines and the canal. The canal is divided into three sections by these open-air basins at Shirt's Mill and Castle Mill (the latter site was used to supply engines, tools and other equipment to the many collieries in the region). The elaborate high-roofed Cathedral Arch is one of these underground junctions that connects an open-air basin with Singing Cavern which has a wharf, and can now be accessed via new tunnels built in 1984 and 1989, as the old canal route became unusable. When mining ceased, the tunnel fell into disuse but was restored and re-opened in 1973. It is now owned by the Dudley Canal Trust and used for pleasure rides adjacent to the site of what is now the Black Country Museum. The foundations of two of the Earl of Dudley's limestone kilns, near the entrance to the Dudley Canal Tunnel, are also close to the Black Country Museum site in an area that was once rich in coal, ironstone and clay as well as limestone.
Persons
CodePersonNameDates
DS/UK/966Dudley, Worcestershire, UK; Dudley No.1 Canal Navigation; 1776 - Present1776 - Present
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