Exploring Telford

The Old Canal System

Site contents © Richard Foxcroft 1996-2002

The Humber Arm

Although there was a route by canal to the workings at Muxton via Trench and Wappenshall, the owners, having once begun to build a railway to connect the various mines in the area, soon found it convenient to shorten the canal journey by building a line to The Humbers, where there was a wharf. From there, a three-quarter-mile straight canal connected with the Shropshire Union south of Buttery Farm. Although it was working within living memory, very little remains.

The junction can be reached three quarters of a mile down a lane running east from just south of Kinnersley, but the walker who was not looking would not recognise the remains of the canal; merely, the tracks and drainage ditches align with the canal on old maps.

The first half runs through a strip of woodland, thick with undergrowth; the second half is gone; and at The Humbers, there is Wharf Cottage, and a fishing pool which is a remnant of the canal. A derelict building stands on the former wharf.

Barry Marchant sent me his childhood memories of Wharf Cottage:

In 1940 my family lived at Chelsfield in Kent, directly under the Battle of Britain! My father decided to move to a safer area and by whatever means secured a job on a farm in Shropshire. We moved into the Wharf House, beside the wharf at the end of the Humbers arm. When we arrived at our new home we were greeted by a neighbour, Phyllis Symington, who gave us tea and food. Her husband Jock was the foreman at the farm where my father was going to work. His brothers, Harry and Billy also worked at the farm.

On the other side of the house, running close by the back door was a brook from which my mother collected water for laundry. Our drinking water came from a spring at the end the of canal, close up against the fence which separated the canal from the road (Humbers Lane).

There was an army camp a short distance away, Humbers Camp. One day my older brother, who was six and therefore entirely to be trusted, took me for a walk up beside the canal. This was on the far side of the canal from the wharf and our house. That is, standing on the road and looking up the canal, we walked up the right hand side. We walked up to the main canal, and I have an impression of walking over this on a narrow bridge or even a plank. Not sure. My mother, that afternoon took us for a walk along the same route and was taken aback when I told her I'd been up there that morning! Those were the days!

Unfortunately, my Dad did not get on with the farmer and after only three months we came back to Kent. I have siblings older than myself, some of whom went to school at Preston-upon-the-Weald-Moors.

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