Spon Lane Locks Branch

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Spon Lane Locks Branch
Bromford Junction and Spon Lane bottom lock.jpg
Spon Lane bottom lock at the start of the approach to the Old Main Line, with the New Main Line to the right
Status Open
Navigation authority Canal and River Trust
Date completed 1769 (1769)

The Spon Lane Locks Branch is an 800-yard section of the BCN Main Line canal in Oldbury, England, which forms a connecting canal "sliproad" where the Old BCN Main Line crosses the New BCN Main Line at the Stewart Aqueduct. It runs westwards from Spon Lane Junction (underneath the M5 motorway) via the three Spon Lane Locks to Bromford Junction. It was originally part of the Wednesbury branch of Birmingham Canal which opened in 1769.[1] At the top lock, there is a rare example of a split bridge, which enabled a horse to cross the canal without being detached from the barge. The rope passed through a gap at the centre of the bridge between its two halves. However, this particular example is a modern reconstruction, dating from 1986. These are probably the oldest working locks in the country.[2][3] There is pedestrian access to a tow path for its entire length, but being narrow and muddy, it is not suitable for cyclists.

On the north-west corner of Spon Lane bottom lock can be found a rare example of an Ordnance Survey rivet benchmark, this one indicating a height of 140.4336 metres (460.740 ft) above sea level at Newlyn.[4][5] This is one of two rivet benchmarks on this branch, the other being at Smethwick Middle Lock.[6]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
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Point Coordinates
(Links to map resources)
OS Grid Ref Notes
Spon Lane Junction 52°30′24″N 1°59′42″W / 52.5066°N 1.9951°W / 52.5066; -1.9951 (Spon Lane Junction) SP003898 Wolverhampton Level
Bromford Junction 52°30′25″N 2°00′18″W / 52.5070°N 2.0051°W / 52.5070; -2.0051 (Bromford Junction) SO996899 Birmingham Level


  1. ^ Charles Hadfield, Canals of the West Midlands, David & Charles, p. 65.
  2. ^ Nicholson. Nicholson Waterways Guide (Vol 3): Birmingham and the heart of England. Harper Collins.
  3. ^ "Birmingham Canal Navigation History". Canal Routes. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Rivet: Oldbury, Spon Lane Bottom Lock". Bench Mark Database. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Bench marks". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Rivet: Smethwick Middle Lock". Bench Mark Database. Retrieved 9 April 2012.

Coordinates: 52°30′25″N 2°00′00″W / 52.5069°N 2.0001°W / 52.5069; -2.0001