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The name "Spon Lane Locks Branch" is a later nomenclature. The "branch" and its remaining 3 (of 6) descending locks was part of the original "'Wednesbury Canal'" branch of the James Brindley Birmingham Canal (Old Main Line). It was open from Birmingham to Wednesbury in 1769, three years before the Birmingham Canal had reached Wolverhampton. Both the Wednesbury and Wolverhampton extents were part of the original Act of Parliament for the Birmingham Canal. The 1829 date is when the branch was reopened after a (one week, I think) closure to connect to the Telford improvements – the New Main Line – at Bromford Junction. The Spon Lane part is 60 years older than this.
For clarification, (and to remind myself):
1769 Wednesbury branch of Birmingham Canal: from Birmingham, Old (loopy) main line, up 6 Smethwick locks, down 6 Spon Lane locks, along approximate current path to Pudding Green Junction, bending right at what is now Ryders Green Junction, and left up a winding route to Balls Hill.
1772 Wolverhampton "branch" from middle of Spon Lane locks (i.e. 3 locks up from bottom), approximately following line over Steward Aqueduct (then solid land), looping gently to Tipton, looping greatly around Wednesbury Oak Loop (now half gone), and on to Wolverhampton down ~20 locks.
1791 Top 3 Spon Lane locks and top 3 Smethwick locks removed (Smeaton improvements)
1829 Telford straightened nearly everything, building through many of the loops to Tipton, going up three locks there to join the Old (Brindley) Main Line to Wolverhampton.
Thanks for explaining that. I have corrected the date. I was a bit suspicious of the date myself as this would not make them the "oldest locks in the country". I hadn't realised they were part of the Wednesbury Branch.--Shantavira|feed me 17:11, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome. OosoomTalk 22:03, 26 March 2012 (UTC)