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Tunnel Cottages Kings Norton

pjmburns

master brummie
According to Historic England they are (?) listed cottages above the Wasthill Tunnel on the Birmingham Worcester canal.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
They are still there, at least they were a couple of years ago. I think there were two cottages that sat just above the southern portal of Wasthill Tunnel on the Worcester and Birmingham canal on Wasthill Lane just before the junction with Lea End lane. Not really sure what they were there for, maybe the canal either the construction of the tunnel or they housed legging teams for the narrow boats
 

pjmburns

master brummie
Thanks Morturn. I put the (?) as I couldn't tell if they still existed and you never know even with listed buildings. Did find one on Zoopla sold in 2017.
 

knobbydave

knowlegable brummie
The last time I went through the tunnel in 2010, the kids from above waited until the barge came out (they can hear it) and then they threw stones at it trying to break the windows and hit the 'tiller man - me' (is that the right word). The canal is in a deep cutting at this point and there's nowhere to hide! I remember the cottages when I was a boy - we used to cycle out to the tunnel and play on the top near the air shaft - sorry, no pictures though
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
There was a drowning in September 1956 and Ernest James, relief waterman of Tunnel Cottages, Masshouse Lane appeared as a witness.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
I recall there have been a few incidents in Wasthill Tunnel, a canoeist aparanlty drowned. There was also a collapse in the 70's, some BW workers were repairng the brickwork when one of the construction shafts caved in on them.

I have travelled thought it myself in 1966 on a narrow boat call Adder. I recall one of the air shafts had loads of water pouring down and the engine of our boat was bringing the soot of the roof
 

Dianna1964

New Member
Thank you for all the responses. The cottages are still standing as I live in one. Apart from what’s been posted there doesn’t seem to be any history that goes back any further. The tunnel I know was built in 1797 and apparently the houses went up soon after. I’m just intrigued what the area around the cottages looked like and the cottage itself. Can’t seem to get any history about it at all. Thank you all though for the information
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
There is quite a lot of information on the building of the building of the tunnel in "The Worcester & Birmingham Canal " by Rev. Alan White (where it is named as the West Hill tunnel). In 1816 it was decided to build stables at both ends of the tunnel . Then, in 1976 it was decided to replace the "legging" that had been used to drive boats through the tunnel (and the others on the canal) by tugs. At first the tugmen were housed in rented houses in Tardibigge and Kings Norton, but in 1878 a terrace of split level cottages were built at Tardibigge, and "two pairs of semi-detached cottages at the north end of the West Hill tunnel, one pair on the hill above the portal , the other above the cutting by the Masshouse lane/Primrose hill high bridge"
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
I recall there have been a few incidents in Wasthill Tunnel, a canoeist aparanlty drowned. There was also a collapse in the 70's, some BW workers were repairng the brickwork when one of the construction shafts caved in on them.

I have travelled thought it myself in 1966 on a narrow boat call Adder. I recall one of the air shafts had loads of water pouring down and the engine of our boat was bringing the soot of the roof
(In a further report the tunnel was said to be 180 years old.)

067BA33F-1CEF-4875-BFE0-3EA456D1A246.jpeg
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
as usual pedro great info to add to the thread...also a good map jan...wonder if those 2 men got out alive

lyn
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Here is a very distant view of what I presume must be the cottages from the canal in 1936 (from Alan White's book)

View attachment 140375
Taking Mike's picture and the corresponding Google 3D it looks like the cottages shown still exist, but not in Masshouse Lane.

In the 1911 census the addresses go down Masshouse Lane and come to Tunnel End and on to West Hill Cottages. Around the southern end of the tunnel is Wast Hills, so no wonder there is confusion about the name.

(The cottages in the picture can be seen on the bottom right of the map put up by Janice. They man be the Tunnel End address mentioned in the 1911 census?)


IMG_1917.JPG
 
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oldMohawk

master brummie
Reference information in post#10 regarding cottages built at each end of the tunnel there is an aerial photo (date 1946) of the cottage at the south end. The canal is left of the cottage and the tunnel (underground) to the right.
TunnelHouse1946.jpg
image from 'britainfromabove'

A similar view today but trees partially mask the cottage.
TunnelHouseNow.jpg

A close-up view of 'Tunnel House Cottage' appears in the following link. See the nameplate on the building.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Reference information in post#10 regarding cottages built at each end of the tunnel there is an aerial photo (date 1946) of the cottage at the south end. The canal is left of the cottage and the tunnel (underground) to the right.
View attachment 140401
image from 'britainfromabove'

A similar view today but trees partially mask the cottage.
View attachment 140402

A close-up view of 'Tunnel House Cottage' appears in the following link. See the nameplate on the building.
Thanks OldM, here is the 1880s map and the present view together. The remains of the old building on the right can still be seen opposite Tunnel House Cottage.

E1C8D455-7D2A-49CA-9BC5-771F92B28400.jpeg
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
In January 1967 Asenath Jane Boulton, of Tunnel Cottage Kings Norton, died at the age of 86.
This is interesting, did Albert actually move to King’s Norton to pull the narrow boats through the Wast Hill Tunnel?

In the 1911 census Asenath Jane Boulton was a Card Box maker and 30 years old. Working in a chocolate and cocoa factory. She was living with her father Alfred Boulton who was 62 and a steam tug engine driver, Canal Co. Worker. His address is given as (Machine House) Worcester Wharf, Bridge St, Birmingham.

The thread starts by mentioning Tunnel Cottages in Masshouse Lane, just where are they in Masshouse Lane?
 
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