Bridge, towpath and lock on Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Awbridge
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003735
Date first listed: 28-Sep-1976
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Staffordshire (District Authority)
Parish: Trysull and Seisdon
National Grid Reference: SO 85967 94869
Single span bridge Number 49, towpath and lock at Awbridge.
Reasons for Designation
The principal age of canal building began in England in 1759 and played an important part in the growth and expansion of trade in many parts of the country, linking the river network and major ports. Canals also facilitated the relatively rapid movement of bulk agricultural produce from the countryside to the rapidly expanding industrial towns of the north and the midlands. Canal construction brought with it a whole range of associated structures. Many of these, such as bridges, canal workers' houses, warehouses, wet docks, dry docks, locks and water management systems involved the modification and development of the existing designs of such structures to meet the new requirements of the Canal Age, which also introduced the need for major technological innovation. The earlier canal bridges tended to be of brick or stone, depending on the local sources available and provided access for horse-drawn boats. They are usually single span due to the narrowness of the canals. During the later period cast iron bridges became more prominent. Normally a local builder was appointed by the engineer to construct a number of bridges creating local distinctiveness in bridge designs. The great age of canal construction lasted until about the 1840s, when their utility was eroded by the huge expansion of railways with their quick and cheap transportation of people and goods. During their relatively brief period of use, however, canals became the most important method of industrial transportation, making a major contribution to England's Industrial Revolution. Surviving remains of the early industrial waterways transport network and associated structures are particularly important both by virtue of their rarity and representivity.
Single span bridge Number 49, towpath and lock at Awbridge survive well and are representative of the important pioneering period of waterway transportation network construction.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a single span bridge, towpath and lock which stands on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Awbridge. The bridge, towpath wall and lock are of red brick construction with stone coping. The bridge has a single three-centred arch with a perforated parapet above and is separated from the parapet of the abutments by pilaster strips with pyramidal caps. Underneath the bridge runs the towpath which is flanked by a brick wall with stone copings and a short flight of steps leads up to the lock. The lock includes wood and iron gates at each end. The engineer was James Brindley and it is thought the Awbridge bridge and lock may represent his first attempt at combining a lock and bridge on a public road. The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal was opened in May 1772. The monument is also a Grade II Listed Building.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ST 239
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing