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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1391874



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Sandwell

District Type: Metropolitan Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 08-Feb-2007

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 491438

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

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Reasons for Designation

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1868/0/10077 Engine Arm Aqueduct, Birmingham Canal 08-FEB-07 Wolverhampton Level

GV II* An iron trough aqueduct with tow path roving bridge. Built circa 1828 by Thomas Telford to carry the Engine Arm of the Wolverhampton level canal over the deep cutting of Telford's new Birmingham mainline navigation and thus ensure the continued supply of water from the Rotton Park Reservoir.

PLAN: The aqueduct is orientated north west to south east and has a tow path on both east and west side. The towpath roving bridge lies on the north west end of the aqueduct, is orientated north east to south west, and has blue engineering brick with stone copings and rusticated stone arch details. It was conceived as an integral part of the aqueduct scheme to allow the towpath to cross the entrance to the aqueduct.

MATERIALS: The aqueduct is an iron trough supported on a single span, cross braced to counter the outward thrust of the weight of water carried, springing from stone and brick abutments. ELEVATION: Both the east and west face of the aqueduct are of the same design with decorative ironwork tracery of three orders; the grid-work of the cross bracing rises from a single span arch with fluted gothic columns supporting pointed arches and pierced quartrefoil spandrels above; plain square section railings, rising to trefoil arches immediately below the simple rolled hand rail. The handrail terminates in short octagonal stone end piers, seven faces of which have recessed oblong panels with decorative blind tracery, echoing the trefoil arches of the railings. Sloping octagonal stone copings, cap the piers. The abutments are constructed in engineering brick in English bond with deep rusticated stone coins and copings. The towpath has a brick surface with raised footholds. The humpbacked towpath roving bridge is constructed of blue engineering brick, in English bond with a flattened elliptical arch, and vermiculated rustication to the stone quoins. Sloping abutments set at 90° to bridge, or its south side, carry the tow path from the level of the aqueduct over the bridge, and have plain curved stone copings.

SOURCES: 'Smethwick: Communications', A History of the County of Staffordshire: Volume 17 (1976), 96-8; Date accessed: 25 September 2006. SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The Engine Arm Aqueduct is an unaltered example of a C19 iron trough aqueduct and canal roving bridge, which survives intact with elegant Gothic design details by the renowned engineer Thomas Telford. The aqueduct is an example of Telford's work at its best, demonstrating technical innovation in his use of the iron trough method which allowed aqueducts to securely straddle a far greater width than traditional masonry methods. The broad span latticework arch demonstrates Telford's development of engineering techniques which was taken further in his later work on suspension bridges and road bridges. The aqueduct also has strong group value with Telford's improvement scheme to the Birmingham mainline canal.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'A History of the County of Staffordshire. Volume 17' in Smethwick: Communications, , Vol. 17, (1976), 96-98

National Grid Reference: SP 02371 88894


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End of official listing