BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Castings’

#365daysofbiking Looking the other way

Thursday December 3rd 2020 – On an evening ride on a night as the sky was clearing, I headed along the canal to Ogley Junction, and stopped as I usually do on the bridge there, for a moment of contemplation. Normally, I take a shot of the canal back towards Anchor Bridge, but today I turned to the right instead.

Here, the canal continues in a lazy arc to Anglesey Wharf and Chasewater, but before that is passes a notorious area of Brownhills called ‘The Chemical’.

The blue factory unit over there is stood on the site of a Victorian chemical factory and later, an alloy smelting works that poisoned the land, polluted the air and led to it’s descriptive nickname.

The Chemical stood as wasteland for many years until six years ago when the new unit was built as an extension to a local factory. The contaminated soil was encapsulated beneath the new building’s floor, and held safe.

Given a few years, I doubt many folk will ever know why we call this place The Chemical.

from Tumblr

July 16th – This curious flower was found in the reed bed at the edge of the canal at Newtown, near the Castings factory. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and it seemed to exist in isolation.

It turns out it’s a common reed: branched bur-reed, and the flowers – little spiky gloves about the diameter of your fingernail – are remarkable. It’s an apparently common canal plant, so I must have seen loads of it and never realised.

I really should open my eyes more!

August 27th – It was a clear, bright moonlit night and I had an errand to run so I blasted down the canal and looped around Brownhills. I’m really getting used to the Nikon now, and I enjoyed taking these pictures immensely.

The camera has odd foibles, but it’s a great little thing for sure.

I was amused to note the boat – complete with cushions and electric motor – tethered near the Anchor, clearly someone’s beer buggy of choice. Most excellent.

January 15th – Viewed from just below Meerash Farm, near Hammerwich, the sunset over Brownhills was beautiful, even over this normally ugly bit of the skyline known as The Chemical. Once the site of a chemical works, then the Superalloys military scrapyard, now the vents and flues of one of Brownhills’ largest employers, Castings, punctuate the factory roofs. In daytime, this view is at best, unremarkable and at worst, hideous. At sundown, though, precious. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

October 30th – It’s good to see the site of the long-gone Superalloys factory being redeveloped. Derelict for thirty years or more, it’s stood for decades as a testament to Brownhills’ lost industrial past. Once a chemical works and known to locals as ‘The Chemical’, the land was contaminated and hard to pitch to developers. Finally, one of the last major manufacturers in the area, Castings PLC, have decided to expand onto the wasteland and the new building is positively flying up. Although it towers over Ogley Junction, I welcome the jobs and business this new factory will bring. Good news in a bleak economic landscape.