Thursday, 14 May 2015

Owen to Owen Street - Thursday 14th May

We had a nice quiet night in Bentley Moorings and even though there were lots of cars in the car park when we left the bowling alley and cinema at 10.30pm we never heard a sound. This morning Cllr Phil Bateman MBE came to visit us and ask our views on the visit to Wednesfield, its fair to say that we all enjoyed it and will recommend others to visit. Last night he presented to the first boat to moor up in the arm a copy of the book Wednesfield Our Heritage by Ray Fellows who also came along this morning. See the video of his visit on his website at


After the visit we made a speedy start to avoid the worst of the forecast rain which eventually started about noon. We motored on to Horseley Fields Jnc. and made a right turn onto the Birmingham Main Line. Although we were travelling through largely industrial areas some nice house and apartment developments have been built along the canalside making it quite pleasant.2

We soon reached the junction of the Wednesbury Oak Loop, the other end of which we had explored when we were at the Bradley Lock Gate Works on Tuesday.3

Next came the 360 yd Coseley tunnel at the far end of which can been seen where the banks collapsed in 2013 and C&RT have spent a lot of money repairing and making them safe.4

A short distance on brought us to Factory junction where we made a right turn onto the Old Main Line and Nb Toddy II can be seen following us around the turn.5

We moored up just before Owen Street Bridge outside the Neptune Centre where there are 48hr moorings with a nice grassy bank for Ecco to play on. The Anchor is a memorial to the Chain and Anchor Industry which used to be on the site.6

Even in the middle of industry the Heron is always about and the canals are a wonderful wild life habitat.IMG_6320

In the evening we all went to Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory for an end of cruise get together. The site was built in 1923 but has always been an inn. Previous to that it was a coaching inn dating back before records started. The site was originally called The Doughty Arms and was famous for years. It had a famous boxing club, but they are not sure if the Tipton Slasher/William Perry ever boxed here. The Little Pub Co. bought it in 1987 and renamed it "Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory". Later on some famous comedians performed at The Pie Factory, namely Frank Skinner and Victoria Wood. Colm O'Rourke, who owned The Little Pub Co. sold the company in 1999 to Ushers of Trowbridge who spectacularly ruined the company. Colm & Sheena O'Rourke then retired to Cornwall and on August 1st 2000 Peter Towler, who had worked for Colm for many years, bought the Pie Factory in Tipton. The Towler family still own the company and have built the business back to what Colm & Sheena would be happy with.

                                          The Pie Factory

I tried the Bullock’s Pie which was really tasty and full of lovely pieces of beef. June had the Fish and Chips and as you can see in the photo it was a very large portion of fish. It is a real old fashioned pub with sawdust on the floor and a large enamel bath in the bar where people throw their coppers for charity. A great evening was had by all.

Special thanks were given to Stuart and Marie for organising the cruise and looking after us so well and also to Brian for all his help in getting us through the locks.


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