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East Cannock Road


The area in and around East Cannock Road has a rich and varied history.
Over the years a colliery, a stables and a busy canal basin were all situated nearby.

The canal house

Tom Pearce, the canal toll-keeper, lived at the canal house with his wife Annie and their eleven children. It was built for him in 1905, at the site his wife chose.

The canal toll-keeper’s house

One of Tom’s grand-daughters remembers:

My grandfather’s job came with a house, which Birmingham Canal Navigation built for him… They were allowed to choose exactly where they wanted the house to be sited. My grandmother chose a spot a few yards from the cottage near to the railway bridge arches so that she could look through them and watch her children as they walked down the road to school.

Tom and Annie Pearce

Tom and Annie lived in the house until Tom retired in the mid 1930s. In the 1960s the house was demolished when the canal was drained.

Annie Pearce, aged 32


The canal and its basin

The Cannock extension of the Wyrley and Essington Canal terminated here at a large canal basin across the road. It was completed in 1863, at the close of the canalbuilding era, and was abandoned in 1963. It is said that there were once so many barges leaving the basin that at noon each day they created a small bore (a sort of tidal wave), which ran the length of the canal.

Hednesford canal c1920

A tramway that became a railway brought coal to the three wharfs, where it was
loaded into barges delivering to the Black Country. When horses pulled the barges they were stabled opposite the Globe Inn.

Explore and discover
The Boatmen’s Mission

In 1846 the Incorporated Seamen and Boatmen’s Friend Society was founded. It aimed to help improve the spiritual and physical lives of men and women working at sea and on canals, and had three Mission Halls in the Midlands. One was established in 1885, here at the Hednesford canal basin, where according to the 1871 Census there were around 56 people living on 18 boats.

A Mission at Hednesford had been proposed in 1883. It was to offer a suitable coffee and reading room, well supplied with local papers – where men and their wives may spend an enjoyable evening, and a comfortable Mission and schoolroom, where our friends may hear of Heaven and learn the Way.

The Boatmen’s Mission c1910

The Mission opened in July 1885. Its staff served drinks and food and sold basic provisions. They helped illiterate boatmen by writing letters for them, and offered religious meetings, lectures and services.


This photograph was taken at the Boatmen’s Mission in the 1950s.
Pictured are Rose Deavall’s sister Edna (on the left) with
Edna’s daughter Veronica and their horse, Tommy.

The majority of the information about the Boatmen’s
Mission has been kindly provided by Anthony Hunt.

East Cannock Road


East Cannock Colliery

East Cannock Colliery was situated near the Globe Inn, in the area that now borders Stagborough Way. Full production began in 1876, two years after the
completion of two shafts. The ambitious plan to mine here at a cost of £120,000 had been made by a group of businessmen. The company chairman named one of the shafts Amy, after his daughter Amy Stokes.

East Cannock Colliery c1880

East Cannock Colliery, probably in the early 20th century

East Cannock Colliery c1950. The canal basin is shown in the background, to the right of the chimney

Tragedy struck the colliery in 1877 when an explosion of methane killed four boys and four horses and seriously injured two men.

For their injuries each workman received £10 10s, while the owner of one of the horses was awarded£15 15s.

By 1880 the business had failed and the company went into liquidation. It was sold for just £20,000, to Henry Davis Pochin, a Welsh businessman.

In 1947 the colliery was taken over by the National Coal Board, but ten years later it had closed due to lack of reserves. Surrounding collieries took the remaining coal and redeployed some of East Cannock Colliery’s workers.

The Globe Inn

As the coal mining industry grew in the 1800s the population of Hednesford swelled, and public houses began to cater for the workmen.

The original Globe Inn, which had two storeys, was established by Thomas Brindley in 1870. In 1946 the upper storey was removed when mining subsidence had weakened the building.

The majority of the information about the Globe Inn has been kindly provided by Anthony Hunt.

The original Globe Inn in the 1950s

Explore and discover
The Red House

Opposite the Globe Inn was the Red House. The building was originally a racing stables. In later years it became the home of a former music hall star.

The racing stables were run by a man named Lawrence Rooney. There were once at least six racing stables in the Hednesford area, but by the early 1900s the Red House was one of only three that remained. Erskine Williams (on the right). He is pictured with his pals at one of the military training camps on Cannock Chase, where he served during the Great War. In later life he resided for a while at the Red House.

The Williams family at the Red House

As a child in the 1890s, Erskine Williams became famous on the Victorian music hall scene as Little Erskine, the child ‘lightning cartoonist’ who toured the UK and around the globe.

In 1942 the Red House became the premises of the Artistic Poster Company, run by Erskine’s brother Frank, who owned the Tivoli and Empire cinemas in Hednesford. Erskine became an artist for his brother, and lived at the house with his wife Violet and their two children.

Their daughter Daphne tells us how the Red House seemed to her as a child:

I remember it as a rather creepy house – even in the summer the wind howled
through the ill-fitting top floor windows. It was built over the local mine and the wall of our living room had a huge crack right across it that you could see through.

Erskine Williams (on the right). He is pictured
with his pals at one of the military training
camps on Cannock Chase, where he served
during the Great War. In later life he resided
for a while at the Red House

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