The Industrial Heritage of Commercial Wharf
After the major decline in commercial boating, the land at the site was turned over to commercial uses such as Scrap Yards and Concrete Casting. As the canals turned towards leisure use, the canal arm and docks became a place for old workboats to be converted. AMS Marine ran from the boat house in the 80's and it remained as a boat slipway until the early 90's when the last boat returned to the water.
In 1982 the Boat House was restored, and continued to occupy businesses until c1990. It then had the occasional boat on the slipway until 1992
Sadly after the last boat left the site was abandoned. In less than 25 years it fell foul to the elements, and although locally listed the boathouse has fallen into disrepair.
The site is of a historic interest. Limekilns were situated on the site feeding the nearby factories. The Boat House (which is locally listed), and the Wharf and slipways were originally built in 1890 by the London & North Western Railway (LNWR), and later passed into the hands of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS).
They were used to maintain the boats which were used for the transportation of coal and other raw materials to and from site. Below is an aerial photograph from the early 20th century showing the site in active use, with the limekilns, moored boats and slip buildings clearly visible.
Limestone to feed the kilns would have been transported to the wharf on narrow boats from some of the many quarries in the Black Country. Pigot & Company’s Directory of 1842 and White’s 1851 Staffordshire Directory both list a lime burner at Horseley Fields by the name of John Ellis, so presumably he was based at the wharf. It appears that the lime kilns were still in use in the 20th century.