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Dudley Council
Dudley Skyline

Situated in Halesowen on the southern edge of the West Midlands urban conurbation, Leasowes is a 57-hectare public park containing the remains of one of the most important and influential landscapes of the 18th century.

It is not easy to account for the fondness of former times for straight-lined avenues to their houses, straight-lined walks through their woods, and in short every kind of straight line

W. Shenstone

Archaeological Investigations

  • The tarmaced roadway is the result of the remodelling of the dam in the 1950's. The work was quite extensive, and included the widening of the dam to its present width, and the creation of a new lower face to the dam with an outflow for water from the pool behind. The area behind the new wall was back filled with a mixture of ash and clinker. The present low walls on each side of the dam have been made from reused paving slabs and date back to the same period.

    When the archaeological investigations had been completed a protective layer was placed over the cobbles, using a geotextile membrane. The dam was then temporarily back filled with the loose material which had been dug out at the start of the excavations.

    The design for the reconstruction of Leasowes Lane dam is now almost complete. This artists impression shows how it will look once rebuilt. The drawing also shows that the cascade on the lower side of the dam will take on a strikingly different appearance with stone being imported and placed by crane to form the appearance of stone strata over which the water will flow (from a stone arch in the dam) to create a cataract effect.

  • The remains of a simple land-drain was unearthed it was formed from upturned tiles laid into a shallow trench. As the cobbles have been cut through to lay the drain it is clear that this is a later addition to the dams construction.

  • Sections of brick wall from various eras were found along the lower side of the dam. The heights of these walls correspond to the level of the road surface which was gradually raised over time. It appears that the dam has also suffered from partial collapse on the downside; this has been dealt with by the part reconstruction of the walls in an attempt to hold the dam up.

    However, it seems that these measures proved to be insufficient and that eventually it was considered necessary to completely remodel the dam to make it stable. The rebuilding of the dam was probably carried out in the 1930's, after the local authority had taken ownership of the Leasowes.

    Interestingly, this historic photograph shows the dam with a tall brick wall with regular spaced piers on both sides. The style of the ladies dress would suggest that the picture was taken around the end of the 19th century, or perhaps early into the 20th century. Close inspection of the photograph reveals that the lower wall is already beginning to tilt indicating some movement in the structure of the dam.

  • The tarmaced roadway is the result of the remodelling of the dam in the 1950's. The work was quite extensive, and included the widening of the dam to its present width, and the creation of a new lower face to the dam with an outflow for water from the pool behind. The area behind the new wall was back filled with a mixture of ash and clinker. The present low walls on each side of the dam have been made from reused paving slabs and date back to the same period.

    When the archaeological investigations had been completed a protective layer was placed over the cobbles, using a geotextile membrane. The dam was then temporarily back filled with the loose material which had been dug out at the start of the excavations.

    The design for the reconstruction of Leasowes Lane dam is now almost complete. This artists impression shows how it will look once rebuilt. The drawing also shows that the cascade on the lower side of the dam will take on a strikingly different appearance with stone being imported and placed by crane to form the appearance of stone strata over which the water will flow (from a stone arch in the dam) to create a cataract effect.