Chasewater’s reservoir and dams were built to provide a reliable water supply for the growing canal network of the West Midlands.
When coal was discovered and mined around the shores of the lake, the Wyrley and Essington Canal was extended to Chasewater so coal could be transported easily to the furnaces of the Black Country.
A tangle of mineral railway tracks was laid and ultimately the area became scarred by the wastes of mining and associated activity. Mining activity in the area ceased in the early 1990s.
1797 The reservoir was constructed to provide water for the Wyrley and Essington Canal and onward to the growing canal network around Birmingham and the Black Country.
1799 Eastern Dam failed following a heavy summer storm. Livestock was killed and significant damage was caused to property downstream as far as Shenstone (8kms away).
1800 The dam was re-built and reservoir re-filled.
1850s Wyrley and Essington Canal extended to Chasewater to transport coal.
1940s The canal, reservoir and dams were taken over by the British Transport Commission.
1957 The dams and the reservoir were sold to the Urban District Council of Brownhills. But the Transport Commission reserved the right to ‘operate any valves … necessary for the control of the intake or supply of water into and from the reservoir’. British Waterways continue to use this right to the present day.
1974 Urban District Council of Aldridge-Brownhills subsumed into the newly formed Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.
1994 Act of Parliament changes local authority boundaries thereby handing ownership to Lichfield District Council.
From 1995 Significant investment from the district and county councils, ERDF, and others sees a dramatic rejuvenation of the park, plus remediation work to the dam’s structures, paid for by Lichfield District Council.
2011 Ownership of Chasewater Country Park and its dams, and the responsiblity for the dam works, transfers to Staffordshire County Council.