Dartmouth Circus - site of the Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817

Dartmouth Circus is an island at Dartmouth Middleway with the Aston Expressway, A38(M) going under it. The Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817 can be seen here. Linked by subways and footbridge.

Dartmouth Circus is to the north of Aston University. Located between Newtown Middleway and Dartmouth Middleway, on the A4540. The island is above the Aston Expressway, A38(M), which passes under it in an underpass. Aston Road also passes nearby. There is subways at all four corners, with paths and a footbridge that pedestrians can use. This is the location of the 1817 Boulton & Watt Engine. Which can be seen from passing traffic. Just south of Dartmouth Circus is Aston Junction, where the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal meets the Digbeth Branch Canal.

Boulton & Watt EngineBoulton & Watt Engine at Dartmouth Circus (May 2009). Photography by Elliott Brown


There are subways for pedestrians from the Aston Road and Dartmouth Middleway corner (south east), Dartmouth Middleway and Aston Road North (north east), Aston Road and Newtown Middleway (north west), and Newtown Middleway and Aston Road (south west, near Matalan). The footbridge goes over the Aston Expressway. This was probably all built during the mid 1960s. There is trees on both sides of the Expressway

Dartmouth CircusDartmouth Circus (April 2019). Photography by Elliott Brown


Aston Expressway, A38(M)

The Aston Expressway leaves Corporation Street, heading north towards Spaghetti Junction and the M6 motorway. Near Aston University and Birmingham Science Park Aston at Holt Street. Beyond is Dartmouth Circus. Sections of Aston Road are on the outer sides of the road layout here. There is a subway at this point that leads to Bagot Street.

Aston Expressway towards Dartmouth CircusAston Expressway towards Dartmouth Circus (October 2011). Photography by Elliott Brown


From the footbridge at Dartmouth Circus, you can see the Aston Expressway below. Matalan is on the right. To the left is the proposed Curzon Wharf site. The City Centre is straight ahead for traffic coming off the M6 and junction 6, Spaghetti Junction, along the A38(M) Aston Expressway.

Dartmouth CircusAston Expressway at Dartmouth Circus (April 2019). Photography by Elliott Brown


In the other direction, the Aston Expressway heads north through Aston. The Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817 is on the right. Trees line both sides of the island on grass banks.

Dartmouth CircusAston Expressway at Dartmouth Circus (April 2019). Photography by Elliott Brown


In this view from the top of a heritage bus, you can see Aston Road as well as the Aston Expressway, below Dartmouth Circus. Aston Road on the A5127, heads over the A38(M) Aston Expressway on a concrete bridge. It leads towards the Lichfield Road and the clock at Aston Cross. Was the former site of what was the HP Sauce factory and Ansells Brewery (now occupied by East End Foods).

Aston Expressway Dartmouth CircusAston Expressway at Dartmouth Circus (September 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown


The Boulton & Watt Engine of 1817

This is an 1817 beam-engine that was used for blowing air over hot coals of a blast furnace. It is a Grazebrook Engine. It was built to the designs of James Watt in 1817 at the foundry in Soho, Birmingham, by Grazebrook & Whitehouse for their Netherton foundry in Dudley, Worcestershire (now West Midlands). It was retired in 1912, remaining on site as a standby engine. It was dismantled in 1964, and is now on display at Dartmouth Circus. Made of cast iron, it is 28 feet high, and weighs 10 long tons.

Boulton & Watt EngineBoulton & Watt Engine at Dartmouth Circus (December 2016). Photography by Elliott Brown


Project dates

21 Mar 2021 - On-going


History & heritage, Transport, Green open spaces

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Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com