The Worcester and Birmingham Canal :: Shared Description

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built in stages between 1791 and 1815 to connect the River Severn in Worcester to the Birmingham Canal System using a quicker route than the earlier Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Opposition from other canal companies meant that for twenty years there was no direct connection in Birmingham, the last two and a bit metres of canal there being left uncompleted in 1795. LinkExternal link

This lunacy was eventually resolved by an Act of Parliament in 1815 and a stop-lock constructed.

Grain, timber and agricultural produce were carried to the Midlands. Industrial goods and coal were carried down towards Worcester, often for onward transport to Bristol. Later, salt carrying was added as a regular cargo. Pairs of donkeys were often used in preference to horses, maybe because they could easily be put onto the boats which had to be legged (or pulled by tug) through the tunnels.

The canal has five tunnels. The longest at Kings Norton is just under two miles long. Steam tugs were used from the 1870s to haul strings of narrowboats through Wasts Hill, Shortwood and Tardebigge tunnels. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal has locks, 58 of them, climbing 428 feet (130 metres) from the level of the River Severn in Worcester up to Birmingham.

In the twenty-first century the ring now formed by the two canals and the river makes a popular two weeks holiday route, albeit partly a strenuous one, lockwise, but there are plenty of pubs, though some are now merely restaurants with a bar. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal travels through some very pleasant countryside, climbing from the Severn through rolling fields and wooded cuttings and slicing through a hilly ridge south of Birmingham.

LinkExternal link
by Roger Kidd
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751 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SP0272 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Alvechurch by Mat Fascione
SP0482 : Selly Oak Railway Bridge No 79 by Mat Fascione
SP0686 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal in Birmingham by Mat Fascione
SO9768 : Tardebigge lock flight by Mat Fascione
SP0070 : Bridge 58, Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Philip Halling
SO8757 : Tolladine Lock No 10 by Mat Fascione
SO8453 : Diglis Basin in Worcester by Mat Fascione
SP0172 : Lock Keeper's Reach, Withybed Green by Stephen McKay
SO8757 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal north of Worcester by Roger  Kidd
SP0274 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal, Lower Bittell by Philip Halling
SO8554 : George Street Bridge No 5 in Worcester by Mat Fascione
SP0483 : The Worcester and Birmingham Canal near University Station by Philip Halling
SP0686 : The Worcester and Birmingham Canal leaving Gas Street Basin by Roger  Kidd
SP0585 : Graffiti along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Mat Fascione
SO9667 : Canal bridge and the Queens Head Inn by Philip Halling
SO8556 : Narrowboat on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Philip Halling
SO9160 : Dunhampstead Bridge No 30 by Mat Fascione
SO9162 : Narrowboats moored along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Mat Fascione
SO9868 : Tardebigge  Lock No 48, Worcestershire by Roger  Kidd
SP0483 : Narrowboat moored along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Mat Fascione
SP0578 : Pipebridge across the Worcester and Birmingham Canal by Mat Fascione
SO9667 : Sugarbrook Lane Bridge and the Queens Head by Jeff Gogarty
SP0070 : Approaching Shortwood Tunnel by Stephen McKay
SO8553 : Barge moored at Armstrong House by Mat Fascione
SO8556 : Worcester and Birmingham Canal, near Astwood by Philip Halling

... and 726 more images.

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Created: Sat, 18 Dec 2010, Updated: Sat, 5 Mar 2011

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2010 Roger Kidd, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.