Thursday, December 20, 2012

Junctions (19) : Droitwich

Where the Droitwich Barge & Junction Canals meet. Remember to keep left as the river Salwarpe is also here and there is a weir just ahead!
Droitwich Junction, River Salwarpe, Droitwich Barge & Junction Canals, Droitwich Spa

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stratford ice (cream)

I went down to Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday (yet again) and very cold it was there too. The air temperature was below zero all day and the canal was frozen as you can imagine. No surprise that the ice cream barge was closed! You can see some more of my photos from yesterday here.
Stratford-upon-Avon 13/12/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ice returns

This morning i noticed the canal had frozen over for the first time this Winter (that i have noticed anyway), here is a photo from last Winter on the Birmingham & Fazeley.
Gosta Green to Brindley Place DSC_0056

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Countess emerges

The Countess of Evesham moves through onto the River Avon from the Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

River Tame, the West Midland's mightiest river

The river Tame is the main river in the West Midlands, though is a tributary of the mighty Trent. The river's sources are in Oldbury and Willenhall which link up at Bescot and the river then flows East through the North of Birmingham before heading up to Tamworth (which gained its name from the river) and finally joins the Trent at Alrewas and then you eventually reach the North Sea via the Ouse.
River Tame in Witton, North Birmingham

The Tame basin is the most urbanised in Britain with 42% of it in built-up areas. This has had a dramatic effect on the river with it becoming notoriously polluted during the Industrial Revolution and was once regarded as one of Britain's dirtiest rivers. Although the river has never been made navigable (although there were proposals in the 19th century to use it and the Trent to link Birmingham to the Humber) it was heavily used for industrial and agricultural processes from as early as the 12th century. However the nature of the river meant that this was later than in some other areas. A number of water mills were sited along the river in places such as Sandwell, Bromford and Minworth to grind wheat. Later on the power of water was used to drive bellows and hammers. Such was the demand of industry on the river and its feeding streams that there were often disputes between millers over water supply. Some furnaces in places like Hamstead had to be closed down due to insufficient water supply however by the 19th century steam was replacing water wheels as the primary source of power.

Erdington is listed as having a mill in the Domesday Book, which was probably Bromford Mill located near the confluence of the Tame and the Rea. Later on a fulling mill is also mentioned in the sources on the Plants Brook in Pype Hayes which used to join the Tame nearby. Both mills are known to have existed until the early 17th century. Later on Bromford Mill became a forge and machinery was installed to make nails and later wire. This site was later owned by the Rollason family and existed as a company until the 1950s. A road was later named after them during the residential expansion of Erdington in the early part of the 20th century, the road i grew up on incidentally!
Plants Brook
Plants Brook in Pype Hayes Park, Erdington

Much of the river's early course, especially in its Willenhall and Oldbury Arms have been modified by man. The construction of the motorways also meant that the course of the river had to be changed especially near the Gravelly Hill Interchange in Northern Birmingham and near the M5 in Bescot.
Selford Park looking at River Tame & Aston Expressway
River Tame alongside A38(M) Aston Expressway, Aston

More recent remodeling from the 1980s onwards has tried to prevent flooding and also improve the habitat for wildlife. Now much of the river is a haven for wildlife including geese and swans but maybe flows quietly away from much attention as is winds its way through the big city and beyond.

W.B. Stephens (Editor). "Economic and Social History: Mills." A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7: The City of Birmingham (1964): 253-269. British History Online. Web. 19 April 2012. <>
Post Office Directory of Birmingham, 1867 p 359
History, Gazetteer & Directory of Warwickshire, 1850 p 84

Charles Anthony Vince, History of the Corporation of Birmingham Vol 3 1885-1899 (Birmingham: Cornish Brothers 1902), p 366

Monday, October 29, 2012

Canal maintenance?

I suspect this isn't being used for canal maintenance. On the towpath along the Tame Valley Canal.
Canal maintenance?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Under the bridge

The final bridge of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal before you enter Bancroft Basin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Return to the Paddington Arm

I like Little Venice in London and returned there again on Saturday during my brief visit to the big city. I had a walk up the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal up as far as Paddington Station and took a few photos. The area seems to be great for British Waterways boats, below is John Marks which appears to have solar powered backup (not that it can be that useful at the moment!)
Little Venice & Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal, London

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Close up

Lock gate on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal near Old Turn Junction.
Gosta Green to Brindley Place DSC_0095

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Stratford-upon-Avon again?

Today i went to Stratford-upon-Avon (again). Yes i do go there a lot. This time i went just to relax though because usually these days when i go to Stratford its because i am looking up some items in the archive there for my masters degree. Anyway i took some photos today, much quieter than in the Summer of course and everything is winding down for the Winter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Rhine!

I was rooting through some old photographs the other day and came across a pile of photos i took in the late 80s during a couple of trips to the Rhineland. Some of the photos are very nice indeed especially of the castles that are on the banks of the mighty river. The photos have been scanned and you can see my photos from Germany here.
Rhine 9

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Little Venice to Paddington

A short while ago i enjoyed a nice canal walk in London, my second visit to Little Venice in West London in fact (photos from the first visit can be seen here). Starting at the junction of the Grand Union and Regent's Canal at Little Venice i then went along the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union to it's termination. I also took in parts of the Thames. Here you can see my photos.
Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Canal on your front drive

In Erdington on the Birmingham & Fazeley. Nice view as you leave the house in the morning!
Birmingham & Fazeley Canal

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Worcester & the Severn

I haven't been to Worcester for a few months so thought it was high time i paid the lovely place a visit. I wanted to explore more of the river banks so went upstream a bit and then down as far as Diglis Bridge. My visit coincided with a University boating regatta so i was able to take plenty of photos of boats being rowed up and down.

It was like being in the film "True Blue" with the coaches bellowing orders through megaphones and students yelling for their teams. You can see the photos i took here.
Worcester & the Severn

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Rootless Forest

The Rootless Forest is a project by Beth Derbyshire, a fellow of Birmingham Institute of Art & Design in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust and the Arts Council England (who are providing the funding). The project involves planting a mini-forest on a barge and then travelling along the canals around Birmingham and Walsall. The forest plays the sound of "recorded stories about adjustment, homecoming and relocation, told by two families from the military and UK Afghan communities".

The project launches next Friday and will travel the canals for 6 weeks before residing at New Art Gallery in Walsall until October. The project has a website here where you can see the latest progress. The project is using the unpowered barge 505560 which i photographed at Brindley Place (where the journey will start) back in June.
Gas St Basin

Boats on the canal (66)

At Ogley Junction boat yard.
Ogley Junction Boat Yard, Wyrley & Essington Canal

Monday, August 20, 2012