• Birmingham’s Canal’s, Like No Other

  • The Birmingham canals are still enjoyed today by narrow-boat owners, cyclist and walkers and they serve as a constant reminder of the industrial yet unique history. During the time of the Industrial Revolution, these canals were very busy waterways for transporting iron, coal along with other types of heavy goods. These waterways played a vital role in developments of the Black Country and Birmingham.

    Today over 100 miles of these canals make up BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations). A few of the main canals that meet up in this city include the Stafford Canal, Stourbridge Canal, Grand Union Canal, and the Birmingham and Worcester Canal.

    • Who was James Brindley

    Most of the Birmingham canal’s were built in the era of the 1700s and the 1800s. One of the earlier canals first built was the Duke of Bridgewater’s Canal. This waterway carried coal from the Duke inside mines that flowed through 15 miles to Manchester. The canal was completed in 1761, and the majority of the engineering works were supervised and planned by James Brindley. James was known as a millwright in his trade as well as a notable engineer in the era of the 18th century. Brindley worked on 6 canal projects across the Midlands.

    For almost 170 years these canal systems were extremely busy with activities, and by the end part of the 18th century, the tonnage of the goods that were carried along these waterways increased to 8 and ½ million by the year 1898.

    Even though these canals proved to be profitable, they were at the same time expensive to build as well as maintain. In the 1820’s a man by the name of Thomas Telford was hired to inspect the Birmingham canal’s, where it was discovered that there were significant maintenance issues. Telford advised that an overhaul was needed for the canal systems, which included straightening many of the canals.

    As the canal industry started to decline and the roads and railways took over for transportation of a number of goods over long distances, the use of these canals continued to decrease. By the year 1980, all the commercial traffic had come to an end. As the years went by the canal systems fell into a state of disrepair. However, today many of the canals have been restored, along with improvements to the surroundings which includes parkland, beautiful modern developments, and housing. This has resulted in the creation of vibrant areas which include entertainment, bars, shops, and restaurants.

    • More Mile Of Canals Than Venice

    Birmingham does not have a river that is big enough to support boats, but it has made up for this with a canal system that is intricate, and a definite wonder associated with the industrial industry. In Birmingham itself, there are 35 miles of these canals, and the entire Birmingham canal navigations are made up of 100 miles. In comparison, Venice has a 26-mile system. Venice still offers the upper hand when it comes to its architecture and climate.

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