Working Boats: Part Two (Birmingham Canals At Work)

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Product ID LH1604
Duration 65 mins.
Working Boats: Part Two (Birmingham Canals At Work)
During the 1960s the once all-powerful Birmingham Canal Navigations system was existing with just a few remaining traffics. The thousands of boats working had reduced to just a few; with little hope of improvement the remaining traffic worked with worn out boats and little maintenance.

In this film you will see some of the last working boats that plied the BCN, sights and images now lost forever.

Starting with a look at Stewart & Lloyd Coombeswood Works with its large fleet of 'Joeys' we then approach Birmingham along the last few miles of the Grand Union Canal. Sampson Road Depot is our next stop with a look at the Saltley & Nechells area. In West Bromwich we join a horse boat being worked up Ryders Green locks before moving on to Walsall and boarding a Thos Clayton motor boat “Towy” for one of the final runs from Walsall Gas Works to Oldbury.

The Wolverhampton level was still active: we see Elements moving coal from Anglesey Basin, Leigh & Lycett still trading in Willenhall and Caggy moving natural gas pipes along to Wednesfield, while in Coseley Mattys yard was still a “boat museum” in its own right.

Back in Walsall we see Keay’s dock at work, repairing bottoms in a wooden motor boat. This film captures the raw hard nature of boatbuilding – in winter!

Finally a glimpse of the last working boat built on the BCN, the H F Truman, the founding boat of the Walsall Youth Leaders Council, we see the early days and its eventual fate at the hands of British Waterways.

Written, produced and narrated by Laurence Hogg.

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