Monday 12 December 2016

Walking the waterways (4) : Worcester & Birmingham Canal

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal links (as you may guess) the cities of Worcester and Birmingham. The canal, which was constructed over an extended period between 1792 and 1815, was a very important link in the canal network as at the Birmingham end it connected to the extensive Birmingham Canal Navigations and at the Worcester end the River Severn.
Where the Worcester & Birmingham Canal connects to the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Broad St

Skips alongside the canal in Bournville
The canal was a major undertaking with the Worcester end being 130m "lower" than the Birmingham one. Work began at the Birmingham end in 1792 and was originally wide enough to take larger barges however as the canal needed to drop down to the Worcester level and no less than 56 locks were needed. To save costs the locks were built to the narrower standard thus meaning larger barges couldn't be used for most of the canal (though could join from the Severn and enter Diglis Basin). The final stretch into Worcester was opened in 1815.
Diglis Lock where the canal joins the River Severn

Canal locks in Worcester

Shortwood Tunnel in Alvechurch