About the BCN Society

Line drawing by Edward Paget-Tomlinson, 2000

Titford Pump House – a line drawing by Edward Paget-Tomlinson, 2000

The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) aims to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of the Birmingham and Black Country Waterways known as the BCN.
It was formed in 1968 and has been promoting the areas canal system ever since.  In the early days it fought campaigns against the closure of many canals, but now the emphasis is on restoration and promoting awareness.

The BCNS has its headquarters at the restored Pumphouse on the Titford Canal, in Oldbury.  At 511 ft above sea level the Pumphouse is at the highest part of the BCN. Around the pumphouse are moorings – both for visitors and long term (booked through C&RT) , and in the pumphouse is a sanitary station to service the moorings.

We meet monthly at the Pumphouse for talks by a wide variety of speakers on canals and subjects of related interest. See the Meetings and Social Events page for details.  A fair proportion of us are boaters, so we don’t have meetings across the summer – too many of us are off on our boats.

A Spring Cruise – an informal gathering, where we welcome boaters and non boaters to join us for a cruise.

Two Explorer Cruises – the first in May, ending at our summer rally at Titford, the second in June.

Our Summer Rally at Titford Pumphouse

The BCN Society Marathon Challenge – how much of the BCN can you cover in 24 hours over the late May Bank Holiday?

This year as a special, to celebrate 50 years since the society was founded, we are combining our first Explorer Cruise, the Summer Rally and the Marathon Challenge, so we have a really special weekend.

We are also working to refurbish the Titford Pools.  To encourage more use, and therefore dredging and restoration, we will give a plaque to every boat that navigates the pools.
Full details on the cruise Titford Pools page.

We also support many other events and rallies throughout the Midlands canal network and within the local community.

See the Rallies page for details.

We keep our members are kept up to date with news and events around the region with our quarterly magazine “Boundary Post”.  (Named after the posts that once lined the edges of the BCN marking the canal company boundary.)

The Society works closely with the Canal & River Trust to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the local system.   The BCNS has C&RT recognised self supervising workparty status.   We hold regular workparties  throughout the year using the society’s purpose built 38ft workboat Phoenix paired with open butty Crow.  In September 2009, in recognition of its work, The BCNS was one of ten national recipients of British Waterways Volunteer Awards.

Since 2008 The BCNS, in partnership with Coombeswood Canal Trust  (CCT), has operated the historic British Waterways workboat Atlas and butty Malus.  Restoration and maintenance are ongoing, and we welcome anyone interested in historic boats to join us.

Why not join us and help us conserve this valuable labyrinth of canals and its heritage for the benefit of everyone. Go to the “Contact” page for more details.

The BCNS was established as a Registered Charity (charity number: 1091760) in 1968.  In 2002 we reconstituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee (company number: 4306537).

9 thoughts on “About the BCN Society

  1. Where, oh where can I find details of facilities, such as pump outs, on the northern part of BCN ?Not on this website, CRT website seems to have lost all useful function for boaters. Cheers
    Steve Edwards- edwards20@gmail.com

  2. Hello,

    I was recently rereading the Spring 2017 Boundary Post (Edition 216) and reread a letter from me regarding the “A-Z of the Birmingham Canal Navigations”. I noticed that my name was incorrect. My actual name is Eric Ruff (not Eric Firth as shown). The error was transferred to the map by me shown in the BCNSociety website (http://bcnsociety.com/moorings/titford/). Might you please change my name in the website?

    Actually, the map is a composition of four or the c1900 Ordnance Survey maps published by Alan Godfrey Maps. I’d done this as Valencia Wharf, which interested me, was in the corner of four different maps.

    Thank you very much.


    Eric Ruff
    Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

  3. I’ve been trying to find information about the 2019 Marathon Challenge which I believe is in just a month’s time but there doesn’t seem to be anything on your website and all the links point to last year’s event. Please tell me how I can get involved.

    • Hi Steve
      Marathon Challenge is happening – I’ll send you an email off line, and hopefully details will be on the website soon. Late May Bank Holiday.

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