160 miles of Birmingham Canals, 60 of them lost through time (well, in the last 50 years!), 250 years of history. A lot to talk about. Or write about. This is a collection of resources (books, maps, and videos) about anything BCN.

We are not an online shop. All the “Order directly” links point to our friends from the Canal Bookshop at Audlem Mill, and are provided for your convenience. Of course most of the books are available at other sources as well.

The list is by no means complete. If we missed anything, please let us know, via the comment form below!

 


Cover of "A-Z of the Birmingham Canal Navigations" by Edward Paget-Tomlinson

Cover of “A-Z of the Birmingham Canal Navigations” by Edward Paget-Tomlinson

A-Z of the Birmingham Canal Navigations

by Edward Paget-Tomlinson and Ray Shill, ISBN 978-0-9574037-8-9, published for BCNS by CanalBookShop, 2016

26 drawings of aspects of the BCN over the years, with detailed historical notes, and many old and recent photos.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 


Cover of the book "The Birmingham Canal Navigations, Volume 1, 1768-1846" by S.R. Broadbridge

Cover of the book “The Birmingham Canal Navigations, Volume 1, 1768-1846” by S.R. Broadbridge

The Birmingham Canal Navigations, Volume 1, 1768-1846

by S.R. BroadBridge, ISBN 0-7153-6381-6, published by David & Charles in 1974

A highly detailed history of the first 78 years of the BCN. Unfortunately, volume 1 was the only only one ever published, there has never been a volume 2.

The book is, since many years, out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "Black Country Canals" by Paul Collins

Cover of the book “Black Country Canals” by Paul Collins

Black Country Canals

by Paul Collins, ISBN 978-0-7509-2031-5, published by The History Press in 2011

Lots of information and black-and-white photos, many not published elsewhere. Dr Collins is a transport historian and author living in the Black Country. Recommended!

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "Birmingham Canals" by Ray Shill

Cover of the book “Birmingham Canals” by Ray Shill

Birmingham Canals

by Ray Shill, ISBN 978-0-7524-8856-1, published by The History Press in 2013

Lots of fascinating black-and-white photos of the BCN history, with detailed information by author and industrial historian Ray Shill.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "The Birmingham Canal Navigation through time" by R.H. Davies

Cover of the book “The Birmingham Canal Navigation through time” by R.H. Davies

The Birmingham Canal Navigations Through Time

by R.H. Davies, ISBN 978-1-4456-0225-7, published by Amberley Publishing Plc in 2010

The book contains a large number of colour- and black-and white photos of the BCN along the main line through Tipton and Oldbury, exploring the Dudley and Stourbridge canals, and Walsall and Wolverhampton. The main focus of the book is on the photos, but the text is detailed and informative as well.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 


Cover of the book "The Industrial Canal, Volume 1, The Coal Trade"

Cover of the book “The Industrial Canal, Volume 1, The Coal Trade”

The Industrial Canal, Vol 1, The Coal Trade

by Ray Shill, ISBN 0-095-1775-5-3, published by Heartland Press in 1996

For anyone interested in the industrial and commercial past of the canals, this book contains a wealth of information. with detailed information from author and industrial historian Ray Shill.

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 


Cover of the book "The Industrial Canal, Volume 2, The Railway Interchange Trade"

Cover of the book “The Industrial Canal, Volume 2, The Railway Interchange Trade”

The Industrial Canal, Vol 2, The Railway Interchange Trade

by Ray Shill, ISBN 0-0951-7775-6-1, published by Heartland Press in 1997

For anyone interested in the the latter stages of the commercial life of the the canals, when the railway interchange trade kept them alive, this book contains a wealth of information. with detailed information from author and industrial historian Ray Shill.

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "Silent Highways - The Forgotten Heritage of the Midland Canals" by Ray Shill

Cover of the book “Silent Highways – The Forgotten Heritage of the Midland Canals” by Ray Shill

Silent Highways – The Forgotten History of the Midlands Canals

by Ray Shill, ISBN 978-0-7524-5842-7, published by The History Press in 2011

Another fascinating book by author and industrial historian Ray Shill, covering the BCN in the context of the canals in the surrounding areas. 

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "Birmingham and the Black Country's Canalside Industries" by Ray Shill

Cover of the book “Birmingham and the Black Country’s Canalside Industries” by Ray Shill

Birmingham and the Black Country’s Canalside Industries

by Ray Shill, ISBN 978-0-7524-3262-5, published by The History Press in 2005/2016

A very detailed history of the BCN and the industries it served, by author and industrial historian Ray Shill.

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 

 


Cover of book "The Other Sixty Miles - A survey of the abandoned canals of Birmingham and the Black Country" by Richard Chester-Browne

Cover of book “The Other Sixty Miles – A survey of the abandoned canals of Birmingham and the Black Country” by Richard Chester-Browne

The Other 60 Miles

by Richard Chester-Browne, published by the BCN Society in 1981/1991

A must-have for anyone interested in the past, and the remains of the past of the BCN.

To order your copy, please email bookstall@bcnsociety.com

 

 

 

 

 


Cover of the book "Birmingham Canal Navigations - A Cruising and Walking Guide"

Cover of the book “Birmingham Canal Navigations – A Cruising and Walking Guide”

Birmingham Canal Navigations

The legendary “Blue Book”, published by the IWA 1984

A book from another time, published by the “Waterways Sub Committee, Birmingham Branch, I.W.A.”, with beautiful and highly detailed graphics and text of the BCN. The book is black and white only, hand-colouring the canals can make a huge improvement. It’s also a nice way to find out more about missing branches. 

The book is out of print, but you might find a used copy online. It’s worth it!

Sample pages from the book "Birmingham Canal Navigations - A Cruising and Walking Guide"

Sample pages from the book “Birmingham Canal Navigations – A Cruising and Walking Guide”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Canals of Birmingham - historic map by Richard Dean

Canals of Birmingham – historic map by Richard Dean

Canals of Birmingham

by Richard Dean

Single sided Historical Canal Map 2 covers the Birmingham and West Midlands canals at a scale of about 2″ to 1 mile.

An absolute must for anyone interested in the history of the BCN.

The image shows the first edition. The currently available edition is slightly different, with a superimposed road map of the area.

To order your copy, please email bookstall@bcnsociety.com


Cover of booklet "Black Country Canals"

Cover of booklet “Black Country Canals”

Black Country Canals

by David Birt and David McDougall, published by Longman Group in 1984

A slim A4 book full of black and white photos of the BCN.

The book is to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 


West Midland Canals Through Time

by Ray Shill, ISBN 978-1-4456-1073-3, published by Amberley Publishing in 2012

Illustrations of the complex history of the west midland canal network, via old and recent photos.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 


Cover of "The Birmingham Canal Navigations 1950 to 1977 as seen through the lens of Philip Weaver"

Cover of “The Birmingham Canal Navigations 1950 to 1977 as seen through the lens of Philip Weaver”

The Birmingham Canal Navigations 1950-1977

by Philip Weaver, ISBN 978-0-9927321-1-0, published by Historic Narrow Boat Club (HNBC) in 2015

The BCN as seen through the lens of Philip Weaver.  

Superb collection of period photographs, assembled by Mike Harrison and Val Roberts for HNBC

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 


Cover of "Midlands Canals, a History of the Canal Carriers" by Robert Davies

Cover of “Midlands Canals, a History of the Canal Carriers” by Robert Davies

Midlands Canals, A History of the Canal Carriers

by Robert Davies, ISBN 978-0752439105, published by The History Press in 2013

The men, women and children of all ages who lived and worked on the inland waterways experienced a spartan existence

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of "Tales from the West Midlands Canals" by R.H. Davies

Cover of “Tales from the West Midlands Canals” by R.H. Davies

Tales from the West Midland Canals

by R H Davies, ISBN 978-0-7524-5500-6, published by The History Press in 2010

The experiences and voices of the people who lived and worked along the canal banks, with some of the colourful local characters.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of "Wyrley & Essington Canal through Time" by Ray Shill

Cover of “Wyrley & Essington Canal through Time” by Ray Shill

Wyrley and Essington Canal Through Time

by Ray Shill, ISBN 978-1-4456-1063-4, published by Amberley Publishing in 2013

The development of the canal, its fascinating history, and changes over the years, via photographs.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of "Boats, Smoke, Steam and Folk" by Robert Davies

Cover of “Boats, Smoke, Steam and Folk” by Robert Davies

Boats, Smoke, Steam and Folk

by Robert Davies, ISBN 0-7524-1765-7, published by Tempus Publishing in 2001

Exploring the canals of the Midlands, this book will encourage the reader to move from his armchair and into this living piece of history.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Cover of "In search of the lost canals of the black country" by Eric Richardson

Cover of “In search of the lost canals of the black country” by Eric Richardson

In Search of the Lost Canals of the Black Country

by Eric Richardson, ISBN 0 904015  40 8, published by The Black Country Society in 1996

Based on excursions by the author in the 1980s/90s, a period of significant change, with the loss of various canals.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 

 


Towpath Tale, The BCN Remembered

by Arthur Truby, ISBN 0 904015 50 5, published by Ratchup Books in 1999

The author’s reminiscences of the BCN, mainly between the wars, with heavy local boat traffic.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 


Cover of "The Twilight Years of Narrowboat Carrying"

Cover of “The Twilight Years of Narrowboat Carrying”

The Twilight Years of Narrow Boat Carrying

by Mike Webb, ISBN 978-0-9955180-4-9, published by CanalBookShop 2017

Evocative photos, dating mainly from the 1960s, of working boats around Braunston, the Shropshire union, northern Trent & Mersey, and western end of BCN.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop

 

 

 


Cover of booklet "Birmingham Frame by Frame"

Cover of booklet “Birmingham Frame by Frame”

Birmingham Frame by Frame

ISBN 978-1-908695-65-9, published by Trinity Mirror 2013

Rare images from the Birmingham Mail archives, only some canal content, but a fascinating journey through time.

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 


Cover of "Bradshaw's Canals and Navigable Rivers of England and Wales"

Cover of “Bradshaw’s Canals and Navigable Rivers of England and Wales”

Bradshaw’s Canals and Navigable Rivers of England and Wales

ISBN 978-1-90840-214-1, re-published by Old House Books and Maps in 2017

Not a book about the BCN, but with quite a few pages about our canals in this classic book.

The Birmingham Canal Navigations comprise a large system of canals, with numerous branches situated in South Staffordshire, East Warwickshire, and North Warwickshire, having a total mileage of 159 miles....

The system is a very complicated one, owing to the many improvements and fresh canals which have been added to it from time to time“.

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop


Cover of "The Canal Age" by Charles Hadfield

Cover of “The Canal Age” by Charles Hadfield

The Canal Age

by Charles Hadfield, ISBN 0 7153 8079 6, published 1968, 1969, and 1989 by David & Charles

Another classic book about the Canal Age, with a longer section about the BCN.

The book seems to be out of print, but you might find a used copy online.

 

 

 

 


Cover of the DVD "The Flower of Gloster"

Cover of the DVD “The Flower of Gloster”

The Flower of Gloster (DVD)

All the parts of the Granada TV series from 1967, their first series produced in colour! It tells the story of a group of youngsters, and their adventures taking a 72″ narrowboat from Llangollen to London, with a long part covering the BCN 50 years ago. It’s children’s TV, but beautifully made, 5 1/2 hours of a journey in time.

VERY highly recommended. Should you know where the BCN scenes have been filmed, please let us know via the comment form below!

Order directly from the Canal Bookshop


Cover of "Ta-ra-a-Bit, Our Kid"

Cover of “Ta-ra-a-Bit, Our Kid”Trooping the Colour 2015 – Official Programme

Ta-ra-a-Bit, Our Kid

by Stephen Burrows & Michael Layton, ISBN  981-1980328445, published by Bostin Books 2018

“A little book of language used by Brummies”. Really not about canals, but fun to read, and perhaps useful for non-Brummies visiting the BCN area!

Available online.

 

 

 

 

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