Report: BCNS and National Citizen Service weekends

BCNS hosted an induction and a work party for eleven 16 year olds from the National Citizen Service over the last 2 weekends. They were all from the Smethwick area but had little or no knowledge of the canals around them.

The induction takes place at the Pump House and is an introduction for the teenagers about the canals and the Society. We use slides to introduce topics such as restoration, work boats, heritage and well being and this then leads into a question and answer session. The teenagers usually have some project they are working on and thus their questions tend to reflect whatever task they have been set. This year there was a particular emphasis on pollution and the impact upon wildlife.

The work party then takes place on the following weekend where we use our work boat Phoenix to take the teenagers out onto the canal to assist with a clean up using grappling hooks and litter pickers. Steve Lambert from CRT attends and gives the teenagers a quick safety talk and demonstration and supplies all the necessary equipment and personal protection (gloves). We had a very successful foray onto the Titford canal recovering about 8 trolleys and an old stacker trolley probably related to the Langley Maltings further along the canal. After lunch we took them down several locks giving them experience of steering and locking. It seems strange to us (as we live and breathe the canals) but the teenagers really have no idea how a lock works and their reaction when they understand what is happening is always a pleasure to see.

It was a very worthwhile event and we’re going to be doing it all again at the end of the month with another group from NCS. (Work Party 3rd August).

The Young and Old Mavericks at the Pump House

As a pre-empt to the Boonyeds Tour later in the year Billy Spake Mon and Bren Hawthorne will return to the Titford Pump House, Langley on Saturday April 22 to host the first evening of the year in collaboration with BCN Society.

They will showcase young and more mature performers from the Maverick acoustic night including James Broadfoot and John Langford. The audience will be entertained by the Boonyeds very special slant of life and a wonderful array of local talent.
Tickets are limited at this very special venue.

They can be reserved with Billy by e mailing either or or just text name and number of tickets to 07514 824845.

The show starts at half seven, but the doors open at seven, with some of Pardoe’s real ale available.

Book tickets now and pay at the door – £5.

BCN Society annual walk with Ray Shill – August 7th 2014

The walk will be from Deakin’s Avenue to Rocky Lane.  

Pump outlet on the Perry Bar lock flight

Water outlet in the Perry Bar flight

Come and join author and historian Ray Shill to learn more about the BCN.

 The meeting point of this walk is Deakins Avenue and Lock 12 on the Tame Valley Canal at 19:00

Aqueduct over the River Tame

Aqueduct over the River Tame, built by Thomas Sheasby

It is our purpose to follow the Tame Valley Canal the canal to Salford Junction and then across the Tame Aqueduct to Aston and following the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to Rocky Lane.

This is a walk of converging histories. The Birmingham & Fazeley was completed in 1790 and this section built by the contractor Thomas Sheasby.

It was a canal of the age that generated a host of canal building.

It formed part of an early carriers route where fly boats provided swift passage to the major cities in the North West, East Midlands and London.





BCN Lock cottage 70, at the bottom of the Aston Flight, Birmingham and Fazesley

BCN Lock cottage 70, at the bottom of the Aston Flight, Birmingham and Fazesley

The Tame Valley was constructed in a different age finished in the railway age, built to the standards of an early railway but equally importantly assisting the iron industry that had been established in South Staffordshire.

2014 Programme – out now.

Next years programme is out.

The monthly meetings start on the 9th of January with Tony Gregory telling us about the Wolverhampton canals over 60 years.

(NOTE – this meeting is on the SECOND Thursday, rather than the the usual First Thursday of the month, to keep it clear of the New Year / Christmas goings on)

The rest of the meeting are, as usual, on the first Thursday of the month.  Follow the link to the Meetings tab for the full programme.

Next years rallies (and the like) start with the first of this years BCNS Explorer Cruises – 9th May – 16th May, finishing at Titford Pumphouse, in time for the BCN Society Summer Rally at Titford Pump House on the 16th-18th May. May – 26th May, followed by the BCN Society Marathon Challenge, on the 24 – 25th May.  Two very different ways of exploring the BCN!  The explorer cruises are a delightfully relaxed way of exploring the BCN in company.  The Marathon Challenge does what it says on the tin – challenges you to see how much of the BCN you can do in 24 hours!  Both are great fun, but in very different ways.  (I know – I have done both)  Stuart and Marie (the organisers of the Explorer Cruises) have organised the second cruise so that they will not interfere with those on the Marathon Challenge going through locks.

Details and contacts for these events are on the Rallies tab of the diary.
This year, waterway photographer Kevin Maslin is running the first BCN Society Photography Workshop at Titford Pumphouse on 24 May.  Places on this are limited – contact Kevin on for details.  (The clash with the Marathon Challenge is deliberate – so that boats on the challenge can be photographed coming up the Crow)
The last rally is the Bonfire Rally, on 1st November.