We, the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, works very hard to achieve the goals that it set itself when formed in 1967:
- To conserve the 250 years old canal system
- To improve the status of the canal
- To educate about the historic and ecological importance of our canals
- To encourage the use of the canals
We does that in a number of ways.
The society holds a lease from the Canal and River Trust on Titford Pumphouse in Oldbury. This is situated on the Titford Canal at the top of Oldbury locks. Within the building we have a meeting room, library and storage facilities. CRT continue to use the building too as a pumphouse to recycle water between the Wolverhampton level of the Old Main line and Edgbaston reservoir.
We have a very active work party team who carry out monthly ‘clean ups’ around the BCN system. We are fortunate to have our own workboat ‘Phoenix’ which was purpose built for this role with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery. Obviously, given the size of the BCN network, there are physical limits on where we can do this work.
The society also supports the annual BCN Clean Up event held usually in March when a number of like-minded groups come together to tackle an agreed section of canal over a weekend and therefore ensuring that attention is given more widely.
Each year we try to hold two boating events, one in May and the other in November. For a number of years our May event has been held at Titford Pumphouse, but in 2019 we held a successful rally at Brownhills.
Plans are in hand that in future years we will be able visit other places. In November for many years we held a bonfire and firework rally in Smethwick. Whilst we haven’t been able to do this more recently we are looking now at what might be possible for future years.
We hold a regular series of evening social meetings at Titford Pumphouse and in the summer there is normally an outdoor evening event. We also have a Christmas dinner each year for members. Our magazine ‘Boundary Post’, sent free to members, contains articles and information about the past and present events on the BCN and is published 4 times per annum.
Given the rich history of the canal we have a large collection of artefacts many on display at Titford Pumphouse. Many of these have been donated by members over the years. We also have a library and archive which contains an extensive collection of books as well as original material relating to the BCN. It contains the photo collection of Bob May, the well known canal photographer.
The society has published a number of books over the year and will continue to do so. A revised edition of ‘BCN in Pictures’ is now available.
We are an active and vibrant group with the BCN past and present at its heart.