SP0579 : Toll House, King's Norton Junction
near to King's Norton, Birmingham, Great Britain
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal links the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at King's Norton Junction with the River Avon at Stratford. The canal is 25·5 miles long, and has 56 locks*, the last onto the river being a broad lock. The canal was built in several stages (including changes of route) from 1793 on, finally opening fully to the River Avon in 1815.
By the 1950s the section north of Lapworth was rarely being used, and the southern section from Lapworth was badly silted with some unusable locks. It is believed that the last boat reached Stratford in the early 1930s, though a pleasure cruiser reached Wilmcote at Easter in 1947.
Threat of total closure of the southern section in the mid 1950s caused protests, leading to an enquiry in 1958, and a big public campaign to save the canal, so the abandonment plans were reversed in 1959.
The National Trust took on the task of restoring the southern section of the canal in 1960, leading to its re-opening by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 11 July 1964. Control was passed to the British Waterways Board in 1988, then to the Canal and River Trust in 2012.
*One stop-lock at King's Norton is unused and open, another at Kingswood Junction is duplicated.
(Details reduced from Nicholson's Waterways Guide No 2)
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was built in stages between 1791 and 1815 to connect the River Severn in Worcester to the Birmingham Canal System using a quicker route than the earlier Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Opposition from other canal companies meant that for twenty years there was no direct connection in Birmingham, the last two and a bit metres of canal there being left uncompleted in 1795. Link
This lunacy was eventually resolved by an Act of Parliament in 1815 and a stop-lock constructed.
Grain, timber and agricultural produce were carried to the Midlands. Industrial goods and coal were carried down towards Worcester, often for onward transport to Bristol. Later, salt carrying was added as a regular cargo. Pairs of donkeys were often used in preference to horses, maybe because they could easily be put onto the boats which had to be legged (or pulled by tug) through the tunnels.
The canal has five tunnels. The longest at Kings Norton is just under two miles long. Steam tugs were used from the 1870s to haul strings of narrowboats through Wasts Hill, Shortwood and Tardebigge tunnels. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal has locks, 58 of them, climbing 428 feet (130 metres) from the level of the River Severn in Worcester up to Birmingham.
In the twenty-first century the ring now formed by the two canals and the river makes a popular two weeks holiday route, albeit partly a strenuous one, lockwise, but there are plenty of pubs, though some are now merely restaurants with a bar. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal travels through some very pleasant countryside, climbing from the Severn through rolling fields and wooded cuttings and slicing through a hilly ridge south of Birmingham.
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- Grid Square
- SP0579, 65 images (more nearby)
- David P Howard (find more nearby)
- Image classification?
- Date Taken
- Sunday, 9 December, 2012 (more nearby)
- Sunday, 9 December, 2012
- Geographical Context
- Subject Location
OSGB36: SP 0533 7935 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:24.7275N 1:55.3840W
- Photographer Location
- OSGB36: SP 0535 7938
- View Direction
- South-southwest (about 202 degrees)
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