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Titford Canal

The Titford Canal runs from Oldbury Junction on the old main route of the Birmingham Canal.  Titford Canal rises through a flight of six locks to Titford Pool, a reservoir that lies under and to both sides of a raised section of the M5 motorway near junction 2.

Map showing the Titford Canal

Facts & Stats


The canal was opened on 4th November 1837.

6 locks

The six Titford Locks are also known as Oldbury Locks.  They were nicknamed ‘The Crow’, as the locks were adjacent to chemical works owned by Jim Crow.

1.5 miles

The Titford Canal is 1.5 miles long.

Titford Canal and Oldbury Locks

The Titford Canal runs from Oldbury Junction on the old route of the Birmingham Canal.  It rises through a flight of six locks to Titford Pool which is a reservoir made in 1773-4.  The reservoir now lies under, and to both sides of, an elevated section of the M5 motorway near junction 2.  Titford Canal was authorised under the Birmingham Canal Act 1768 which created the original Birmingham Canal.  Construction began in 1836 and the canal opened on 4th November 1837.  Two canal branches used to run from Titford Pools:

  • The Portway Branch, abandoned in 1954, served coal mines in the Titford Valley.
  • The Causeway Green Branch was opened in 1858 and abandoned, in parts, in 1954 and finally in September 1960.

The six Titford Locks, also known as Oldbury Locks, were nicknamed ‘The Crow’, as they were next to chemical works owned by Jim Crow. These locks have single lower gates to reduce leakage.  This design became more common in other parts of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.   In the 1960s, the locks got very silty and boats could not get through.  Between 1973 and 1974, they were cleared out by hand by the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society with strong support from Waterway Recovery Group and the locks could be used again.

More about the Titford Canal Branches and Titford Engine House

Just above the top lock is the junction with the Tat Bank Branch, also known as Spon Lane Branch.  This branch is no longer navigable.  It was the original feeder to the Smethwick Summit.  The feeder, made by Thomas Telford in 1830 is now the feeder to Edgbaston Reservoir which is also known as Rotton Park Reservoir.  This reservoir provides water to the Birmingham and Wolverhampton levels of the Birmingham Canals.  Titford Pool is the highest navigable canal in the Midlands, with only Rochdale Canal summit beating it in England, at 600 feet above sea level.

Above the top lock is the grade II listed Titford Engine House.  It was built to pump water back up the six locks from the Wolverhampton Level, but later was more often used to supply the feeder.  The building is now the headquarters of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society.

IWA’s National Rallies of 1978 and 1982 were held at Titford Pool.

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