From the River Severn to the Birmingham Canal
Work started in 1791 and the whole canal was completed in 1815, when the Bar Lock was built in Worcester Bar at Gas Street Basin. Previously, the Birmingham Canal Navigation had insisted on a physical barrier to preserve its water, across which all cargoes had to be transhipped. After the lock was built, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Company had to provide reservoirs to ensure that there was a sufficient supply of water to the Birmingham Canal Navigation.
Although intended as a broad canal for barges, and having five broad tunnels, it was eventually completed with narrow locks due to financial difficulties. From Gas Street Basin at the Birmingham end, it passes through the suburbs of Edgbaston, Selly Oak and Kings Norton, then through the long West Hill Tunnel, and via Hopwood and Alvechurch through countryside to Tardebigge. Then, it descends in stages via fifty-six narrow locks and two barge locks to the River Severn at Diglis via Stoke Prior, Hanbury Wharf, Dunhampstead, Tibberton, Blackpole and the eastern suburbs of Worcester City.
At Tardebigge, there is a plaque commemorating the meeting between Rolt and Aickman in 1946, which led to the waterways’ revival and the founding of the Inland Waterways Association.