About the Titford Canal
The Titford Canal is less than 2 miles long and leaves the Old Main Line at Oldbury Junction beneath the elevated M5. At the top of the six locks, often known as The Crow (after a local industrialist), is the highest navigable part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations at 511ft (467m). It terminates in the wide expanse of Titford Pools and is the second highest canal in the UK. At the top lock the restored Titford Pumphouse, which once housed a Boulton & Watt steam engine, is now the headquarters of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society. The Tat Bank Branch navigable feeder supplies water from Edgbaston Reservoir and is used for moorings but only navigable to the first bridge.
The pools were constructed in 1773-4 by James Brindley as a reservoir to feed the Smethwick Summit Level of his Birmingham Canal. This original Smethwick summit was three locks higher than the current level which caused delays from congestion especially at the flight of six locks at Smethwick. Smeaton engineered a three lock reduction in height which opened in 1790. The Titford feeder was eventually made into a navigable canal, opening in 1837, serving local coal mines.
In the 1930s the pools were the site of the Titford Pleasure Park run by the Titford Lake Company with rowing and motor boats, fishing, refreshments, an 18 hole putting green, a shooting range and swimming displays. In 1938 a sighting of the Titford Monster was reported in the local press as a stunt for the Oldbury Carnival. IWA held National Rallies of Boats at Titford in 1978 and 1982.
Beyond Jarvis bridge the canal branches at Portway Green Junction; the Portway branch runs South West with a link into the main pool whilst the Causeway Green Branch turns North West and goes under the M5 to the small pool.
[Photo: Locks on the Titford Canal – by Tim Lewis]