Gas Street Basin
Gas Street Basin in Birmingham city centre is the heart of Britain's canal network. In days gone by it was the hub of a thriving canal transport network and would have been alive with the sound of cargoes as diverse as chocolate crumb, coal and glass being loaded and unloaded.
Today, the bars and restaurants of Brindleyplace cluster around this attractive basin where traditional narrowboats can be seen to form an unique experience where industrial heritage meets modern, cosmopolitan living. The name Brindleyplace honours James Brindley, original engineer of the Birmingham Canal and many other waterways. Emerging from Gas Street Basin on to Broad Street, you are just five minutes from New Street Station and all the shopping, refreshment and entertainment options of England's second city. The surrounding area is a vibrant arts and entertainment area including the International Convention Centre, the National Indoor Arena, The Rep and much more.
Historically, Gas Street Basin was the meeting point of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the Birmingham Canal Main Line. For the first 30 years a solid bar - the Worcester Bar - separated the two canals so that the Birmingham Canal Navigations would not lose water to the Worcester & Birmingham. Cargoes had to be laboriously transhipped between boats on either side. The bar still exists today, with boats moored to both sides of it, but a narrow opening allows boats to navigate from one side to the other. As for the name, its explanation is simple: Gas Street was the first street in the city to have gas lighting.
Exploring the area Continue on the towpath under Broad Street Tunnel, and you'll come to Old Turn Junction, a small 'island' in the middle of the canal overlooked by the National Indoor Arena. You'll notice that there are many pretty black and white footbridges crossing the canal. Look out for the graceful roving footbridge dated 1827, one of many designed by Thomas Telford who was the engineer for the New Main Line Canal that linked Birmingham to Wolverhampton and was built after Brindley's meandering Old Main Line.