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Canal history comes to life for Birmingham's heritage week

The region’s secret canal heritage is being unlocked as part of a series of events planned for Birmingham Heritage Week 2016.

Birmingham Canal

From 12 to 18 September we are working in partnership with the Barclaycard Arena, the Coffin Works and the National Trust at the Roundhouse Birmingham, to host a series of fun interactive tours, taster sessions, walks and a heritage trail aimed at telling the history of the local canals. The activities will tell the story of the people who built, and made a living by working along our waterways.

Throughout the week, members of the public can enjoy a number of activities for free, including:

  • a heritage trail along the canal providing an opportunity to discover key features of the city's waterways.
  • the renowned canal engineer, James Brindley (played by an actor) will be talking about his pioneering work and demonstrating how he convinced Parliament that an aqueduct was viable.
  • expert volunteers will give people the opportunity to visit their traditional heritage working boat and offer insights into family life and work on the waterways.
  • take part in a leisurely walk, guided by a local expert to discover key features around the city centre's canals and basins.
  • enjoy a tour and view the collection at the Coffin Works Museum.
  • visit a traditional toll house at Cambrian Wharf and speak to its expert staff.
  • have a go at fishing or try your hand at paddling on the water in a canoe.

On 17 and 18 September there will be a unique opportunity to visit the historic Birmingham Roundhouse and enjoy the film trail Tales from the Cut.

Showcasing the very best of the region's canals

Lucky Lowe, heritage advisor at the Trust, said: "Our canals are alive with links to our past but sometimes you just need to know where to look to find them. During heritage week we will be showcasing the very best of the region's canals. There will be lots of fun things to do and places to explore that highlight just how interesting and unique our local canals really are."

For a full list of activities, dates and times visit

Last Edited: 12 September 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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