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News article created on 8 June 2015

Tardebigge volunteers spruce up canal

Volunteers have used 19th century skills to clean-up the canal in Tardebigge, ahead of a bid to secure the important industrial heritage site one of the Transport Trust’s coveted red wheel awards.

The team has been working with us for the past few months to restore some of the historic structures around the famous lock flight. It’s hoped that once the repairs are complete, Tardebigge will receive one of the Transport Trust’s Red Wheel plaques, awarded to significant heritage sites in Britain’s transport history.

Longest flight of locks

The Tardebigge lock flight is the longest flight of locks in the UK, and is made up of 30 narrow locks on a two-and-a-quarter-mile stretch of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. 

It’s also a key place in waterways history, as it was at Tardebigge that waterway restoration champions LTC Rolt and Robert Aickman decided to form the Inland Waterways Association in 1946, a move which helped transform public attitudes to the nation’s historic canals and paved the way for their revival.

Cared for by the community

David Viner, Canal & River Trust heritage advisor, said: “The volunteers at Tardebigge have done an absolutely fantastic job, and have used the same techniques to restore the canal as were used when it was first built.  It’s not easy work - each stone has to be individually shaped and set with lime mortar - and the high quality of the finished results show how dedicated the volunteers are.

“Given that the Worcester & Birmingham Canal is about to turn 200 years old, it’s great to see it being so lovingly cared for by the community.  Having a shiny new Red Wheel would be a real boost for the canal, and help to highlight how important this place is in the history of the waterways.”