Man on canal boat Location: Birmingham

Meet Tony

"We weren't allowed to do it, but my mum didn't mind, it was what kids did in those days. And that's why canals have been in my life ever since I was a kid. When I was little, canals were still places for working boats and people weren't allowed to go near them. Horses were even still towing some of the boats, so people would be in their way on the towpaths and that's why it wasn't a place for the public to visit. But as kids we went down to the canal anyway. The boats that went through the locks where I lived were working boats carrying mostly coal and I helped opening the locks for them.

I got my own boat in the 60s, a narrowboat called Tay, and started travelling the canals. The canals have been through times when nobody wanted them, and there have been lots of struggles to save our waterways. Since Tay, I haven't always had a boat. Temporarily, I couldn't afford to keep a boat when I got a wife, but luckily she's interested in canals too!

I'm off to Tipton today for a rally. Lots of boats will be gathering to fill the basin and we’re going behind the scenes to see inside the Canal & River Trust Bradley Workshops where they make lock gates! Why don't you come too?"

Tony, NB Trent 5, Gas Street Basin.

Birmingham Canal Navigations