Saturday, 2 June 2012

Gas Basin


At the canal's peak in the late 1700's over 100 canal boats a day passed through the city of Birmingham on route with their cargo to various destinations in the West Midlands and beyond.
To encourage building of the canals a series of acts had been passed authorising canal building throughout Birmingham. Bitter rivalry and companies fighting for trade did not always ensure that the canals linked up by the shortest routes.
In Gas Street basin there is a bar still remaining which separated two competing firms from using each others canal network.

Most people are unaware of how congested the canals were. Edgbaston reservoir was built not for water consumption but to provide water to cut a new canal route through Smethwick.

This solution, carried out by the engineer Thomas Telford saved 3 hours off the route to Wednesbury by canal boat travel. Gas Street Basin was the hub of the canal system. Today it is a pleasurable and relaxing tourist attraction far removed from the hustle and bustle of canal life of the past.

Gas Street Basin with its waterside pubs and pretty canal boats moored along the banks is well worth a visit. Take a stroll under the bridge which passes directly underneath Broad Street from Gas Street Basin to the NIA and the Sea Life Centre.

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