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Canals: Worcester and Birmingham - Part 3


In 1813 the canal was trading from the South side of Tardebigge tunnel and building was in progress again. Not only were the locks begun, but also the reservoirs needed for at Cofton and Kings Norton. The completion of the rest of the line was rapid, the final 16 miles, including the 58 locks were open in December 1815. To achieve this meant considerable borrowing and by the time the canal was finished, it was in danger of bankruptcy.

For all this time the W and B had been trying to get Worcester Bar removed. Despite Parliamentry Bills, intense lobbying and even agreements with the Birmingham company, there always seemed to be opposition. It took until 1814 for an agreed solution to pass through Parliament. It meant that goods would have to pay heavy tolls passing through the Bar, but at least they would not have to unload. The lock was built into the bar the next year. this was an important achievement, for most of its route through South Birmingham the canal ran through cuttings or on embankments. There were few opportunities for canalside factories or wharves.

Trade on the canal was slow in establishing itself. Coal from the Midland pits was a fairly steady business. Salt from Droitwich was also a major cargo. the salt business really developed when salt pits dug next to the canal at Stoke Prior began to be developed in the 1830's. The salt works developed considerably and also produced chemicals derived from salt.


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Canals: Worcester and Birmingham - Part 4