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Canals: Worcester and Birmingham - Part 1

The City of Worcester gained the benefits of canal transport when the Staffs and Worcester canal opened in 1771. Goods were able to travel from Birmingham and the Midlands by a circuitous route onto the Staffs and Worcs and down the River Severn from Stourport. It meant cheaper coal and manufactured goods.

Several plans were made to link Worcester to the canal system, initially via Stourbridge and its canal. Little came of these plans until 1789, when a plan to build a canal that took almost the shortest route to Birmingham was suggested. The proposals met with opposition from all the neighbouring canals and it took two attempts to get the Bill for its construction through Parliament. When it was finally passed in 1791 it was said to have cost 0,000 in lobbying and legal expenses.

The biggest problem was that the Act did not permit the connection of the new canal to the Birmingham one. It was not to be:

".....carried or made nearer than to within the Distance of Seven Feet from the Birmingham and Birmingham and Fazeley Canal without Consent...."

Worcester Bar (still to be seen in Gas Street Basin), was supposed to be a way of preventing the Birmingham canal losing water to its new rival. It was much more a way of encouraging traders to use the longer routes via the Birmingham canal. That would at least save the problem of having to unload and load again at the Bar.

Worcester and Birmingham Canal - Part 2
History of Canals - Main Menu