- Line drawing of Titford Pumphouse
- Edward Paget-Tomlinson, 2000
The Engine House on the Titford Canal, head-quarters of the BCNS.
The BCNS aims to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of the Birmingham and Black Country Waterways know as the BCN.
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) was formed in 1968 and has been promoting the areas canal system for forty years. In the early days it fought campaigns against the closure of many canals, but now the emphasis is on restoration and promoting awareness.
The BCNS has its headquarters at the restored Pumphouse on the Titford Canal, in Oldbury. At 511 ft above sea level the Pumphouse stands at the highest part of the BCN. Complete with residential moorings and full facilities the Pumphouse is a fine example of the aims and achievements of the Society.
The BCNS meets monthly at the Pumphouse for talks by a wide variety of speakers on canals and subjects of related interest. See the Meetings and Social Events page for details.
Members are kept up to date with news and events around the region by its quarterly magazine "Boundary Post", named after the posts that once lined the edges of the BCN marking the canal company boundary. Boundary Post is available for sale to non-members at the many events attended by The BCNS.
The BCNS holds a number of regular annual events: the BCN Marathon Challenge opens the rally season with a 24 cruise around the BCN: also based on the principal of 'use it or lose it' the Explorer Cruises offer an annual exploration of little used sections of the network and leads into: the Pelsall Rally in June: a November Bonfire and Fireworks Rally, enjoyed by the whole local community, is held at Galton Valley each year. The society also supports many other events and rallies throughout the Midlands canal network and within the local community.
The Society works closely with the Canal & River Trust to ensure the ongoing maintenance of the local system and The BCNS has BW recognised self supervising workparty status. Regular workparties take place throughout the year using the societies purpose built 38ft workboat Phoenix paired with open butty Crow. In September 2009, in recognition of its work, The BCNS was one of ten national recipients of British Waterways Volunteer Awards.
Since 2008 The BCNS, in partnership with Coombeswood Canal Trust (CCT), has undertaken to jointly lease and operate the historic workboats Atlas and butty Malus from British Waterways. Restoration and maintenance are ongoing and a calender of events is scheduled to take place throughout the year.
The BCNS's latest undertaking is the creation of this online archive of the BCN funded by the National Lottery through Awards for All. Working to professional archiving standards as part of the national network of Community Archives the BCN Community Archive creates an open and freely accessible online hub that will help us in our aim to preserve BCN history and heritage for future generations.
Why not join us and help us conserve this valuable labyrinth of canals and its heritage for the benefit of everyone. Go to the Join section of this web-site for details and an application form.
The BCNS was established as a Registered Charity in 1968. In 2002 the society was reconstituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee (company number: 4306537) and Charity (number: 1091760).
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