Wolverhampton 21 Locks

I walked this stretch of the canal on 22 August 2008 going to the IWA Festival at Autherley.

I caught the train to Wolverhampton central station and arrived at Broad Street Basin (200m) at 2pm and was jubilant to find boats President and its butty Kildare with towing by show horse Buddy expertly controlled by a lovely lady courtesy of the Horse Boating Society, assembled and ready to go.

Horse powered Kildare led the way followed by steam driven President.

President and its buddy Kildare are owned by the Black Country Museum and their website states:

‘President’ was built in 1909 at a cost of £600 in Fellows, Morton and Clayton’s company dock at Saltley, Birmingham. The company built and operated 31 steam narrow boats between 1889 and 1931. The specially developed compound steam engine and coke fired boiler took up much valuable cargo space. Steamers carried up to about 18 tons compared to over 25 tons in a horse drawn boat, but were powerful enough to tow several unpowered boats ( called butty boats ). One of the directors of the company, Joshua Fellows, gave his name to the distinctively shaped “Josher” hull which has riveted wrought iron sides and a 3 inch elm bottom.

President was bought by the Black Country Living Museum in January 1983. The museum is assisted in maintaining and operating the boat by the “Friends of President”, whose objectives are: “To preserve and promote the use of the steam narrow boat ‘President’ and butty ‘Kildare’ in conjunction with its owners; and to use ‘President’ and ‘Kildare’ for the promotion of the Inland Waterways and in particular the Black Country Living Museum and to raise monies for the said organisation”.

I accompanied them down the Wolverhampton 21 Locks of the Wolverhampton and Darlaston section of the BCN canal to Aldersley Junction a distance of 3km.

The trip started with dull weather (shame!) but brightened up later.

The surrounding scenery is hereditary industry but has matured into a lovely cruise if you lower your visual horizon and concentrate on the SUPER locks! The stretch ends up in lovely rural canal scenery.

View Slideshow.

Go to Home page.