The market opensBilled as the UK’s largest  floating market, 13 canal traders gathered on the BCN canal between Brindley Place and the National Indoor Arena for a 3 day market during last week (27 – 29 September).

It was organised by Mike Wooding and Alison Tuck, administrators of the Roving Canal Traders Association, supported by Brindleyplace and the Canal & River Trust. Twelve of the traders were Continuous Cruisers – the event was preceded by the official launch of the Association of Continuous Cruisers on the Thursday the 26th.

The event was blessed on all three days with warm sunshine and so there were many visitors to the area around Brindleyplace and the local canals – favourites for both Birmingham folk and many others from surrounding towns. The market therefore may have been visited by many who perhaps did not know the event was happening.

The market was officially opened on Saturday by Tony Hales, Chairman of the Canal & River Trust, ceremoniously cutting a ribbon across a local canal bridge. He then spent 45 minutes walking the two towpaths talking to the traders. He was heard to say something like the Canal Traders were an essential element of the canal scene, creating a unique characteristic. Tony was accompanied on his walkabout by Dean Davies (Waterway Manager of CRT West Midlands Waterways), Mike Wooding (Roving Canal Traders Association), John Sloan (Association of Continuous Cruisers), Andrew Denny (Assistant Editor of Waterways World Magazine).

The goods on sale were largely created by the traders themselves and the quality and creativity on display was truly remarkable. It was a wonderland, especially for the lady visitor as much unusual craft jewellery was in on sale. There was also spices, herbs, rosettes, fenders, cushions, signs, DVDs of canal photos and maps,  dolls, books, decorated glass brooches, ornate fabric goods, cards, pictures, knitted articles, plates, candles, etc, etc. Such was the fascinating variety of goods on sale. Other unusual services available were palmistry and poem writing about your pet.

At the end of the final day, everyone I spoke to was very positive about the market and declared it a great success. I believe a return to Birmingham is being planned for early next Summer.


Below I have presented two galleries. The first is the walkabout by Tony Hales and his party, the second ad hoc views of the market.

Article and photos by Geoff Caine


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The walkabout…


Ad Hoc Views…