Monday, 4 January 2010

In Search of the Lost Canals of the Black Country, book review

In Search of the Lost Canals of the Black Country
by Eric Richardson

If you have an interest in the lost canals of Birmingham this little booklet, published by the Black Country Society in 1996, is an excellent place to start.

The publication brings together a series of articles published in the Blackcountryman which describes itself as:

'Being a description of and a guide to a series of walks along the assumed lines of waterways which have now been destroyed or permanently damaged'.

The articles follow Eric Richardson's explorations in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and includes some delightful hand drawn sketch maps, a detailed narrative plus a handful of pen and ink sketches and depicted on the front cover.

If you want to track the lines of the lost canals you really have to know exactly where to look and for this purpose the book is invaluable but is best used in conjunction with Google Earth, an innovation unavailable at the time of it's publication. Specific locations on the lines the canals can be identified with some precision from Eric's maps, and then followed from the air and translated onto modern maps minimising the chances of going wrong on the ground.

Every publication has its inbuilt limitations, and as its name suggests, this booklet has restricted itself to the lost canals of the Black Country. It therefore does not set out to cover all the BCN but it does cover three specific areas:

Dudley and Stourbridge
Coseley, Tipton, Wednesbury and Oldbury
Wolverhampton, Walsall and Bloxwich

Between them these zones pick up the bulk of the lost canals and provides scope for many expeditions be they by foot or on two wheels.

I trust that I havn't plagarised Eric's work too much in my blog posts of my own contemporary tramp around the area, but if I have I would ask Eric to accept my sincere apologies and my thanks for his works which remain my close companion during my Black Country ramblings.

I can honestly say that this little book has taken me to some of the most unlikely areas and given me a much enhanced appreciation of my adopted city.

I don't know if it is still in print but I picked up a copy for £5.00 on e-bay (twice the face value) but it was worth every penny.

Eric - thank you.

1 comment:

Richard said...

The book is still in print. In fact it has recently been reissued with a new cover and is available from the Black Country Society website for £2.50 plus p+p.