My passion for the lost corners of the BCN started in about 2010 when, having cruised all the navigable sections, I started to wonder what used to be behind all those old bricked up bridges.
In the main the answer was "another canal basin" but here and there they led to abandoned branches and so I gradually started to explore them, guided by Richard Chester-Browne's book "The Other 60 Miles". The results of these explorations, now over a decade old, can be found in the Blog Tab called "The Other 60 Miles".
As time went by I accumulated more and more photographs of the lost elements of the BCN network and rather than squirrel them away, I thought I would like to share them, but the question was how? I stared to think about wall displays but that was rather limited in scope and if I am honest, rather old fashioned. And then along came YouTube! I saw lots of YouTube based Vlogs and could see potential to revisit these lost waterways and integrate the exploration with archive images, almost recreating the long lost lines.
Of course, this was always going to be a time consuming endeavour so it was parked till I retired (somewhat early). I invested in some basic video making kit and made the momentous switch from PC to Mac - because Mac's are best for image processing.
The end result has been a rolling programme of videos which I have called Canal Hunter - because thats what they are all about!
The production of these videos is a labour of love and it is all about sharing my passion for the rich industrial heritage of the region. To illustrate how the area used to look I have collated thousands of archive images from around the internet, but I don't claim to own any of them! The assembled work is therefore a team effort and my thanks go to the hundreds of unknown photographers (alive and dead) whose images make this whole endeavour come to life.
Each episode is made using the information and images I have to hand at the time, and naturally this resource deepens over time. My understanding is often enhanced by the additional comments viewers leave, recording first hand memories for the benefit of others.
All the images used in the videos can be found in the tab "Old Photos of the lost BCN" ordered by area, canal and zone, with links to help you jump to what you are looking for. They are, by and large, ordered in the sequence found on the ground, but it's an organic process and things get moved around as new information comes to light.
My thanks to everyone who has supplied information, images, time and enthusiasm.
Series One - finds the lost sections of Brindley's original canal from Birmingham to West Bromwich.
Series Two - explores the abandoned sections around the extended Birmingham Canal to Wolverhampton
Series Three - hunts down the lost arms of the Wyrley and Essington Canal to the north
Series Four - traces the old coal route from Cannock to East Birmingham
Series Five - follows a proposed inclined plane route between Walsall and Titford
Series Six - Yet to come, but will feature the lost sections of the Dudley canals
Photostreams - an ad hoc playlist which showcases the of archive images in sequences
The Canal Hunter videos are ordered within my "Life at 2.3 mph" YouTube Channel in separate playlists, one for each series. Each episode follows on on sequence so you can track a canal line from end to end. Many people have found that watching them with the National Library of Scotland's side by side maps open at the same time enhances the experience.
The following is a link to my Life at 2.3 miles an hour YouTube channel, which includes all my Canal Hunter videos.
Canal Hunter YouTube Videos
Canal Hunter YouTube Videos