A Year in the Life of a Canal Engineer

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Spring 2024

Phil Clayton examines the reports of the Birmingham Canal Navigations’ chief engineer from 1900

December There were no stoppages to report in December and 14 boilers received inspections, ten of them at Ocker Hill. Also at Ocker Hill, work on the power station was getting underway as the Midland Electric Corporation for Power Distribution had asked the company if it could supply the new steelwork for the Towing Path Bridge over the entrance to its proposed new basin at its cost. Walsall Corporation was proposing to widen the bridges over the canal near Top Lock, Walsall, at Green Lane Furnaces and on Birchills Street, near the District Iron Works. Perhaps George Jebb was ready for a Christmas break as, in response to a request from the Tame & Rea District Drainage Board as to whether a pipe under the canal could be moved from one place to another, he commented, “It is quite indifferent to the Canal Company whether the pipe is laid at one point or the other.”Sources of information: • BCN Engineer’s Reports, 1900 from The National Archives, RAIL810/64…

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