The Bentley Canal

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Spring 2024

Andy Tidy

Andy Tidy traces the history and decline of this short arm of the BCN

Among the 60 miles of ‘lost’ canals on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, the 3.4-mile Bentley Canal stands out as being particularly well documented by photographers and also for the very mixed fate of its line following closure. In some ways, it’s a case study of narrow canal abandonment and the sheer volume of archive images allows us to trace its decline with some clarity, all the way from today’s stub arm in Wednesfield through to the reeded-up entrance where it discharged into the abandoned Anson Branch, its access route to the Walsall Canal. Charting the changes This slow, crumbling decline proved to be a great attraction for canal and industrial history enthusiasts, and the result is a relatively large collection of archive photos of the top lock flight. In fact, there are so many photos that it’s possible to trace the gradual process of decline seen in the canal channel and abandoned landmarks which surrounded it. One of the most eye-catching …

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at

The Bentley Canal featured image