George Bate’s Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Summer 2024

Andy Tidy

Andy Tidy uncovers the detailed records of a canal maintenance worker from the first half of the 20th century

It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt and there is more than a grain of truth about that in my relationship with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. We travel this waterway on our annual trip to St Richard’s Festival in Droitwich and generally add Worcester to the schedule, thus covering its entire 30 miles and 58 locks. This familiarity enables me to bring to mind every bridge, lock, tunnel and reservoir along the way and I rarely have any need for a map, all of which means that my depth of insight into the canal’s history isn’t what it could be. Quite by chance, I came across a pamphlet which contained a collection of articles published in the Tardebigge Parish Magazine between 1969 and 1970. These were written by George Denning Bate who, along with a succession of ancestors, had lived and worked by the canal, collectively covering the entire 150 years since it was built in 1815. Conclusion George’s written commentary was compiled in 1970, se…

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

George Bate’s Worcester & Birmingham Canal featured image