Last Boat to Top of the Map

Early Campaigning: NarrowBoat, Summer 2011

Malcolm Braine

Malcolm Braine looks at the history of the once very busy Cannock Extension Canal and recalls one last cruise along it in 1962

The ‘farewell’ cruise along the 4½-mile northerly section of the Cannock Extension Canal took place on 21st October 1962. It had been planned by members of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Society, which had been formed in 1959 with the primary aim of protecting the future of the Staffs & Worcs Canal, at that time under threat of closure. The Society also sought to maintain active interests in surrounding waterways and was to be a fore-runner in restoration on the Stourbridge Canal’s flight of 16 locks. The Cannock Extension Canal had a total length of nearly 5¾ miles and was built between 1857 and 1863, initially by private contractors but completed by the Birmingham Canal Navigation Co’s own workforce. It was to provide a vital means of transport from the rapidly expanding Cannock Chase coalfields, located within a vast area of mid-Staffordshire, bordered by Stafford, Penkridge, Cannock, Hednesford, Lichfield and Rugeley. The ar…

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