The first superhighway

Here’s a lovely film, spotted by twitter friend and historian Kris Davies and posted on Twitter last night. It’s a documentary film covering a the journey of a cargo load by narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal from London to Birmingham in the 1930s.

This is a wonderful illustration of how canal life was for the cargo carriers of the day and includes some incredible views of places anyone familiar with canals of the UK will recognise.

I thank Kris for finding this film – from the Huntley film archive – and suggest anyone who likes this check out some of their other remarkable period films.


Anyone any idea which wharf this is in Birmingham, please?

This entry was posted in Environment, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The first superhighway

  1. stevieboy378 says:

    A remarkable piece of film . . . . .

  2. Mick P says:

    Wonderful, many thanks. My grandfather was a stevedore on the Thames in the 1920s – 1950s, mainly (I think) at St Catherine’s dock, so not the dock shown here, but it’s great to see the men at work. Also, it must be quite a surprise to many to see narrow boats in their fully-laden state, gunwales so close to the water. We’ve grown so accustomed to seeing such boats only as pleasure cruisers and sitting high.

  3. Pedro says:

    Tremendous, many thanks.

  4. morturn says:

    Great stuff, thanks.

    I think the photo is near to the stop lock by the banana warehouse, Fazeley Street. There is a warehouse that was owned by Fellow Clayton and Morton that had a small canal arm.

  5. tony Martin says:

    This might be of interest too. Much else on Youtube on canals past and present.

  6. This film is owned and is copyright of British Waterways, now the Canal and river trust. The film is not part of the Huntley archive and is currently licennsed to one distributor. Huntley archive have been advised and also C&RT.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.