The ring of confidence


A 1981 Canal Boat Rally in Walsall Wood. Wait, what? Image kindly shared by Andy Matthews.

Old pal and canal historian Andy Matthews who runs the excellent Workingboats canal history site, and who sent in the remarkable work party image at Chasewater earlier in the year shared these curiosities with me a couple of weeks ago to post on the blog.

Both images are of souvenir cast metal plates for boats recording events. In order for them to be made, these must have been quite some occasion.

The first records a canal rally in Walsall Wood in 1981 – yet I’ve never one heard this mentioned. We’ve covered a Brownhills one in 1975, and been vaguely aware of other single events, but not one in The Wood.

Obviously held on the canal, but where? I can’t think of a spot with enough space, really. This is a real oddity. Can anyone help?

Andy had this to say:

Thought you might find these interesting, going through some stuff I’ve been sent from a friend that belonged to my family and found their way to him. I was at the 81 rally but remember nothing of it. Be great if anyone had any images.

Secondly, Andy has the 2001 nameplate recording a ‘Campaign Rally’ for the Walsall Ring – for those unfamiliar, the Walsall Ring is the 27 mile circular route from Catshill Junction, through Pelsall and North Walsall, down through Birchills and Pleck, Darlaton to Toll End, along the Tame Valley Canal to Great Barr, then back up through Park Hall and Aldridge.

Why a campaign? 2001 is an interesting date, as this coincides with (I think) the Art Gallery in Walsall and opening of the canal town arm. Was that significant? Where was the rally held?

My sincere thanks to Andy for sharing – please do check out his website – and if you can help, please do, either by commenting here or mailing me. BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.


Is this linked to the regeneration of Town Wharf in Walsall for the Millennium? Image kindly supplied by Andy Mathews.

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2 Responses to The ring of confidence

  1. Walsall Wood Rally – well Boatman’s Lane obviously !

    Unless I am very confused (which is possible) it was along the Daw End Branch immediately south of Latham’s Bridge. Access was from Boatman’s Lane with the boats moored on that side not the towpath side.

    I have not got any photos but will look to see if I have anything in a box somewhere to back this up……………

  2. Walsall Wood Canal Rally 1981 Newspaper report here ——-

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