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Island House, Moor Road
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© Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust
"Reach for the Stars"
DVD by Laurence Hogg Productions
Well-known star, actor David Suchet, Vice-President of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, presents a convincing case for navigable crossings of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. Renowned waterways campaigner Chris Coburn, featured in the Carlton TV series "Water World", is seen taking nb. "Progress" across the English Channel for the 60th commemoration of the Dunkirk evacuation ....... but it does not end there. That's just the beginning of a unique voyage.
Bob and Sue Williams of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust joined Chris to present a personal case in Brussels - by British narrowboat! Accompanied by Humph and Wendy Farnsworth on Dutch barge "Avocette", travel with them through rural canals, major shipping channels and unique world-class structures in Northern France and Belgium as they reach for the stars of the European Community to seek funding for the Birmingham Canal Navigations related restoration project.
Visit the historic City of Ghent and marvel at their commitment to waterway development. Explore the disused Espierre and Roubaix Canals which offer twinning opportunities, as the Boat Lift at Les Fontinettes has done with Anderton. A working holiday with a real difference.
Narrated and presented by David Suchet OBE, Vice-President of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, The Missing Links describes the history, background and ongoing restoration of the Lichfield Canal and the Hatherton Canal. Once important arteries feeding in and out of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, their use fell away and it was not long before closure and dereliction claimed them, making restoration seemingly impossible. The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust was formed to reverse this decline and once again bring the waterways back to life.
David Suchet takes you on a tour of the routes. We look back at the history and examine in detail all of the sections including the parts which are lost for ever. We pay tribute to the Churchbridge Locks and Cannock Extension to Hednesford which will never be restored and are now but a memory. Detailed examination is taken of some of the restoration and of the formidable campaigning championed by Chris Coburn aboard his nb.ï¿½Progressï¿½ which has taken the cause to many far-flung places and into the minds of many people.
Updated in February 2008 with a new introduction by Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield and Trust Patron, speaking about his support for this important restoration which will revitalise the underused parts of the northern BCN, and his dream of seeing the boats return to Lichfield. The physical restoration work being carried out by volunteers is brought fully up to date.
As a bonus, a further short film entitled "This is History" follows the main production, also narrated by David Suchet, telling the story behind some of the promotional aspects used to achieve the Trust's aims.
Includes archive images of Hednesford Basin.
Running time: 1hour 50 minutes.
DVD by Laurence Hogg Productions
Presented and narrated by David Suchet OBE, and Michael Fabricant MP.
For the full range of Laurence Hogg videos visit www.laurencehoggproductions.co.uk
Our journey begins at Anglesey Basin at the top of the BCN.
Here are still to be found useable coal loading chutes which in 1999 were used for a re-enactment of a coal run using an ex-Ernest Thomas tug and 3 open joey boats. We witness the loading and follow the train for some distance observing a spectacle few will see again and bringing home the fact that perhaps there is a method of transport that has been forgotten about.
We return to Pelsall and join working boat "Barnet" on the Cannock Extension Canal, before looking at the approach of the Wyrley and Essington Canal via Walsall locks.
En route we observe the many disused arms and through archive photographs we remember the commercial days of this route.Once again Geo projects superb maps accurately portray our location.
A detailed look is taken at the lost Bentley Canal, which today would have been such an asset if only it had been retained.
The journey continues beyond Wolverhampton to the Bratch pumping station on the Staffs and Worcs Canal, a destination for many coal boats from the BCN in times past.
Running time: 58 minutes.