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Introduction

Although the idea of a canal museum in Birmingham Had been suggested before there had been no real progress towards establishing one so in late 2013 a group was formed to support the idea and to take practical steps towards this goal.

The Aims and Objectives of the Museum

National Indoor Arena and the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line
National Indoor Arena and the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line

Why should Birmingham have a canal museum?

At present Birmingham does not have a canal or waterway museum but it needs one as the otherwise excellent museums in the city do not do justice to the history of the city. These are the reasons why we should have one:

1 - Because Birmingham is the centre of the UK canal system.

2 - Because canals played an important and essential role in Birmingham’s growth and prosperity.

3 - Because canals are a central part of Birmingham’s tourist attractions.

4 - Because visitors to the city cannot appreciate the historic significance of the canals or understand their development.

5 - Because visitors do not understand the present extent, use and importance of our waterways system.

What are the advantages of a Canal Museum in Birmingham?

A Canal Museum would add to the tourist attractions of Birmingham and encourage more visitors by land and water. It would also help those visiting the city to take a deeper interest in both the history of Birmingham and the waterway system.

The education of the public in the importance of the waterways and their relationship to the history of Birmingham will encourage interest to the benefit of both the city and the waterways. Not only will tourism be expanded but public information and interest will generally have a positive affect on attitudes.

Where should the Birmingham Canal Museum be sited?

Canal by the Convention Centre
Canal by the Convention Centre

The museum should be on a canal in the city centre where tourists can be attracted, i.e. in an area approximately from the Mailbox in the south-east to the National Indoor Arena (NIA) in the north-west. This would include the waterside areas near the Mailbox, Gas Street Basin, Cambrian Basin, National Indoor Arena and Oozells Street Loop.

Ideally the site should provide space for floating and land based exhibits inside and outside. All the sites I have suggested are already developed to a greater or lesser extent but existing buildings may be of use and each site needs to be properly researched.