AUGUST 2014 ONWARDS................

16TH August 2014. Roger Adams driving one of the Supercars at the Black Country Living Museum.

On Saturday 16th August I was invited to the BCLM for the second time this year to run my little Supercars around the Village for a special Children and Family day. I arrived at 10am and unloaded the cars into Brooms Garage. During the day it gave me time to dial the newly modified clutch that was in the red car, A few weeks ago I stripped the clutch down again to make and fit new stronger springs, I was hoping I had not gone too strong and would possibly start getting clutch slip ! Anyhow I spent most of the day tuning the carborator to suit the clutch. Then as Roger Adams was driving the blue car, he was struggling trying to get up the hill of the Museum, I found the belts were slipping, so it was back to work on the blue car for a while tring to make some adustment to tighten the belts up, I did find a bit, but not enough, looks like another modification is needed in the form of a jocky wheel to put tension on the belts, that will have to wait for another day. The main event was on Saturday Night where 1,800 people had pre-booked their tickets to go into the Museum to witness alsorts of acts for the childeren, like, Charlie Chaplin, Jugglers, Punch & Judy, Fire eaters, Pantomine, Street entertainers, Pupet Shows and much more. Alan Baker also came along to help drive the other car until it was so dark we had to call it a day at 9.30pm. With a quick pack up it was time to head for the Bottle & Glass Pub for last orders.

30th August.....Tipton Clean-up.  (Photo Ann Johnson) It's all Work- Party's now up to "Madness Month" (September)

During Saturday 30th August Dudley Canal Trust helped out "Tipton Community Association" with their "Canal Clean-up" ready for their Festival on the weekend of the 20th/21st September. We took the Tug "BITTELL" and the joey boat "FLYING SCOTT" to lend a hand. After checking the bridge holes for rubbish underwater, we stopped for lunch provided by the T.C.A. at the Tipton Slasher Pub " The Fountain" With a nice buffet inside us we all set about cleaning the jungle of weeds off the old wall that's been standing up here for well over 2 hundered years which you can only get at by boat ! by 4pm we had filled the boat up with trees and weeds.

Over the weekend of the 6th and 7th September we had a double work-party around Parkhead Locks. Around six volunteers turned out to help us out to get the place tided up a bit. The photo on the left is Ann and Steve Johnson who are cleaning all the weeds from the inside of the lock chamber of lock 3, Parkhead, using the joey boat "Flying Scott" to stand on, it also doubles up as a 40 foot wheel barrow to put the weeds in. At the same time John and myself was de-weeding the top of the lock and cutting bushes and trees back.

During Sunday the 7th September we carried on with the Flying Scott up the three locks at Parkhead, cleaning more weeds off the walls, meanwhile the rest of the gang we cutting back more bushes around the Pensnett Canal Arm then went on to cut some more overhanging tree branches back around the Dudley tunnel entrance, having dug out the silt that had built up around the back of the stop lock gate we can now get the boats through a bit better. We eventually arived with the Joey boat to the mouth of the tunnel where I set about cleaning the rust off the steel Tunnel Gauge to repaint it white. 

13th/14th September BCBF. Black County Boating Festival.

Over the 13th/14th September we attended the Black Country Boating Festival.

Around 75 boats were booked in along with some classic cars and trade/craft stands along with the traditional real ale tent.

I took my 1946 Fordson Tractor and 1960 Morris Commercial plus Bittell and the Flying Scott Joey boat and our 70ft Historic boat "Saggitta" and our Tripboat "Electra" was doing packed out trips to Primrose Basin and back five times a day plus one Netherton Tunnel trip at the end of the day.

Bittell and Pacific led the Historic Boat Parade at 1.30pm both days.

The weather over the weekend was dry and sunny which bought in the crowds.

Saturday 20th September 10am, On my way to the Tipton Canal Festival in the rain with the Fordson tractor, coming up Owen St Tipton. Photo by Ann Johnson.

Over the weekend of 20th/21st September the Tipton Canal Festival was held.

On the Thursday (19th) I took my Fordson Tractor from Parkhead in Dudley to Ann Johnson's house in Tipton which was a nice dry day then. But on the Saturday Morning of their show the weather was awful with very wet conditions and cold ! Ann's house was just a mile down the road wich took me around 15mins to bring the tractor up to Corrination Gardens and park up among the 62 boats that were booked in and moored up.

We had our Sagitta and DCT stand on display plus Bittell and Flying Scott joey boat on display as well. As the morning went on the weather got a bit better as the rain stopped but with overcast conditions, and the tempriture getting warmer, public started coming in, by the afternoon the place was packed out with visitors.

Sunday 21st.....Tipton Canal Festival.    "Band on the Boat !"

As the weather improved during Saturday around 2.30pm we had the "Blackwell Concert Band" all arrive with their instruments in hand and looking to perform somewhere. It was decieded to put all 11 of them in our joeyboat "The Flying Scott" Heidi was elected to play "Safety Officer and steerer on the boat" The weather was not brilliant during the Saturday but the "Band played on" I belive there is a "You Tube" Video on line of their performance.

On the Sunday the weather was a lot better, Hot "n" Sunny all day and again we took the "Band on the Boat" out for another spin much to the delight of many people who lined the towpath taking many photos of our little stunt.

This was our official Poster for the event that went up in many shops in the local area.

The 2014 Brass Plaque for the Parkhead Canal Festival.........

During the week leading up to the show we did this photo shoot with the Express and Star outside my cottage with Bittell and the Flying Scott plus a load of beer barrels from Ma' Pardoe's (The Olde Swan Brewery) Netherton where Tim Newey helped sponsor our coming event in a few day's time.

Lot's of preperation had been done during the year with a workparty's around Parkhead Locks. The week leading up to the event we had very nice weather which was a change from two years ago when it pissed down all the week with rain. Mon/Tues/Wed were mainley getting the place finished off with help from our own volunteers, help from Canal & River Trust and help from the Probationers who painted all the lock gates for us. On Thursday we started getting the Marques up along with the security fencing, I also got the road signs out early that morning after getting up at 5am to do it ! Friday was the main set-up day finishing off fencing/signs around the site and marking out trade bays etc plus getting the water on site which proved more difficult than we thought ? In the end I had to take my Morris truck to Hawne Basin to collect a 200 gallon water bowser ! 

By Wednesday about half a dozen boats had assended the three locks at Parkhead and were settling in for a long weekend, boats came in during Thursday and Friday as well until the place was packed up with around 72 boats squashed in the top and bottom basins at Parkhead. We also had 25 Historic Working boats on show as well. On Friday moring at 7am the first of the traders were coming in, by Lunchtime the first of the Stationary Engine Lads were rolling in as well getting unloaded and in place. By 7pm the beer tent and food bars were open for business "Shady Band" entertained the boat crews most of the night untill 11pm came, when last orders were called.

Entertainment for Saturday night was "Dr Busker and the Dorset Rats" (not forgetting special gest apperance of ("SPLIT PIN" ) singing their unsual Bawdy Songs much to the delight of the packed beer tent.

"Ilford" being Legged out of Dudley Tunnel with a load of coal on board, weighing 20 tons....This was to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the restoration of Dudley Tunnel which started back

As Saturday Dawned the weather looked very good with 19 deg tempretures and a sunny dry day ahead the site was ready to greet the many thousands of visitors who came to see this show. One of the attactions was the Legging of the Working Butty "Ilford" owned by Glyn Philips that came through Dudley Tunnel with a load of coal in the hold, also greeted by a waiting audiunce and the West Midlands Band who played a fan-fare as the bows came out of the tunnel.

Later in the afternoon We cut the 80th Birhday cake to celebrate Bittell & Pacific 80th Birthday's (1934 to 2014)

Richard Parry, CEO from Canal and River Trust cut the cake for us with John Pattle on the left and myself Steve Bingham on the right, Photo by Ann Johnson.

Russell Cook bought his 1916 showmans steam traction engine which used to work for Pat Collins powering the Fairgrounds.

We had two full size traction engines on show The 1916 Traction Showmans Engine of Russell Cook which is an ex-Pat Collins that used to be used to power the Fairgrounds around Walsall and other places and still does, you can often see this engine powering Russell's other Fairground rides like the "SKIDS" and The "ROCKETS" that come to the Welland Steam Rally at the end of July.


On your right is a 1923 Foden Steam Waggon of Steve Harbach who drove this Foden all the way to the show at only 12 mph ! This Waggon is chain driven and on solid rubber tyres, it weigh's in at 5 tons but can pull up to 40 tons, again a bit like the steam boats only lasted a short while in the early 1900's when the diesel engine was invented that made these steam lorries redundant. 

I bought my three Vintage Vehicles along and parked them among the other 70 plus Classic/Vintage Vehicles that were booked in.

Jane Bought "Carolyn" the horse to the "Parkhead Canal Festival" to do some horse boating demonstrations up and down the three locks at Parkhead.

Highlight of the demonstration was the unique pulley we have fixed down on the towpath of the top lock to launch the boat into the top basin of water, it works by attaching the long tow line to the stern of the boat, the rope is put around the pulley which is situated at the tail of the lock, the other end is attached to the horse.....the horse walks away from the boat whilst the boat moves forward making sure someone remembers to disconnect the rope as the boat passes the pully wheel.

This is the Finish of the "Great Dudley Duck Race" where a 1,000 ducks were sold first and all thrown into the canal in front of the top lock gates, the paddles are then drawn to create a wave whilst the bottom paddles on the middle lock are drawn to suck the little blighters along until they cross the finish line.

This was the 50th Anniversary Cake that was made by Mary Wilde, it was a leamon sponge cake with cream inside.

After the "Great Dudley Duck Race" we all retired to Blowersgreen Pumphouse for tea and sticky buns with the Mayor of Dudley, Count Margaret Aston plus committee members, sponsors and invited guests. The photo on the right was taken by Heidi Yardley of the Mayor cutting the 50th Annivesary Cake for Dudley Canal Trust Achivements with Steve Bingham on the left and Dave Wheeler from the Worcester/Birmingham and Driotwich Canals Society on the right.


The day after (Monday 29th) we all attended Vic's Funeral at 10.20am finishing up in the Bonded Warehouse for the Wake.We have lost a very important person in the Trust and a great friend.

Thursday 9th October 2014. Did you see "PEAKY BLINDERS" last night ? We filmed this back in March outside my Cottage. Cillian Murphy (Tommy Shelby) Steering Bittell.

"Curley" (Ian Peck) on the back of Bittell at Parkhead for "Peaky Blinders" which Tiger Aspects Hired for three days filming back in March.

We did this filming on March 2nd/3rd & 4th that was a Monday to Wednesday doing around 12 hours per day and night, they also filmed the boats in the Black Country Living Museum and the buildings around the canalside. On the right is the Director explaining to Cillian and Ian what they have to do next. First of all I have to give them a driving lession on how to steer Bittell which you noticed has been covered up with a tarpalin sheeet to hide the Stewarts and Llodys Livery.  Cillian was not that good at steering the boat but Ian got into the swing of it pritty quickly......but I had to work the controls inside by selecting the right gear at the right time and applying just the right amount of throttle because you have to remember I can't see a bloody thing from inside the cabin (I had to keep out of sight you see !) Okay the Director gave me a radio, but I could not hear a thing because of the thumping Lister Engine !! So it was all guess work, I could only look out of the rear doors to see where I had been, not were i'm going if you know what I mean, it was hard to know when to get the boat in reverse to stop the thing ! But we did it after many takes.

Filming of Peaky Blinders in the Black Country Living Museum. They had just finished building the set here and bought one of the horse's on the set.

Left photo. Ian Peck (Curley) steering Bittell in the BCLM.  I took this photo from inside the boat looking backwards (That was all I could see ) I did managed to know where my breaking points where when I came to the sharp left hand bend in the canal it was a good job I know every inch of that canal ! You will also notice that Ian is NOT using the long tiller ? This was because Cillian kept on banging his head on it everytime he climbed out of the rear of the tug ! So the Director said "Take it off " But it made steering the boat very hard for Ian especially when he had to get it around that tight bend in the canal. But it was all good fun.

Another Scene from Peaky Blinders of the two woman with their prams walking in front of the funace's This was taken first thing in the morning. This series is still running on Thursday night BBC2 at 9

On 11th October we took BITTELL/SAGITTA and Russell Cook's boat LEGACY down from Parkhead in Dudley to the Bonded Warehouse in Stourbridge.

The weather this day was forcast to be bad ! But when I got up this morning at 5am ready to get the boats sorted out things were cold but dry and dark ! After getting the stoves lit and the kettle on, I cleaned all the rubbish and weed off the both blades of Bittel and Sagitta since going up and down Parkhead a few weeks back. We started moving at 10am after dropping cars off at Stourbridge first all 18 Volunteers started takeing the three boats through Blowersgreen lock which would be the first of 25 locks we were doing today. As the day wore on we did have a few showers but did not amount to much and the sun shone most of the way making it a plesent day. By 3.30pm we were all tied up safely at the Bonded Warehouse ready for next weekends show.

18th/19th October. Stourbridge Navigation Trust Open Weekend at The Bonded Warehouse.

Last Rally of the Year found us at the Stourbridge Open Weekend run by the Stourbridge Navigation Trust at the Bonded Warehouse. We were greated by very warm conditions, in fact I would say the mildest weather we have ever had at this show, It was clowdy with sunny spells and a rain shower in  the mid afternoon on both days just to settle the dust down a bit, the crowds came out in their thousands to see this show with over 70 boats and around 40 vintage exhibits all booked in made it a wondefull time. This year we had somthing different......A Beer Tent.....yes for as long as I can remember coming to do this show since the 1980's They have never had a Beer Tent until this year......

Stocked full of real Ale for the weekend it all proved realy sucsessfull and a good time was had by all.

I bought my usual fleet of vehicles....The 1946 Fordson Tractor, 1932 Ford A Coal Truck and my 1960 Morris Commercial along with the Trust's boats 1934 Bittell and 1935 Sagitta.....Sagitta was moored at the top of the site and were taking on many hundered of visitors each day. During the weekend my Father was taken Ill in the Nursing home that he had been in for the last two Months, it's looking touch and go weather he will make it or not.....let's wait and see.  

George Arthur Bingham (My Father) Sadly Died on Friday 24th October at Comberton Nursing Home in Amblecote nr Stourbridge, who suffered with a long illness of Prostate Cancer. Funeral arangements are 12.20pm at Stourbridge Crematoriam on Friday 7th November.

Saturday October 25th 6 crew bought Bittell back up the 25 locks to it's mooring at Parkhead.

We started out at 10.50am from the bottom of the Stourbridge Canal Arm by the Bonded Warehouse making the bottom of the Stourbridge 16 locks by 11.15am. The weather was mild with the odd light rain shower. RIGHT PHOTO is Alan Baker getting to grips with Bittell steering well up the last of the Stourbridge Locks. We left the top lock at 1pm, by 1.45pm the boat was inside the bottom of the Delph flight of 8 locks which took us 40 minuits to do. By 3pm Bittell was coming out of Blowersgreen Lock and into its Winter Mooring up Jacks Arm

Ron Moss sent me this photo of Bingham Road !

25th October, Not having a good day !  The "Queen Mary" Showmans traction engine broke down with a busted front axle on the A11 outside Brandon.

During sorting out my Dad's Funeral arangements I made this jocky wheel for the blue Supercar to keep myself busy..

Last time the car ran under it's own power at the BCLM back in August I found that the twin V belts were slipping !

I did try to tightening the belts but due to the design I ran out of adustment.

So I came up with the same idea the Tractor Mowers use as a clutch.

Using two ball race bearings fitted a shaft through the middle I fitted the assembly into a piece of Alloy Channel, fixing a hinge on the mounting plate and a long all thread bolt to put the right tention on the belts.

I did run the car on the trailer with the tentioner working but the real test will be when I run the car around......I don't know if the belt might shread !

11th November. There are a few jobs that need doing to the Morris Commercial.

There is exsessive play in the O/S Front Kin Pin which will fail the next M.O.T.

And rot is appering around the headlamp bucket, I've noticed it's been getting worse over the years ! Well I suppose it's been over 20 years since I restored this body, things don't last forever !

I thought the best way to tackle this job was to jack the front of the truck up as high as I can and put it on axle stands. Then get the front wheel removed.

As luck would have it I bought a set of new King Pins and bushes set for £20, at a Autojumble sale some years back now thinking I would need them one day.

Looking at this offside front wing I started poking at the rotted area with a screwdriver....yes it went through leaving a big hole where it had been rotted.

So a cleaning up session took place first to see how far this hole stretched. Then having made up some new metal I welded up a new piece in place. It will haved to be filled and rubbed down, but the whole wing will have to be rubbed down to be primered before the top coat is applied.

Having removed the front hub bearings first I then took the four bolts that held the brake backing plate on (Leaving all the fluid pipes still conneted) I hung the complete backing plate using some wire onto the chassis. Disconnected all the steering linkage then knocked out the tapered pin that holds the king pin in the beam axle. The King pin just dropped out on the floor. Takeing the Stub Axle to the bench I clamped it very tight in the vice and knocked out the two worn brass bushes. Having very carfully knocked in the two new bushes then came the delicate operation of reamering the bushes out. I used an adjustable reamer....I estermated I only needed to take 2 thou out so it's very gently does it, just a bit at a time and keep trying the new king pin all the time. I spent around 2-hours doing this as you don't want to take to much out otherwise you have ruined the bushes and you need to start again......

As I was very carful I just got it right with a nice tap in fit with the king pin.

Well it's that time of year again were we wish all my friends a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year for 2015.