.................This year's brass plaque

29th/30th Serptember 2012. Parkhead Canal Festival. With over 86 boats entered. Steve Bingham on the left and Dave Wheeler on right celebrating with a well earned pint.

During the last 12 months Dudley Canal Trust / Worcester/Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Societies have been getting their heads together around the committee table to organise the 6th Parkhead Canal Festival led by their Chairman Steve Bingham.


This year the dates were set for the weekend of 28th/29th30th September 2012.

This show should have been our 7th event, but due to problems with the Chasewater Reservoir and the lack of water around the B.C.N, we unfortuantly had to cancel the 2010 event before it even started.

Over the four years the Reservoir has now been repaired and is now full of water due to the very wet summer we have suffered. With that in mind we decided we could push on and organise the 2012 event.


Leading up to the event we suffered a very wet week which made the ground very soggy indeed. Infact we had too much water about but we all pushed on regardlessly. As luck would have it we had a beautiful dry sunny day on the Saturday which helped dry the ground out a bit.

86 boats in total entered along with 50 vintage and classic vehicles. With such a large entry you couldn't help but get the atmosphere of the sights and sounds of the Black Country at work. Russell Cook bought along the "Admiral Beatty" Showmans Traction Engine which was in steam all weekend along with the steam Narrowboat "President".


'Polly' the horse was also working all weekend pulling a 70ft joey boat up and down the locks at Parkhead demonstrating the art of horseboating, which was all that was available 150 years ago, before the invention of the diesel engine. The boat in question ( G.W.R. 65 ) is owned and just been restored by Bernard Hales.


We had around 25 trade and craft stalls sited around the ground plus a table top sale. Public were entertained by the sounds of fairground organs playing around the site, with a nice display of miniture traction engines, plus a static display from the local Black Country Live Steamers, along with displays from Commercial vehicles and some tractors. Sandwell and Stourbridge Model Boats club turned up with a nice display of working minature boats who were giving us displays of boat handling on the canal.


On the Sunday the weather was not that good but a lot better that they had forcast, with heavy rain showers and wind to come in around lunch time, as it turned out it was a dull day with a few light rain showers during the afternoon.

The Dog Show was set on the top field and with over 90 dogs entered. they were all judged accordingly. Later on in the afternoon the Mayor of Dudley came along to start the 'Great Dudley Duck Race'. Well over 800 ducks were dropped into the canal between locks one and two, with a steady flow of water, the ducks floated very slowly towards the finish line where the Mayor declaired the winner. Everybody seemed to have a good time dispite the dodgy weather!!   

On Sunday the 23rd September 2012. (One week before the event) I went to the Mailbox in Birmingham to do an interview on Radio West Midlands to publisise the Parkhead Canal Festival. Carl Chinn gave me 15 min's live on his show.

Just one of the many work- party's we held during the year. (Left to right, Dave Lucas, Wayne Sivions, Mark Redfern.)

"Dudley Cave Rescue Club" put the large banners up for us on the Viaduct (Very brave !)

Parkhead Locks are looking very tidy now thanks to all our volunteers who helped out on the work-party's. Boats started to arrive from Wednesday 26th September.

Simon from Dudley Mix Concrete delivers 100 panels of mesh security fencing for around the site.

Chairs and tables are loaded and taken up to the beer tent.

The bar is set up in the Marque and the first pint is pulled.....(Sponsored by Banks's)

A busy Marque serving beer all weekend.

Trade and craft stalls arrive and start setting up.

Stock is put out on the table tops and is put up for sale.

Classic Cars roll in and park up

A 1917 Le-Frances, Built in the U.S.A.

A nice line up of Vintage Stationary Engines from the early 1920's onwards all running. (Photo, Martin Attewell)

A 1916 Foster Showmans Traction Engine (Admiral Beatty) Owned by Russell Cook. (Photo, Martin Attewell)

Sandwell and Stourbridge Model Boat Clubs bring their boats along and are put on show. (Photo, Martin Attewell)

Just over 86 boats were booked in. (Martin Attewell photo)

A view from the moorings on the offside........(Martin Attewell photo)

A View off the Grazebrook Arm Bridge..........(Martin Attewell photo)

Historic Tugs and a row of 70ft Historic Cargo Boats. All moored up in the Pensnett Arm

Polly the horse waiting to tow another boat down the locks. (Photo, Martin Attewell)

From left to right.........Holly Parrot........"Polly".........Edward Parrot..........Jane Smith.

"Polly" Taking the strain, towing the Joey boat out of the top lock.

"Polly" Towing the 10 ton Joey boat along. This how boats were powered about 150 years ago. (Photo, Martin Attewell)

This Photo shows the pully system we have on the top lock at Parkhead. One end of the rope is attached to the stern of the boat, the other end is on the horse.

The Horse walks back down the towpath towards the rear of the boat, with the rope around the pully, the boat goes out of the lock and into the large pound of water in front.

Mike Mallpass on his 3" Scale Model Traction Engine. "Black Country Live Steamers Club".

Penny Warwick's Belgium Café Decap Fairground Organ next to the "Admiral Beatty" Traction Engine.

Steve Harbach with his 3" Scale Model Showmans Steam Engine which powers his Alan Pell Fairground Organ. (Black Country Live Steamers)

The Veiw across the top field of the Dog Show. (Sunday only)

Over 90 Dogs entered the Companion Dog Show.

Richard James Restaurant Bus.......It's first time out at a show.

Inside (Upstairs) of the Bus all laid out ready for the Mayors tea and sticky buns.

Lunch Time.......Black Country Fish and Chips being served.........

Followed by a pint of Banks's beer. ........ Dennis Pike on the center bridge. (Photo by Banks's)

This was the view off the center bridge over the main site.

The Trip Boat Electra just come back from a trip from the Waterfront.

Bob Chater with his Mecano models (Black Country Live Steamers.)

Dave Shuker with his model traction engine (B.C.L.S.)

Frank Kennedy with his models. (B.C.L.S.)

John Poultney show's off his hot air engines and his model steam yacht. ( B.C.L.S.)

The little Steam Train is owned by Ivan Smith

Historic Commercials on show.

Historic Commecial Boats and Commercial Trucks

A View across the boats........(Photo by Martin Attewell)

The Steam Narrowboat "President" was in steam all weekend.

Some Strange people arrived !

Sunday at 2pm.....The Mayor and Mayoress arrive

At 3pm Sunday the Mayor of Dudley, Melvyn Mottram Start's the Great Dudley Duck Race...800 Ducks are launched into the Dudley canal.

With the finish line in sight, the crowds are cheering for their duck to win !

THE FINISH LINE......The Mayor of Dudley declairs the Winner of the Duck Race.

Just as a reminder, our next Parkhead Canal Festival will happen on 27th/28th September 2014...Anybody wanting to help to Sponsor this 2014 event please contact me through my Guest Book. Thank You.