Well, we were warned before we got here that Gas Street on Friday and Saturday nights is noisy but we didn’t really have much option at the time. The pubs were all quiet by 11.30pm which surprised me but then the nightclub started and finally finished at 4.00am!! Where we are in the basin is fairly safe as there is a gate to the residential part of the basin which is locked at night so no one comes past us however on the other side of the water the towpath must lead somewhere as hoards of riotous revelers kept passing till at least 4.30am :-( We are just hoping that tonight, with it being Sunday, it will be quieter. When we eventually came too and got going we went for a walk to the Jewellery Quarter. It was quite a long way and even before we got there my knee was beginning to ache. We weren’t too sure where we were going but we found a nice young Police Officer who told us exactly where to go!! A lot of the jewellery shops were closed mainly because it is Sunday but also it is the holidays here in Birmingham. We went in a couple but I could tell that Richard was not interested!! The Police Officer had told us to keep looking up to see the buildings and there were certainly some interesting edifices and some lovely old warehouses. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos which I regret now. We had a rest in St. Paul’s Square where the Church there was built in 1777. When my knee allowed it we walked back to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon we wandered down the Gas Street straight to The Mailbox. Dominating the skyline is The Cube – a wonderful modern building which houses a hotel, offices, apartments, spa, restaurant and, eventually, shops. I was going to write more about it but there was just too much to write – this hyperlink takes through to Wikipedia which is very interesting. The Mailbox itself was rather disappointing as it is either restaurants or up-market shops! We did, however, frequent Tesco Express! Millie doesn’t like it very much here as she can’t go out as there are too many people around but she enjoyed sitting on the top step in the sunshine doing some people watching!
Now for some history! The Birmingham Canal, completed in 1773, terminated at Old Wharf beyond Bridge Street. When the Worcester and Birmingham Company started their canal at a point later known as Gas Street Basin the Birmingham Canal Navigations Company (BCN) insisted on a physical barrier to prevent the Worcester and Birmingham Canal from benefiting from their water. The Worcester Bar, a 7 ft. 3 in. wide straight barrier 84 yards long was built perpendicular to the run of the two canals. Cargoes had to be laboriously manhandled between boats on either side. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal opened between Birmingham and Selly Oak on 30 October 1795 but took until 1815 to complete to Worcester, at which time, after much lobbying by iron and coal masters and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Company, an Act of Parliament was passed to open up the bar and the bar lock was built. There were toll offices either side of the bar lock and tolls were collected by each company from boats using the canals. The Worcester Bar still exists, with boats moored to both sides of it. It is connected to Gas Street via a footbridge reconstructed to a design by Horseley Ironworks of the 19th century. During the 1990s much of the area around the basin was redeveloped and older buildings refurbished.