Did you know Birmingham, UK, has more miles of canals than Venice?
During the Industrial Revolution, canals were the lifeline of industry. Waterways were the only way to move large amounts of cargo around the country. So what does a city without a river that finds itself at the center if the Industrial Revolution do? Simple: build canals. Miles and miles of man made waterways heading off to all parts of the country, an incredible feat of engineering and evidence of the skills and vision of the men behind them.
But, then comes the train, and then the truck… Canals become an anachronism and are left to go to ruin, until the end of the twentieth century when a concerted effort is made to ‘gentrify’ them. They’re cleaned up and made into picturesque walking and cycling routes. Apartment blocks spring up, and fancy new pedestrian bridges are built. Hey presto, waterside living for the landlocked city!
The canals still carry quite a lot of traffic, but these days it’s mostly pleasure boats, and holidaymakers passing through – stopping off at one of the many waterside pubs.
While Birmingham may have the ‘quantity’, it probably lacks the ‘quality’ of somewhere like Venice. You will have to work a bit harder to produce interesting Lomographs. It makes a good place to shoot on a sunny day – in bad light the water looks as grim as it would have done during the industrial heyday! If you can avoid being menaced by the Canada Geese or getting knocked into the water by cyclists there are still plenty of opportunities!