This amazing film recreates a coal run with tugs and joey boats (open day boats) from Anglesey on the edge of Cannock Chase, into the heart of the Black Country. It was the last opportunity to record such a film, as the new Birmingham Northern Relief Road would forever alter the view of this quiet corner of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) in just a few months time. So, in September 1999, a determined group of British Waterways staff, volunteers, boating societies and museum staff got together to record the Last Coal Run from Anglesey.
A small team of enthusiasts researched methods used at Anglesey basin and aimed to recreate the atmosphere of days gone by, in a beautifully shot film paying great attention to detail.
The BCN proved itself up to the challenge. The joeys were loaded with about 20 tonnes of coal apiece, and were stuck only once on the journey - proving the BCN is far better than its reputation suggests!
The film picks up on the manoeuverability of the tugs turning the 3 joeys at the basin in a clean sweep and on Joe Hollingshead's superb boating skills as he shafts the boats quietly, one-by-one in to their places following loading, and skillfully takes all the joeys round a hairpin bend into the basin at the Black Country Museum!
Last coal run from Anglesey is largely the work of Glyn Phillips, Tony Gregory, Eliza Botham and IA Recordings (Peter Eggleston and Kevin Lake). Additional generous contributors were British Waterways Birmingham and Black Country Canals staff and Midlands Regional Workshop staff, as well as the Black Country Living Museum, the National Waterways Museum, the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port and Bernard Hales and Partners. Without the additional dedication of individuals, the film would not have been possible, and Sight Seen's thanks go to the cast and support staff of (apparently) thousands who turned up to help make it work!
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