Gas Street Basin - A Birmingham Gem!

Gas Street Basin in in Westside, Birmingham, where the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at the Worcester Bar. Narrowboats moored on both sides.

Where is Gas Street Basin?

Gas Street Basin is near Gas Street, Birmingham, B1 2JU. Worcester Bar runs towards Bridge Street, Birmingham, B1 2JR.


In brief

Two canals met near Gas Street in the late 18th century separated by a physical barrier called the Worcester Bar. The Birmingham Canal Navigations, had their canal terminating at Old Wharf beyond Bridge Street, meanwhile the Worcester & Birmingham Canal began in 1795, but didn't reach Worcester until 1815. By then an Act of Parliament was passed opening up the barrier and a bar lock was installed. The area was much refurbished by the 1990s, and period style footbridge installed at the time.

Gas Street BasinGas Street Basin where the BCN meets the W & B (June 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown


Gas Street Basin - history

The Birmingham Canal Company completed their canal to Old Wharf beyond Bridge Street. When the Worcester & Birmingham Canal Company wanted to build their canal near to the Birmingham Canal Navigations,  the BCN insisted on a physical barrier between the two, to prevent their water going into the other companies water. This barrier was called the Worcester Bar. Boats could be moored on both sides, but they couldn't cross over it at the time. The Worcester & Birmingham Canal was built and opened in stages between Birmingham and Selly Oak from 1795, but took until 1815 to complete it to Worcester. By which time after much lobbying, an Act of Parliament was passed to open the barrier and the bar lock built. There used to be toll offices on both sides, collected by each company by the boats using the canals.

By the late 20th century, all of the canal network was being managed by British Waterways, and in the 1990s the area was redeveloped, and new buildings and bars were opened.

The wall and ramp down from Gas Street, the Tap and Spile pub, and neighbouring buildings are all Grade II listed, as is the building on top of the Broad Street Tunnel, designed by Martin & Chamberlain. This building is home to The O Bar and Walkabout.

Above the Broad Street Tunnel is the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge, given the name in 2019 to celebrate 50 years of the trailblaising ‘Heavy Metal’ band. Gas Street Basin got its name from the first street in the city with gas lighting.


Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Gas Street Basin

In this direction at the end of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, towards the BCN Mainline and Broad Street Tunnel. You can see the Hyatt Regency Birmingham from here.

Gas Street BasinWorcester & Birmingham Canal at Gas Street Basin (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown


BCN Mainline at Gas Street Basin

The Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline ends at Old Wharf, but the canal has been long filled in beyond Bridge Street. Today that is the site of Arena Central. To the left is Regency Wharf. The Tap & Spile pub (to the right) closed down for good during the last lockdown.

Gas Street BasinThe BCN at Gas Street Basin (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown


The Canal House, Bistrot Pierre and Canalside Bar

As of 2021, you can eat and drink at: Bistrot Pierre, Canalside Bar and The Canal House. Tap & Spile sadly closed down for good during the last lockdown.

Gas Street BasinWater Bus heading through the Worcester Bar at Gas Street Basin (January 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown


Worcester Bar Footbridge

The footbridge you see here, was only installed during the 1990s. It allows you to cross Worcester Bar from Gas Street to Bridge Street. Although it has been closed to pedestrians since the first lockdown in 2020, and only narrowboat users, or staff from the local bars could use it. It may not have reopened to the public yet.

Gas Street BasinWorcester Bar Footbridge at Gas Street Basin (December 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown

Project dates

11 Feb 2018 - On-going


History & heritage, Civic pride, Photography
Shopping, Food & drink, Rivers, lakes & canals, Squares and public spaces

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Jonathan Bostock

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