The Canal and River Trust has now published its winter stoppage programmewhich means that many narrowboats will soon be mooring up for the winter months. But not before the last floating market of 2016!

The Roving Canal Traders Association organise events to give canal traders opportunities throughout the summer period to trade and to raise the profile and public awareness of roving canal traders, and of the canals as a whole.

Birmingham Floating Market is open from 10am until 5pm from 23rd September to 25th September 2016 by Sheepcote Bridge on the Birmingham Old Mainline Canal. As usual it will include boats selling laser cut crafts, wax goods, rosettes, crafts, doggie gifts, handmade cards and jewellery. You will also find the Home Brew Boat, plants for sale, cafe boats, herbalists, wooden sculpture art, herbs and spices, paintings, charity boats and more.

Last year the three day event welcomed 24 trade boats to the stretch of towpath near the Barclaycard Arena. Colourful narrowboats were decorated with bunting and sold books, handicrafts and gifts, fenders and ropes, plants and seeds, woollen fashion garments, painted plates, art prints, and photographs. For canal enthusiasts the antiques boat offered items related to canal history such as horse brasses and original Measham teapots. Measham Ware is earthen ware; it has a dark brown lead glaze usually painted with white flowers and a personalised motto. These were once very popular with working boaters.

No canal festival or floating market would be complete without painted canalware. Items decorated with the canal folk-art of roses and castles range from coal scuttles to wooden spoons, and Buckby cans to teapots,milk churns and watering cans.

To get to the market last year I walked through Brindley Place; a relatively new canal-side development, in the Westside district of Birmingham. It is named after the 18th century canal engineer James Brindley. The network of canals at the heart of Birmingham were once a thriving part of the industrial revolution, but by the 1970s many of the buildings lay derelict. Now the area is busy once more, with cafes and bars, shops and restaurants, water features and shiny offices.

You may have already heard the often-quoted fact that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice. There are 35 miles of waterways in Birmingham and just 26 miles in Venice. Birmingham’s surrounding area offers many navigable adventures such as the 21 locks of the Hatton flight, the Cadbury factory at Bournville, the Netherton tunnel, and the beautifully rural Shropshire Union.

Roving Traders such as The Cheese Boat, The Book Barge and The Home Brew Boat have made boating their business all year round. If you’d like a business that revolves around boating or boats then maybe brokerage could be for you. Boatshed is one of the world’s largest yacht brokerage groups,and we’re now seeking enterprising people to join our ranks. All business models include training and support, marketing materials and access to the ground breaking Boatshed™ System. Find out more at

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