Follow the above link to see the final celebration of this wonderful project. Hear some of the funny, poignant, vivid stories from the women who took part.

There is an introduction from Nadia, Heather and Kate, the project team followed by the delightful short film made by Erin Hopkins

Complimentary copies of the celebratory book are being sent to all the women who took part and our team of great volunteers.

But you can buy the book online here as well: once you’ve made your selection please pay via the Paypal buttons below the form. Here’s what some of our reviewers have said:

…rich with detail, conveys the grittiness and romance of life on the canals and gives the women involved a great way of capturing and sharing their memories. A balanced, enjoyable, easy to read book which gives a voice to amazing women. (Traci Dix-Williams, Chief Executive, Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust)

…a wonderful evocation and celebration of the vital part that women volunteers played in saving and restoring the canals of the Black Country and the wider network. (Keith Hodgkins, chairman, Tipton Civic Society)


Now you just need to pay! Paypal will ask you for the address to deliver to.

How many books are you paying for? (P&P inc)


The podcast series can be found on SoundCloud. The final episodes are being  uploaded every Thursday

Keep in touch with developments via Facebook, Twitter and our mailing list.


The Black Country has some 100 miles of canals, enjoyed by walkers, boaters, fishers or those simply admiring them from a train.

Most, if not all, of the area’s canals exist today because a group of dedicated campaigners wouldn’t give up when they fell into disrepair. They protested, lobbied, dug out the weeds, removed tons of rubbish, took risky journeys through tunnels to prove they were still navigable, and learned how to lay bricks. There are lots of accounts of these campaigners, but they are mostly about the role played by men.

“I Dig Canals” was a phrase used in the 1970s by canal supporters. The project is all about hearing and saving stories like these.

Since September, we have been hearing unheard stories from women involved in campaigns to save and restore canals in the Black Country in the 1960s and 1970s. Stories of juggling a hungry baby with selling raffle tickets, trying to entertain visiting dignitaries on a boat that suddenly ran aground or simply keeping the family safe and fed amidst all the digging and debris.

A wonderful team of volunteers has been helping us record oral histories and memories, summarise the recordings, search the archives for documentary material by women – articles in canal society newsletters, correspondence between the women involved in the early days of campaigning to save the waterways just after the war and much much more.






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