All Around Britain: Ria Hebden explores Birmingham by boat

This week on All Around Britain Ria Hebden takes in the sights of one of the UK’s biggest cities from its waterways.

Ria steps on board at the Gas St Basin in Birmingham to meet canal boat owner Kath Hubbard and her skipper, Chris Johnson, who trusts Ria to have a go at steering along the Worcester and Birmingham canal.

“I’m steering a canal boat” exclaims Ria, as the boat veers into some trees.

On her tour Ria also explores the Library of Birmingham, the largest regional public library in Europe and home to one of the largest Shakespeare collections in the world.

Ria’s final stop of the day is the beautiful village of Bournville.

Known as a ‘garden suburb’ of Birmingham and famous for its Cadbury chocolate links, Bournville lies four miles southwest of the city.

After taking over their father’s business in 1861, George and Richard Cadbury decided to move their chocolate factory out of the city into an area where they could expand.

The Bournville site was chosen as it had excellent rail and canal links, making it perfect for deliveries.

  • Duncan Cadbury, a distant cousin of George and Richard, explains how the village got its name.

But as well as expanding their chocolate business, the brothers wanted to provide their workers with a better quality of life.

Bournville was the perfect place to do this as it offered lots of open space for exercise facilities and spacious housing.

George Cadbury issued advice to workers on how to be healthy in 1890. Many say he was "ahead of him time" where well-being was concerned. Credit: Bournville Village Trust

Residents are left with a ringing in their ears as Ria is given exclusive access to play the Carillon bells at the top of the school tower - which was another gift to the village from George Cadbury.

Alex Beresford was feeling under the weather this week so unfortunately missed out on the Birmingham sights but he will hopefully be back next week as All Around Britain heads to Edinburgh.

This week the show also learns about a headteacher from Wales who is being honored with a statue and a street in Salisbury where all of the houses were self-built.

Watch All Around Britain on Sunday at 11:55 - Or catch up on ITV Hub.