Making things is in the blood of the Black Country.
I regularly make visits to local workplaces and love to hear the stories of what is made here. Of course, many of the big names that resonated through the Black Country’s manufacturing history are long gone, but it would be a huge mistake to think we don’t make anything anymore. One example is the lock gates for our canal network. There are two workshops making these in the UK and one is located in Bradley in my constituency. There, a team of skilled craftsmen make huge gates for our canal network, hewn from the finest English Oak (some of which it was explained to me actually comes from Scotland!). Each set of gates is bespoke, made to precise measurements for one location only. The wood is treated with water to keep it in just the right condition for the job. The finished products can weigh about 5 tonnes each and they are shipped from Bradley around the country. It is all part of the work done by the Canal and River Trust which looks after our inland waterways. In many ways our canal network is an underused asset. I would love to see us making more of it. But certainly the work done in the Bradley workshop is a vital part of keeping our canal network up to scratch. And the next time you see a set of lock gates, remember there is affair chance they were made in Bradley.