And the bridge rumbled and shook with each large vehicle...

Tame Past Present Future - A journey down the River Tame

MADE’s Tame Past Present Future project aims to tell the story of the industrial River Tame – which industries were sited there, who worked there, how this activity shaped the communities and ultimately we will look at how this rich heritage can be used to shape the design of riverside sites in the future.

We have been working with communities along the river – but in particular groups from Wednesbury, Witton and Castle Vale as well as some individuals. We recently hosted a training  session by the Library of Birmingham for members of these groups looking at research techniques how to take oral histories. They have been supported by  Jenni Dixon, our Community Heritage Outreach Worker has also been quite literally scrabbling along the Tame side to unearth long forgotten sites and treasures.

She is sharing this with us via her blog where you can find tantalising morsels from the tale of Bromfords Bill Bowen – a fairground prizefighter who walked from Wales to the Midlands to find work – to research into the River’s natural history with details of the flora and fauna to be found to an account of one of Jenni’s explorations where at the top of “a stairway to the motorway [winding me up to the top of the M6 where] I could meet eyes with the lorry drivers in their trucks. The wind pushed from both sides, from the trains passing below and the traffic on the road, and the bridge rumbled and shook with each large vehicle”

With this richness of material we are excited about bringing the story of the Tame – and its industries and people – to you in the coming months. We will be organising a touring exhibition, walks and talks. 

Much of the river is culveted, canalized and hidden from view as it flows secretly past tens of thousands of Midlanders. Our new website will take you on a virtual journey down the river so you explore the heritage but avoid the nettle stings and close brushes with speeding traffic.