In the post war years the Stratford Canal
was neglected and started to be a candidate for abandonement. When a Parliamentary Act came up for consideration an IWA member's passage ticket for his canoe was produced as evidence of use within the non use statutory time defeating the Bill.
The lock structures were rapidly deteriorating when the IWA started a restoration campaign. Led and directed by David Hutchings, swarms of dedicated volunteers, prisoners from Hewel Grange, Army and Air Force work groups descended to clear and restore the waterway. David overcame large and minor problems one of which was when the prison work party could not go home as an inmate had 'borrowed' the bus to go to a football match.
By 1964 the canal was navigable although there was still some further work required. Importantly David had made his political point that Canal restoration was feasible and wanted by an increasing fleet of boat users.
In July 1964 a flotilla of boats descended the canal to assemble for the official opening by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Before some 20,000 spectators, she sailed across the Bancroft Basin into the River Lock to cut the tape. The City of Birmingham Orchestra concert performed on a pontoon raft which kept breaking away. The 1812 Overture was saluted by Royal Artillery cannons while many attended a Theatre performance of Richard 11nd. The celebration was concluded with a magnificent formal dinner at which the prize winners were announced.