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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hawkesbury Junction

This is Hawkesbury Junction where the Oxford and Coventry canals join. Under the bridge is the Coventry canal but the access to it has not always been here.

 The original junction was to have been nearer to Coventry then changed to Bedworth then after  much argument between the two canal companies the join of the canals was at Longford. This was about a mile from Hawkesbury towards Coventry and meant the two canals ran alongside each other with a half circle bend where they joined.

This all happened in 1777 and it was not until many years later that Hawkesbury  was made the junction of the two canals.
The cause of all the problems was the charging of tolls by each company as boats moved from one canal to the other. There had been plans for the Oxford to start at Bedworth so that coal from collieries there would not have to pay tolls to the Coventry canal.

At this time and for many years the Coventry company only dug their canal as far as Atherstone and canal companies other than the Oxford wanted the Coventry extended to join their routes from the midlands. By 1790 the problems were solved and the link with the midlands complete.
The oxford had completed their rather long twisting route to Oxford and onto the River Thames to London.

Now up until this time another route to London did exist by way of Stourport, River Severn, the Thames and Severn canal and the R. Thames to London. This was a very long route with problems on the upper Thames so the Oxford canal was now to benefit from a shorter less problematic route to London.
 Now the collieries of Warwickshire, the Potteries, Birmingham and Manchester to name a few were linked via the Oxford to London but for how long? remember this is pre Grand Junction or G. Union as we now know it. Eleven good financial years before the Oxford came up against strong powerful people with a wish to cut the journey to London even shorter.

I just love reading the history of my home and as I wasn`t around 200+ years ago my information is gleaned from the effort of others in their research of the canal history.
Two books i have are;
Canals of the East Midlands..........Charles Hadfield  ISBN 071534871x
The Grand Junction Canal.............Alan H Faulkner   ISBN 0715357506
Both obtainable at Abe books, use links above.
Perhaps if you were to choose one then I recommend the former as it includes a section on the Grand Junction and London canals.
Both are very good and Jaq has in fact read the Grand Junction book cover to cover.

More wood at site number two. The third site had already been cleared by other boaters so we have just a re-visit to the Newbold site left on this section.


Unknown said...

A Blessed Solstice to you both

Les Biggs said...

Hi Ross
the very same from us. Be down your way soon, look forward to seeing you.

Anonymous said...

My friends Mike and Phillipa Muir (and yours) sent me the three volume set 'Anatomy of Canals," three very detailed volumes of historical reference. Sort of a farewell to Canada and early Christmas present.
A suitable series of publications for late night reading. So far volume one and two have been read. Volume three for the New Year.
And then a re-read with hte large scale map Mike and Phil left here for me to trace routes. It seems odd
for me at least innterested in railways all over theworld and being a railway journalist for a number of years now turning my attenetions to predecessor to railways. And as to reference Tom Rolt, have been a continuous member of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society since 1972.

Mike and Phil are wintering at Mike's mother's place near Gatwick as I understand.

Merry christmas to both Jaq and Les
and their extended families world wide.

Bryce Lee
Burington, Ontario

minus 2C outside as I write this at 23"17 Eastern time
December 23, 2012.

Heavy snow within an hour's drive
however nothing on the ground here, yet.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce,
Those volumes sound fascinating! Isn't it lovely to have a good, engrossing read to savor? :)

We've been in touch with Mike and Phill--we left a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix for them at their marina--I brought a box back from the USA at her request as she uses them in recipes as do I. It is not available over here.

No snow here in the Midlands of England--but TONS of rain, making us grateful we love in a waterproof, floating home!

Have a lovely Christmas Bryce and may the New year bring you joy, radiant good health, and great mirth in your home.
Jaq and LesXX

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs