Thursday, 14 August 2014

I manage to work the word Machiavellian into a blog post.

Technically this is where the G.U. becomes, temporarily the Oxford Canal. As originally built the Grand Junction Canal joined the older Oxford Canal at this point and an imposing toll house was built to regulate the traffic.

As the new connection put the North Oxford in direct contact with London it led to a huge increase in traffic on the North Oxford and a dwindling of traffic on the south. When the Grand Junction needed a connection to the Warwick and Napton Canal it came to an agreement with the Oxford to use its line between Braunston and Napton Junction, (A.k.a. Wigrams Turn) rather than go to the expense of digging a new cut. The Machiavellian deals that finally led to the agreement are way beyond my comprehension but are all explained in Alan H. Faulkner's excellent book "The Grand Junction Canal". The outcome was that the circuitous route of the North Oxford was straightened and the Grand Junction paid for the straightening of the Oxford between Braunston and Napton. The old route of the Oxford went through the bridge in the top picture but after the improvement it now goes through

the rather lovely double bridge at Braunston Turn. In the 1930's when the Grand Union, successor to the Grand Junction, wanted to widen it's route to Birmingham the Oxford gracefully allowed it to improve the five miles of joint canal and then charged the G.U. high tolls for the privilege of using it. Anyone wanting more information should check the aforementioned book and Hugh J. Compton's equally excellent, "The Oxford Canal", both published by David and Charles in the 1970's. If anyone spots any errors in this account, please don't tell me for, "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise".
We headed north up the Oxford.

Near Willoughby the long disused line of the old G.C.R. is visible with the forlorn remains of a signal waiting sadly for a train that will never come.

Bridge 80, Wise's Bridge, once notorious for the precarious state of the arch, now restored by the good offices of the W.R.G.

The new bricks are already starting to suffer from boat strikes.

Under a bridge, I can't remember which one, near Rugby is a monument to the towns major claim to fame as the place where Rugby Football was invented, but probably not by William Webb Ellis.
Today we are watching the rain clouds process across the sky as we dally above Hillmorton Locks and the boats hurtle past, mostly private ones, the hirers seem to have got the message.

Watch this space.......


Adam said...

My favourite bit of canal trivia concerns the joint section between Braunston and Napton. Boats travelling south on the Oxford are going one way, and boats travelling south on the GU are travelling the opposite way!

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

It's like the old railways at Exeter, on the GWR trains heading towards London Paddington came in from the south and passed the Southern Railway trains for London Waterloo going in the opposite direction. Just another unlikely fact!!