The Warwick and Birmingham Canal

Description of this historic site

The Warwick and Birmingham Canal, a waterway used for the transporting of goods. It was built during the Imperial period.

Notes about this historic site

1 The act authorising a canal from Digbeth to Warwick was passed in 1793. The canal was to end at Saltisford wharf and was originally to have been wide enough for narrow boats only. However, the building of the Grand Junction as a barge canal changed that. Trading began on 19-03-1800 and the cost had been 160 000. The canal was opened simultaneously with the Warwick and Napton Canal (WA 4300) and shared its fortunes. It was initially prosperous, but was badly hit by competition from the Fazeley-Coventry-Oxford Canal route to London, and later by the railways, this, despite the opening of the Birmingham and Warwick Junction canal in 1844 and the link to the Stratford on Avon Canal in 1802.
The authorisation of the London and Birmingham railway in 1833 affected the two Warwick canals in particular as they were essentially link canals with relatively little local traffic. By 1845 the railways were offering to buy the canals and by 1849 the canal company was in receivership. They struggled on with greatly reduced capital.
There were a number of offers and attempts to take over the canals, all abortive until in 1929 they became part of the Grand Union Canal. The Grand Union restored the waterways, building new locks and bridges and concreting the banks, between 1931 and 1937.
The whole of the canal remains in use, except for the Saltisford arm in Warwick, which is at present undergoing restoration. It has a total length of 22 and 5-eighths miles, approximateley nine of these being in Warwickshire. There are 21 locks, 15 numbered bridges and one tunnel between Baddesley Clinton and Saltisford.

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