Canal Company Correspondence

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2021

Christopher M Jones

Based on material recently discovered in a toll house, Chris M. Jones provides insights into the management of the Warwick & Napton Canal in the 19th century

In July 2021, after clearing out the few remaining historic items from Braunston Toll House, Canal & River Trust staff found an old leatherbound copy letter book, originally part of the administrative records of the Warwick & Napton Canal Co. Dated between 1st November 1839 and 13th June 1844, it provides a fascinating insight into the end of the Canal Age in the south Midlands at a time when a new transport revolution was underway as the railways were being built. But it was not the end just yet, as there were two new local canals also being built and opened during the period covered by the book. It is divided into three sections. The first is an alphabetical index of most of the recipients of the letters but not all. The second section lists the shareholders, and the third contains the letters pages, with each letter given its own number. There were 1,614 letters in all but there was room for hundreds more as a sizeable portion of the book was left empty. These letters are d…

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