Shakespeare Country

Canals That Never Were: NarrowBoat, Spring 2023

Richard Dean

Richard Dean details early proposals for the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal

Based on Ordnance Survey mapping © Crown copyright 62/21 A projected canal to take Birmingham coal to Stratford-upon-Avon and return agricultural produce was given impetus by the intended extension of the Dudley Canal to Selly Oak, and in 1792 John Snape was engaged to find a suitable route. His line (shown in red on the map) started on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton, and followed this level southwards to Hockley Heath, from where it was to lock down through Lapworth, Preston Bagot and Wootton Wawen, then past Mary Arden’s house at Wilmcote to the northern edge of Stratford, with quarry branches to near Tanworth and Temple Grafton, neither of which were ever started. The Act was obtained in 1793 and the summit level completed largely on this alignment in 1796. But south of Hockley Heath, like many hurriedly surveyed Canal Mania schemes, it was not long before improvements were needed. The first was a branch enacted in 1795 to the nearby Warwick &…

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