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The Grand Union: Braunston - Birmingham

In the 1930's the narrow beam section from Braunston to Birmingham was deepened and widened to create a broad gauge canal capable of taking 70 tonne barges. Because of onward deliveries beyond the wide beam system, paired narrow boats became the normal operating mode.

Today's legacy is an attractive and heavily used leisure canal. This programme covers the journey from one of the hubs of the canal network at Braunston through pleasant open countryside, through Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick, and finally right into the heart of Britain's second city, Birmingham.

The Oxford Canal

The Oxford Canal was one of the earliest canals in England. Built by Brindley, it slavishly followed the contours of the land, sometimes making long exagerrated loops to come back to within yards of its starting point. It was part of Brindleys Grand Cross - a master plan for transport infrastructure, to link our major rivers with our coal fields and industrial centres. In particular, this canal brought coal from the Warwickshire coal field to the capital, via the Thames which it joined at Oxford.

In the 1830's in anticipation of competition from a planned rival canal, the Northern section was straightened using embankments and cuttings, and shortening it by 14 miles. The legacy of those old loops were crossed by graceful ironwork bridges, and many of them have survived until today, providing quiet, peaceful moorings off the main line of the canal.

DVD Info

Double DVDset
Region: 0

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