Birmingham City Council

Canals: Stratford upon Avon - Part 3

Also in 1813, a new route between Wooten Wawen and Wilmscote and routes to link up with the Avon in Stratford were proposed. Water storage reservoirs at Earlswood were also planned. Parliament gave permission in 1815 but work on the canal was now rapid and by 24 June 1816, the canal was complete. Tipton coal was available for 10d per cwt.

This rapid finish was under the direction of William Whitmore who had been responsible for the canal for all of the southern section after Kingswood. He seems to have given the Southern Stratford a unique style.

The three cast iron aqueducts(at Wooton Wawen, Bearley and Yarningale), the iron bridges over the canal (with a gap in the middle to let the tow rope through) and the Barrel-roofed lock cottages are all part of Whitmores work

Trade along the canal started as soon as each section was complete.The North Stratford was used, together with the Dudley canals, as a bypass for Black Country products, avoiding the congested Birmingham canals. In this way coal, iron, firebricks and other manufactured goods travelled the first 12.5 miles of the canal, onto the Warwick and Birmingham and on its way to the south east. there was considerable rivalry between the different canals to carry the traffic, so tolls were low to remain competetitive. Coal was charged a toll of 10.5d for the of the 12.5miles of the section.

The southern section of the canal carried mainly coal to Stratford area and farm produce in the opposite direction. limestone was brought to the canal at Wilmscote from Temple Grafton. The stone was used for iron making in Halesowen area and was and was turned into agricultural lime by kilns at along the canal.


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Canals: Stratford upon Avon - Part 4