Canals: Stratford upon Avon - Part 2
The first section of the canal to be opened went from Kings Norton to Hockley Heath. Opened in May 1796, it took most of the money that had been raised to dig the whole canal. Josiah Clowes was the engineer in charge, though he was also building the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Dudley No 2 Canal. The first section did contain Kings Norton Tunnel and two long embankments, but nothing to explain the expense. Clowes died before the section was completed. The treasurer of the company was himself owed 000 and there was little incentive to complete the canal until the others linking to it were complete.
Only when the Dudley No 2 Canal was finished and coal was easily available from the Black Country that a further Act of Parliament was sought. This gave the authority to borrow more money and allowed the route to be changed . The junction of the Stratford with the Warwick and Birmingham would be shorter as the canals would now be within half a mile of each other at the junction. In 1880 work started again, with Samuel Porter as engineer. The canal reached Kingswood and the junction in 1802. The two canal companies argued about the tolls for traffic leaving one canal and joining the other.
The canal progressed no further for another ten years. The Stratford Corporation begged that the canal be completed to their town. The incentive to continue came with another wave of canal speculations that suggested the Stratford could become part of a major cross-country route. Speculators took up the shares and money was available. In 1812 work had restarted and in June 1813 had reached Wooton Wawen.
Canals: Stratford upon Avon - Part 3