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Birmingham City Council

Canals: Stratford upon Avon Part 1

The idea of a canal from Stratford to almost anywhere else was a comparatively late one. Stratford was already situated on the River Avon, and much of its trade came along that waterway. As the network of surrounding canals developed in the late 1780s, the merchants of the area found that supplies of some goods were not so easily obtained as before, they were being shipped from source to Birmingham. It was found that the market for local produce was becoming more restricted. Any towns or villages near a canal could be supplied more cheaply via the canal than by packhorse or wagon overland.

There were many possible routes that were considered. To really benefit from the canals, the Stratford had to link up with some of the others to enable coal and metal goods to reach the town more cheaply.

The route adopted ran from the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Kings Norton to Stratford on its path it came within 2 miles of the then planned Warwick and Birmingham Canal and there seems to always have been the intention to link the two. Negotiations between the two companies were muddled. They didn't seem to want to offend any of the other companies. The Stratford company ended up having to accept a penalty charge on any goods that went North to Birmingham having left the Warwick Canal.

The Act of Parliament for the building of the Stratford Canal was granted in March 1793. The Junction with the Warwick Canal being authorised in 1795.


Stratford upon Avon Canals - Part 2