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Why was the Canal Built through Stoke Bruerne?

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Carrie Bradshaw - Why was the Canal Built through Stoke Bruerne? When the Grand Junction Canal (GJC) was first in use, Britain was experiencing what we now call the "Industrial Revolution" and London, being the country's main trading centre, was where much of the rapid social and economic change was taking place. Large industries were being set up and, with the introduction of steam power, the need for plentiful amounts of raw materials (in particular coal) increased rapidly. There was no coal in London or the Home Counties, only further north in the Midlands and Birmingham. Before the GJC was constructed, the only way to transport raw materials was by roads, rivers or seas; each had their advantages and disadvantages. ...read more.


Another means of transport was needed to transport goods from Birmingham to London. Before the GCJ was built, many canal and river navigations had been constructed in widely differing parts of the country, but there was no connected system. There was an existing route from Birmingham to London, the Oxford Canal, but goods had to first be taken north of Birmingham by the Fazely Canal, then south down the Coventry Canal in order to reach it. Boats still then had to navigate the Thames into central London. The Oxford Canal was narrow and congested and the Thames section was frequently flooded in winter, affected by drought in summer and often prone to piracy. All these factors resulted in the entire journey being extremely slow, rendering it ineffective, so a new canal was proposed as an alternative to the GJC, called the Hampton Gay Canal. ...read more.


Stoke Bruerne itself was situated in the middle of a direct corridor with Brentford and Braunstone, so geographically Stoke Bruerne was well-sited for the canal to pass through it. Furthermore, its construction also had backing from important people who would earn prestige and stand to gain financially from the canal passing through. The main landowners in the area were the Duke of Grafton and Earl Spencer, both members of the aristocracy and the House of Lords. Through investment both would be able to make large profits from the canal. Money could be made from tolls, trade and investment in the canal companies themselves. Becoming a member of the GJC Council gave the Duke of Grafton a powerful voice in the decision-making process, and together he and Earl Spencer supported plans for the GJC rather than Hampton Gay Canal, for which there was little influential backing. ...read more.

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