History around us: The canals at stoke Bruerne

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History around us: The canals at stoke Bruerne

The Grand Junction canal at stoke bruern had been decided to be built to increase trade and for quick access to markets between Birmingham and London. The route was designed to be 90-100 miles long but the alternative route was 250 miles. They planned to have 121 locks and two major tunnels, one at braunston and the other at blisworth.

The route was planned to be the most direct route from London to Birmingham and had all the important local people involved including the duke of Crafton and five earls, a marquis and a senser. The canal was thought to raise over £500,000 in shares.

The source is not very good in giving you information in telling you any of the difficulties that accord during the building of the canal at stoke bruerne. The source only tells us that there were difficulties, which caused a delay. It tells us that there was a to abandon this part of the canal which is good because it tells us that things were very serious.

The alternative route that was decided to be used after the first route failed. The new route added an extra 150miles to the plan and went from Birmingham through the country to oxford then to London going to all the towns on the way.

When they started work at the tunnel at blisworth they encountered many problems. The Northampton mercury is very good at describing most of the difficulties that they encountered and what some of their ideas were to fix these problems. Some problems that it tells us are that the hill at blisworth was 45metres high and 3 miles long. In the source it tells us that they had other problems to with the amount of manual labour they had and that they needed more skilled and non-skilled labourers.

 In the Northampton mercury there is an add asking for people to sign up for work if they were a carpenter, brickmaker or they did any other sought of labour. This add shows us that they needed a huge workforce which they did not have. The add was placed on July 3 1802

The first major problem was in 1793 -96 when then the tunnel collapsed. This set them back a long way and caused a lot more problems. They had to build a new tunnel over the remaining ruins of the old tunnel. None of this is mentioned in the source given and instead is in the Northampton mercury. In the Northampton mercury they tell us of the rebuilding of the fallen tunnel and how it added extra costs because of additional brickwork and strengthening.

In the minute book on 3 November 1769 and 10 Jan 1798

You find out that they had ideas for building a tramway and toll road while the canal was not finished

Another problem that the source does not explain is that the canal company had competition from the railway as there had been one built from blisworth to Northampton. Because of the first major problem on august 1799 in the minute book Mr.jessop says that the tunnel would take another 2-3 years to be built if it was going to be built right.

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On the 17/5/1799 in the minute book it also tells us of the difficulties of gaining support from the landowner the duke of Grafton and other problems.

The minute book is a useful source for finding all of the details of the problems that encountered and for finding out about the builders and the everyone that was involved including the duke of Grafton. It explains what problems the duke had including a letter that he writes were he is concerned about what will happen to his land and neibouring villages. The replies to the duke’s letters show ...

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