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The original junction at Braunston


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The recent thread on the bridge numbers between Braunston and Napton has got me thinking about the convoluted history of the layout of canals in Braunston. There have been some really informative threads on the forum over the last few years, covering the Braunston Branch Canal, Bragborough Stream, the coming of the reservoirs, the effect of the 1830s OCC straightening, and of the formation of the GUCCo and the widening in the 1930s. Lots of stuff I didn't know, despite living afloat in Braunston for 15 years ... but there are a few things which don't make complete sense to me, I thought I'd run them past the panel.

 

1. At the original junction between the Grand Junction and Oxford canals (understood to be at the present Marina entrance), as it was between ca. 1796 and 1834, was there a horse bridge documented? Horses could have been walked up to the turnpike bridge (A45) whilst a boat was being gauged, at least until the Branch Canal was built. But assuming there was a bridge, why did it need to be replaced with the Horseley iron bridge after only 40 years, was there a significant change of layout? And did the original line of the Oxford really have the tight right-angled bend which exists here now?

 

2. Also thinking about this period, the stop/gauging lock: you would expect a stop lock to have been on the Grand Junction, just before the meeting of the canals (like e.g. the junction between the Ashby and Coventry canals). The stop lock (as it was) outside the Stop House - which is always written about as if it has been there since 1796 - is placed so that not only would it not automatically "catch" any traffic heading west from the Grand Junction towards Napton, it would also have had to be negotiated by traffic already on the Oxford and not changing canals. Did the OCC really build, or sanction, an unnecessary obstacle on its main line?

 

Am I overthinking this? It is quite hard to mentally strip away everything that came later and try to imagine what it looked like in 1800, Back in the day I had a copy Hugh Compton's history of the Oxford Canal, but as I remember there was much more about the junctions with the Coventry canal and the Thames than there was about Braunston.

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Surely the stop was a point to levy tolls. The Grand Junction could have levied tolls as boats passed through the bottom lock. Post the Oxford shortening, all traffic to and from the Oxford would have paid tolls at the stop. Before this only traffic for the North Oxford would have been been tolled here. Maybe there was another stop for the South Oxford at the wharf/road bridge just south of the current end of the marina arm.

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4 hours ago, Richard Carter said:

 

 

1. At the original junction between the Grand Junction and Oxford canals (understood to be at the present Marina entrance), as it was between ca. 1796 and 1834, was there a horse bridge documented? Horses could have been walked up to the turnpike bridge (A45) whilst a boat was being gauged, at least until the Branch Canal was built. But assuming there was a bridge, why did it need to be replaced with the Horseley iron bridge after only 40 years, was there a significant change of layout? And did the original line of the Oxford really have the tight right-angled bend which exists here now?

 

 

Richard, this is the closest bit of information I have come across for the original entrance to what is now the marina. This is just to the southern side of the existing bridge.

DSCF1902.jpg

DSCF1903.jpg

Edited by Ray T
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11 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Richard, this is the closest but of information I have come across for the original entrance to what is now the marina. This is just to the southern side of the existing bridge.

DSCF1902.jpg

DSCF1903.jpg

 

Fascinating Ray, could you please mark where this is situated on a map. please? ..... pretty please?

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5 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

 

Fascinating Ray, could you please mark where this is situated on a map. please? ..... pretty please?

 

Which is why if you have ever tried to moor at this spot you hit "something."

Braunston Bridge.jpg

Edited by Ray T
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3 hours ago, David Mack said:

Surely the stop was a point to levy tolls. The Grand Junction could have levied tolls as boats passed through the bottom lock. Post the Oxford shortening, all traffic to and from the Oxford would have paid tolls at the stop. Before this only traffic for the North Oxford would have been been tolled here. Maybe there was another stop for the South Oxford at the wharf/road bridge just south of the current end of the marina arm.

I'd had this thought, but sort of dismissed it. But folowing your line of thought, if there was already a narrows at the wharf by the turnpike, similar to Stretton Stop - where there are also no locks which could be used for a gauging point - then you could see they might just have built a second stop for northbound traffic off the Grand Junction.

 

23 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Richard, this is the closest but of information I have come across for the original entrance to what is now the marina. This is just to the southern side of the existing bridge.

 

 

Thanks Ray, I had found the thread where you posted this a few years ago, it is very interesting - do you think it suggests the junction was once wider?

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5 minutes ago, Ray T said:

 

Which is why if you have ever tried to moor at this spot you hit "something."

Braunston Bridge.jpg

Been there done that.  There is even a mooring ring temptingly placed there.  You can get a bit closer to the bridge than the boat in the image, but not much.

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8 minutes ago, Richard Carter said:

I'd had this thought, but sort of dismissed it. But folowing your line of thought, if there was already a narrows at the wharf by the turnpike, similar to Stretton Stop - where there are also no locks which could be used for a gauging point - then you could see they might just have built a second stop for northbound traffic off the Grand Junction.

 

Thanks Ray, I had found the thread where you posted this a few years ago, it is very interesting - do you think it suggests the junction was once wider?

Sorry, I don't know the answer to that one. I believe it was widened when the Grand Junction Canal Co. built the Branch Canal to spite the Oxford Canal Co.

 

From David Blagrove's "The Heart of the Waterway's."

 

"The last significant addition the the Grand Junction's assets in Braunston in these years was the short Braunston Branch, a canal of some 200 yards running south east from the main line junction with the Oxford Canal , along the two sides of the larger reservoir and back to the main line, passing under Nibbets Lane. It seems to have been constructed in two parts, the first from the Oxford Canal Junction to the warehouse in Nibbets Lane and was presumably carried out at the same time as the reservoirs, some time after 1806. ( possibly 1834)

 

The second part forming a loop, was constructed about ten years later.

 

The branch must have been built mainly to spite the Oxford Canal Co. for boats would seemingly have to enter it from that waterway rather from the Grand Junction. Its alignment suggests that it was entered by boats coming from the north, and its inset would seem to secure south bound transhipment traffic so that the Grand Junction obtained some benefit from it even if it had passed no further over their property. The Branch was built on Grand Junction land right up to the boundary with the Oxford Company, which meant the junction between the two canals had to be widened considerably."

 

The branch canal had its demise some time before 1922.

 

Incidentally the reservoirs were built to keep G.J. Co. water away from the Oxford. The water being pumped back up to the tunnel pound.

 

 

Edited by Ray T
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9 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Sorry, I don't know the answer to that one. I believe it was widened when the Grand Junction Canal Co. built the Branch Canal to spite the Oxford Canal Co.

 

From David Blagrove's "The Heart of the Waterway's."

 

"The last significant addition the the Grand Junction's assets in Braunston in these years was the short Braunston Branch, a canal of some 200 yards running south east from the main line junction with the Oxford Canal , along the two sides of the larger reservoir and back to the main line, passing under Nibbets Lane. It seems to have been constructed in two parts, the first from the Oxford Canal Junction to the warehouse in Nibbets Lane and was presumably carried out at the same time as the reservoirs, some time after 1806. ( possibly 1834)

 

The second part forming a loop, was constructed about ten years later.

 

The branch must have been built mainly to spite the Oxford Canal Co. for boats would seemingly have to enter it from that waterway rather from the Grand Junction. Its alignment suggests that it was entered by boats coming from the north, and its inset would seem to secure south bound transhipment traffic so that the Grand Junction obtained some benefit from it even if it had passed no further over their property. The Branch was built on Grand Junction land right up to the boundary with the Oxford Company, which meant the junction between the two canals had to be widened considerably."

 

The branch canal had its demise some time before 1922.

 

Incidentally the reservoirs were built to keep G.J. Co. water away from the Oxford. The water being pumped back up to the tunnel pound.

 

 

There's quite a deal of speculation there, all due respect to Blaggers, especially the dates. But plenty of food for thought.

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16 hours ago, Ray T said:

 

Which is why if you have ever tried to moor at this spot you hit "something."

Braunston Bridge.jpg

Thanks Chap!

About where Belmont was tied up in the 60s

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23 hours ago, john6767 said:

Been there done that.  There is even a mooring ring temptingly placed there.  You can get a bit closer to the bridge than the boat in the image, but not much.

I've done that, as well.

File0106.jpg

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24 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Interesting that that map claims the canal past the Stop House is still part of the Hrand Junction.

Yes ... if you zoom out to the whole OS sheet (in the link Pennine posted), the Oxford Canal is not named at all, so it's difficult to know what this means.

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30 minutes ago, Richard Carter said:

Thanks - didn't know this amazing resource. I'll be staring at this all night if I'm not careful ...

 

30 minutes ago, Richard Carter said:

Thanks - didn't know this amazing resource. I'll be staring at this all night if I'm not careful ...

I find this one more fun as you can fade between old and new.

https://www.archiuk.com/cgi-bin/build_nls_historic_map.pl?map_location= Braunston Northamptonshire&search_location=Braunston, Northamptonshire, SP5466, SP 54 66&os_series=1&is_sub=&pwd=freesearch@freesearch.com&latitude=52.289489&longitude=-1.209729&postcode=

Edited by ditchcrawler
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1 minute ago, ditchcrawler said:

 

I find this one more fun as you can fade between old and new. Sorry its Lowestoft selected but you can move anywhere
 http://www.archiuk.com/cgi-bin/build_nls_historic_map.pl?search_location=%2C+Lowestoft%2C+Suffolk&latitude=52.475769&longitude=1.738818

How am I going to get to bed now? You do know it's an hour later where I am?

 

I can see I'll be spending a lot of time with this, thanks!

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14 minutes ago, Richard Carter said:

if you zoom out to the whole OS sheet...

The original route can just be seen in the loop in the lower left corner. If you look at the next map to the south, you can easily follow the original route, which eventualy rejoins at the south-west end of the cutting.

Edited by Pennine
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4 minutes ago, Pennine said:

The original route can just be seen in the loop in the lower left corner. If you look at the next map to the south, you can easily follow the original route, which eventualy rejoins at the south-west end of the cutting.

The old loops from the 1830s straightening are familiar, it's the detail of the reservoirs and the remains of the Braunston Branch Canal which have really caught my eye.

 

And to come back to David Mack's point, the OS map in the archiuk site linked by ditchcrawler (1913?) also indicates "Grand Junction Canal" all the way to Braunston turn, with "Oxford Canal" marked along the puddle bank and just around the present junction to the "North Oxford"

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10 hours ago, Richard Carter said:

How am I going to get to bed now? You do know it's an hour later where I am?

 

I can see I'll be spending a lot of time with this, thanks!

You need to visit the Austrian National Archives to look at AVA PKF PS1 1766, and several other items around this number. The one quoted is a detailed drawing of narrow boat construction done by Austrian visitors to England in 1795. One of them, Sebastian Maillard, then designed the Weiner Neustadt Kanal, for which there is a good exhibition in the museum at Traiskirchen. I helped with their research for the recent new display, illustrated below. I hope you have visited the lock, weir and bridge at Nussdorf built by Schemerl, who completed the canal started by Maillard. The two Heurigers in Nussdorf are favourites of mine.

Traiskirchen Museum, Austria.jpg

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10 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

The NLS allows fading between old and new - and a wide variety of old maps from many inches to the mile and 1:1000000

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37 minutes ago, Pluto said:

You need to visit the Austrian National Archives to look at AVA PKF PS1 1766, and several other items around this number. The one quoted is a detailed drawing of narrow boat construction done by Austrian visitors to England in 1795. One of them, Sebastian Maillard, then designed the Weiner Neustadt Kanal, for which there is a good exhibition in the museum at Traiskirchen. I helped with their research for the recent new display, illustrated below. I hope you have visited the lock, weir and bridge at Nussdorf built by Schemerl, who completed the canal started by Maillard. The two Heurigers in Nussdorf are favourites of mine.

 

Thanks for this, will look into it - I routinely cycle into Vienna along the Danube via Nußdorf, and also the other way, to the next full sized lock upstream at Greifenstein. Despite wanting to visit for years I've not got to the Wiener Neustadt canal yet - the towpath is cyclable, it would make a good day out, but it seems to be just that bit too far away, and on the opposite side of Vienna, or something like that. Must make more effort!

 

Sadly we are not great Heuriger customers, as traditionally they don't offer enough for non-drinking vegetarians ...

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