The Grand Union Canal was created early in the 1930s by the amalgamation of several existing canals. The section from London the Braunston was already wide beam. In the 1930s, the narrow beam section from Braunston to Birmingham was widened & deepened to create a broad guage canal capable of taking 70 tonne barges. However, because of onward deliveries on to the narrow Birmingham Canal Navigation, paired narrow boats became the normal operating mode.
Today’s legacy is an attractive and heavily used leisure canal. This programme covers the journey from one of the hubs of the canal network at Braunstion, through pleasant open countryside before passing through Royal Leamington Spa & skirting around Warwick. It ends up in the heart of Britain’s second city in Birmingham.
The penultimate few miles are little changed from when the commercial carriers abandoned the network in the 1960s. Then right at the end, we emerge onto the world stage in one of the most ambitious and successful urban regeneration schemes of modern times – Gas Street Basin and the water heart of modern Birmingham.