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Hertford Union Canal


Records of the Hertford Union Canal: plans 1824-1857.



Reference code


Administrative /​ Biographical history

The Hertford Union Canal was also known as Lee Union or Sir George Duckett's Canal. Duckett was the owner of the Stort Navigation that flowed into the Lee Navigation near Hoddesdon. He obtained an Act in 1824 for a canal between Old Ford on the Regent's Canal and the River Lee. The Exchequer Bill Loan Commissioners agreed to loan him money. Francis Giles was employed as engineer. The three-lock, 1 ¼ mile canal was opened in autumn or winter 1830. Traders were dissuaded from using it because the combined tolls charged by Sir George Duckett and the Regent's Canal were greater than if traffic continued down the River Lee. From 1835, Duckett contacted Regent's Canal to request co-operation in reducing the costs to traders but was initially rejected. Eventually they did reduce tolls in 1840 and traffic was temporarily boosted. Gradually, though, traffic dwindled to nearly nothing. The Hertford Union Canal closed in 1848 and was put up for sale three years later. After several years pondering, the Regent's Canal company sought an Act to take it over in 1855, completed the purchased in October 1857 and reopened it. For further information on the Hertford Union Canal see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations' and Charles Hadfield's 'The Canals of the East Midlands'.

System of arrangement

It has not been possible to ascertain any original structure of record-keeping from the small number of records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged in chronological order.

Associated material

[See also BW100 for records of the Hertford Union Canal during other periods of ownership]