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Kensington Canal Navigation Company


Records of the Kensington Canal Navigation Company: share certificate 1824.



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Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

Barges had used Counters Creek in London for many years before in 1822 plans were prepared to widen and deepen the creek from Fulham on the River Thames to Counters Bridge on the Hammersmith Road. An Act for the work was obtained on 28 May 1824 and the Kensington Canal Navigation Company was set up. Following a new Act to widen the canal in 1828, and under the supervision of John Rennie and his surveyor Thomas Hollinsworth, it opened in August 1828. It was 1.75 miles long with one lock at its entrance into the River Thames. In 1836 the canals shareholders proposed the Birmingham, Bristol and Thames Junction Railway to link the canal to the London and Birmingham Railway. The Act for the railway, which received Royal Assent in June 1836, made provision for the transfer of the canal to the railway company. The railway built its line from the north to the canal basin where traffic could be exchanged. The take-over of the canal took several years due to problems with legal wrangling and deterioration of the navigation due to accumulated mud. The railway company, now renamed the West London Railway, leased its line to the London and Birmingham Railway in 1846 leaving the West London Railway owning the canal. The original canal company was wound up in the same year. The West London Extension Railway Act received Royal Assent in August 1859. The Act allowed for the filling in of parts of the canal to lay railway track. The canal was handed over to the West London Extension Railway in 1859 who quickly filled it in as far as the Kings Road, Chelsea retaining a short section in water. For further information on Kensington Canal see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations'.

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.

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