Company of Proprietors of the Warwick and Napton Canal Navigation
Records of the Company of Proprietors of the Warwick and Napton Canal Navigation: legal records 1793-1907, administrative records 1834-1837, tolls and traffic 1827-1904, plans of the canal which include general plans 1793-1923, plans of the canal through lands belonging to other people and lands taken by the company mid 19th-early 20th century, plans detailing canal and land ownership 1900-1931, plans showing canal maintenance work late 19th-early 20th century, London and North Western Railway: Daventry and Leamington Railway 1890-1895, footbridges mid 19th century-1906.
These records are available immediately for research
The Warwick and Braunston Canal was conceived along with the Warwick and Birmingham Canal as a new route from Birmingham to the Grand Junction Canal. It was surveyed by William Felkin, engineer and Samuel Bull, surveyor both of whom worked for the Warwick and Birmingham Canal company. An Act was passed in 1794 authorising a canal from Warwick to Braunston and in 1796 an Act was authorised shortening the canal to end at Napton, the canal becoming known as the Warwick and Napton. The canal was completed in 1799, being 14 ½ miles in length with 3 aqueducts and 25 locks. From the beginning, the canal had problems with much of its water supply being unreliable, coming from the Oxford Canal. A reservoir was built at Napton in 1800 and another at Stockton in 1807, and the Napton reservoir was added to in 1814. The company also financed Boddington Reservoir for the Oxford Canal, which was extended in 1833 and which feeds into Napton Reservoir and the Napton to Hillmorton pound and thus the Warwick and Napton Canal. The latter part of the history of the Warwick and Napton Canal is very similar to that of the Warwick and Birmingham Canal. The new Tame Valley Canal, opened in 1844, would divert traffic away from the Warwick and Birmingham Canal. To avoid this, the Warwick and Birmingham Canal company proposed the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal, which also opened in 1844. The Warwick and Birmingham Canal, who also financed and staffed it in conjunction with the Warwick and Napton Canal company, managed the new canal. Carriers on the canal included Pickfords, the Grand Junction Carrying Company and Fellows Morton & Clayton. The most important traffic on the canal was from the lime and cement industries based around Stockton, where there were valuable deposits of blue lias limestone. The largest lime and cement companies owned fleets of narrow boats, which traded from the Stockton area to London, Oxford and Birmingham. The trade finally ended in March 1969 when the British Waterways boats Banstead and Tow delivered the last load to Birmingham. In 1895 both the Warwick and Napton and the Warwick and Birmingham canal companies agreed to amalgamate with the Grand Junction Canal, although nothing came of it. In 1917 both canals and the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal came under a Joint Committee of Management. This situation remained until their eventual purchase by the Regent's Canal and Dock Company in 1927. In 1929 they became part of the Grand Union Canal Company. For further information on the Warwick and Napton Canal see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations' and Alan Falkner's 'The Warwick Canals'.
It has not been possible to ascertain the complete original structure of record-keeping from the records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged into series by subject. The company's legal records have been placed first, followed by administrative records, then tolls and traffic. These are followed by plans of the canal which are divided into four subseries: general plans, plans of the canal through lands belonging to other people and lands taken by the company, plans detailing canal and land ownership, and plans showing canal maintenance work. This series is followed by London and North Western Railway: Daventry and Leamington Railway. At the end of the collection are footbridges. Each series has generally been arranged chronologically while keeping records relating to each other together. This means that some records may fall slightly out of the chronological sequence.
[See also: BW103 and BW58 for records of the Warwick and Napton Canal during other periods of ownership]