The History of the

Grand Junction Canal

(now the Grand Union Canal)


Men at Work


The Grand Junction Canal, and its branches to Wendover and Aylesbury, playd a significant role in the development of the towns and villages through which it ran. In addition much of the relevant industrial archaeology is still visible. However early post cards and other pictures are hard to come by it is impossible to illustrate many of the historically interesting features with 100+ year old pictures.

On the other hand in recent years I have spent much time relaxing by walking the canal  (initially with Franci). recording the surviving features photographically. Selected pictures have already been posted on Geograph to form a connected record with many more waiting to be posted. Some of these pictures will be available as high resolution images, and will link to other views of the same feature, often with added historical notes.

I have decided the best way forward is to continue to post modern photographs on Geograph but include feature lists for various lengths of the canal on this web site - starting with the locks and bridges. Once I have covered the basic framework I can then link old pictures to the relevant key features, and include special pages on specific aspects of the history of the canal system and the associated reservoirs.

You may start the exploration on Geograph here.

The following feature lists have so far been added to this site in outline form

The Aylesbury Arm

The Grand Junction Canal was constructed between London and Birmingham, reaching Tring (the highest point as it crosses the Chilterns) in 1800. Within Hertfordshire it passes through Rickmansworth, Watford, Hunton Bridge, Kings Langley, Apsley, Boxmoor, Bourne End, Berkhamsted and Tring.

Some General Sources relating to the Canal in Hertfordshire

Book: The Grand Junction Canal (1972)

Book: The Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire

Book: The Canal: Tring-Rickmansworth in Camera

Book: A Hertfordshire Valley - includes many pictures and historical information

Book: Canal Memories through Dacorum.

Book: A Walk along the Canal Towpath from Kings Langley to Winkwell

Book: The Waterway comes to Tring

Web Book: The Grand Junction Canal (2013)

Book: Hertfordshire's Historic Inland Waterway

Book: A Brief History of the Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire. Brief text booklet, published in 1990s and available at HALS, which adds little to the above - but is a good starting point.

There are also many recently published books, guides and leaflets aimed at people who visit the canals on foot or by barge.

Start at Tring Summit

Proceed to the Cow Roast and Berkhamsted

Winkwell & Boxmoor

Apsley to Abbots Langley

The Canal at Watford

The Canal near Rickmansworth

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

February 2008   Page updated
August 2017   Additional book listed