Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
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Waterways of London

Navigable Rivers and Canals within London

City Road Lock No 5 on the Grand Union Regents Canal.

Croydon Canal

Waterway's place in London :

A canal that was entirely in the area that is now London, although in the past parts of it were in Surrey.

Waterway Description:

Ran 9.25 miles from Croydon, down 28 locks, to join the Grand Surrey Canal at New Cross.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1801, opened in 1809 and closed in 1836, although part of it now forms a boating lake in Croydon.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Dartford & Crayford Navigation

Waterway's place in London :

A navigation that forms the boundary between London and Kent.

Waterway Description:

Two and three-quarter navigable miles of the Kentish rivers Darenth and Cray. Tidal below Dartford Lock.

History:

Promoted by Act of 1840, completed in 1844.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Junction Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The canal runs through Nothamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and London.

Waterway Description:

The original canal from Braunston to Brentford, plus branches, that now forms part of the G.U. main line.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1812, 1818 and 1819, opened in 1805, became part of the Grand Union on 1 January 1929.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Surrey Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The course of the canal is now in London.

Waterway Description:

Was authorised to run from the Thames at Rotherhithe with a branch to Peckham but only 3 miles and 1 furlong to Camberwell was built plus a 5 furlong branch to Peckham.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1801 and opened in 1810. Closed in 1971 and later filled in.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Surrey Dock, Canal & Junction Railway project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposed canal entirely within London.

Waterway Description:

Proposal to extend the Grand Surrey Canal to the Thames at Deptford and Vauxhall providing a route through London 2.5 miles shorter than by river as well as providing local trade and wharfage. A railway on the canal's north bank would connect with the London & Southampton's line at Vauxhall and would have a branch to the Elephant & Castle.

History:

A scheme suggested by Henry H Price in August 1835 and was supported by the directors and shareholders of the Grand Surrey Canal which resulted in a prospectus being published but the response was not positive and the idea got no further.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Main Line

Waterway's place in London :

The canal enters London from Hertfordshire just south of Stockers Lock No 82 and except for a brief excursion into Buckinghamshire, between Denham and Uxbridge, it continues in London to its terminus at Brentford, where it joins the River Thames.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Salford Junction to the River Thames at Brentford.

History:

Formed from the Grand Junction Canal (Acts of 1793, 1794, 1795, 1798, 1801, 1803, 1805, 1812, 1818 and 1819); Warwick & Napton Canal (1794, 1796 & 1809); Warwick & Birmingham Canal (1793 & 1796); Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal .

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Paddington Branch

Waterway's place in London :

The whole of the canal is within London.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the GU main line at Bulls Bridge Junction to Paddington. At Little Venice, where it joins the Regent's Canal.

History:

Built under the Grand Junction Canal Act of 1795 but completed in 1801.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Regents Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The whole of the canal is within London.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the GU Paddington Branch at Little Venice to Limehouse basin (formerly Regent's Canal Dock) where it connects with the Thames and the River Lee.

History:

Regent Canal Company formed in 1812 and the canal opened in 1820.

Points of Interest:

Includes a length through London Zoo.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grand Union Slough Branch

Waterway's place in London :

From the start of the canal at Cowley Peachey Junction, where it connects with the Grand Union Main Line, to the River Colne Aqueduct, where it crosses into Buckinghamshire, the canal is in London.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the GU main line at Cowley Peachy Junction to Slough.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1879 and opened in 1882

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Grosvenor Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The whole canal is within London.

Waterway Description:

Less than half a mile of canal once operated by Westminster City Council for refuse collection barges.

History:

This water supply cut became a navigable canal in 1823. Used for refuse collection barges from 1866 and subject to major reconstruction in 1929. Refuse barges ceased using the canal in the late 1990s.

Points of Interest:

Beam 18 ft 6 ins: Length 90 ft: Draught 7 ft: One lock to Thames.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Hertford Union Canal (Grand Union)

Waterway's place in London :

The whole of the canal is within London.

Waterway Description:

A short canal (also called Duckett's Cut) which links the Regent's Canal with the River Lee.

History:

In 1824 Sir George Duckett obtained an Act of Parliament to build this canal, which was opened in 1830. The engineer was Francis Giles. Sold to the Regent's Canal Co. in 1857.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Isle of Dogs Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The whole of the canal was within London.

Waterway Description:

A half mile cut across the north end of the Isle of dogs, now part of the West India Dock.

History:

Authorised by the West India Dock Act of 1799, completed 1805 and became part of the docks in 1829.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Kensington Canal

Waterway's place in London :

This abandoned canal was entirely within London.

Waterway Description:

Ran for 1.75 miles from Olympia to the Thames at Chelsea, with a lock at the entrance to its terminal basin.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1824, opened in 1828, sold to the West London railway in 1839, filled in in 1859.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London & Birmingham Junction Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposal for a canal from Warwickshire to London.

Waterway Description:

Various plans for a canal link from the Stratford Canal to the Regents Canal. The 1836 route being 113 miles long. Never authorised or built.

History:

Started to be considered in 1827 and the last known discussions of the plan was in 1838.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London & Southampton Ports Junction Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

Proposals for a ship canal from London to Hampshire.

Waterway Description:

Never authorised or built.

History:

Two surveys of the line were made in 1796 one by Joseph Hill and the other by George Smith.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London & Western Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposed canal from Oxfordshire to London.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a canal from the Oxford Canal at Hampton Gay to Isleworth so that traffic could avoid the Thames. Also known as the Hampton Gay Canal.

History:

Proposed in 1792 and supported by both the Oxford and the Thames & Severn canal companies. Never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London - Portsmouth Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

Proposals for a canal from London to Hampshire.

Waterway Description:

Various plans for a canal linking London to Portsmouth. See also London to Portsmouth Ship Canal schemes and London & Southampton Ports Junction Canal project. Never authorised or built.

History:

In 1803 John Rennie propsed a 100 mile canal with 41 locks from the Croydon Canal to Portsmouth. In 1810 he revived and revised the scheme as the Grand Southern Canal from the Medway to Portsmouth.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London Canal Project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposal for a canal from Buckinghamshire to London.

Waterway Description:

A proposed a by-pass canal, for craft of 200 tons, from Monkey Island, below Maidenhead, to Isleworth.

History:

The route was surveyed in 1770 by Brindley but no Bill was ever put to parliament.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

London to Portsmouth Ship Canal schemes

Waterway's place in London :

Proposals for a canal from London to Hampshire.

Waterway Description:

Various proposals for a ship canal which was never built.

History:

From 1823 to 1828 the scheme was discussed but never got the financial backing it required.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Millwall Canal

Waterway's place in London :

The canal was entirely within London.

Waterway Description:

A second canal across the Isle of Dogs (after the Isle of Dogs Canal) but became the Millwall Dock.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1864.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Monkey Island - Isleworth canal project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposal for a canal from Buckinghamshire to London.

Waterway Description:

This was a proposal to build a canal from near Maidenhead to Isleworth to provide a route to bypass a stretch of the River Thames where navigation was difficult.

History:

The first scheme was proposed in 1770 and a similar one followed in 1792-4 neither was authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Old River Lee

Waterway's place in London :

The whole river is within London.

Waterway Description:

Runs 3 furlongs, from the main River Lee, through the Old Ford Tide Gates, to the junction with the Waterworks River.

History:

An ancient navigation first improved under an Act of Parliament in 1571

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Lee

Waterway's place in London :

From Enfield Lock No 13 the navigation enters London from Hertfordshire and Essex (the river forms the county boundary) and runs 12 miles to the end of the navigation.

Waterway Description:

The River runs over 27 miles from Hertford to Limehouse Basin, where it joins the Thames. There are a number of tributaries and connecting waterways.

History:

Promoted under Acts of 1424, 1430, 1571, 1739, 1767,1779, 1805 and 1850.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Lee - Bow Creek

Waterway's place in London :

The whole river is within London.

Waterway Description:

This tidal navigation runs two and a quarter miles from the River Lee to the River Thames.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Roding

Waterway's place in London :

The whole navigation is within London.

Waterway Description:

This 1.75 mile creek runs from Ilford Bridge to the Thames.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1737 and opened in 1764.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Thames

Waterway's place in London :

Between Molesey Reserviors and Thames Ditton the river forms the boundary between London on the north bank and Surrey on the south. After this point the river is entirely in London until Dartford Creek on the south bank, which marks the boundary of London and Kent. Almost opposite on the north bank is the boundary of London and Essex.

Waterway Description:

The navigation runs 211 miles from Cricklade Bridge to the Open Sea. The first 135 miles, above Teddington, are non-tidal

History:

The river has been used as a navigation from prehistoric times. Numerous Acts of Parliament have been passed relating to the river from as far back as 1423 and by the height of 'canal mania' in 1793 the river had already been the subject of 23 Acts.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Romford Canal

Waterway's place in London :

A London canal that was never completed.

Waterway Description:

A scheme to build a canal from Romford to the Thames near the River Beam outfall.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1875, work started on a lock and a tunnel under the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway line. Work stopped in 1877,

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wandsworth - Croydon Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposed London canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a canal from Wandsworth to Croydon which seems not to have got any further than the survey stage.

History:

In the late 1790s the route was surveyed by both John Rennie and William Jessop. It was considered impracticable because the only available water source, the River Wandle, was already heavily used by mills.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Wimbledon & Wandsworth Canal project

Waterway's place in London :

A proposed London canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposed 2 mile and 3 furlong canal with 2 locks. Never authorised or built.

History:

Plans were produced in 1865 and the cost was estimated at 53,000. A Bill was put before parliament but failed in March 1866. The scheme was revived in 1867 but got no further.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List