Kensington Canal

Canal in/near Chelsea, existed between 1828 and 1859

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Kensington Canal

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Remove markers
Canal · * · SW6 ·
MAY
4
2019

The Kensington Canal was a canal, about two miles long, opened in 1828 in London from the River Thames at Chelsea, along the line of Counter’s Creek, to a basin near Warwick Road in Kensington.

It had one lock near the Kensington Basin. It was not commercially successful, and was purchased by a railway company, which laid its line along the route of the canal.

Counter’s Creek was a minor tributary of the Thames running south from Kensal Green to join the main river west of Battersea Bridge.

Lord Kensington, William Edwardes, seeing the success of the Regent’s Canal, asked his surveyor William Cutbush in 1822 to draw up plans to convert the creek into a canal, with the object of bringing goods and minerals from the London docks to the Kensington area, then a rural district isolated from London.

After some modifications, Cutbush’s plan obtained Parliamentary sanction in 1824, and the Kensington Canal Company was incorporated in that year. William Edwardes and a group of his friends were the proprietors; the cost of construction had been estimated as £7,969. The share capital of the company was £10,000 in one hundred shares of £100 each, and they had powers to raise an additional £5,000 if necessary.

However this was a gross under-estimate, and John Rennie estimated that more than £34,000 would be needed to complete the work properly, including the rebuilding of Stamford Bridge. Rennie’s nominee, Thomas Hollinsworth, was brought in as surveyor to the Canal Company.
In May 1826 the Company obtained powers by another Act to raise a further £30,000.

Notwithstanding this quadrupling of the anticipated cost of construction, the proprietors still entertained the notion of extending the canal northward to connect with the Grand Junction Canal at Paddington, involving eleven locks, was still under consideration.

The successful tenderer appears to have been Robert Tuck, probably in partnership with John Dowley. Work started in the same year, but was delayed by the bankruptcy of the contractor, Robert Tuck, and it was not opened until 12 August 1828.

Traffic soon proved to be very limited, and in the mid-1830s Lord Holland described the canal as a total failure.

The River Thames is tidal at the point where the canal joined it, so the canal was also tidal up to the lock near Kensington. The tidal flow brought silt into the canal and the feed from Counter’s Creek was inadequate to clear it, so that problems were soon experienced with obstruction to the passage of vessels. More seriously, the times of day when vessels could navigate the canal were extremely short and constantly changing.

In the mid-1830s railways were being projected. Attention was given to gaining access for goods and minerals to and from the London docks, and proposals were developed for a railway branch to the canal; trans-shipping there to or from river lighters would give the desired connection.

A railway company was floated, called the Bristol, Birmingham and Thames Junction Railway, and when it was incorporated in 1836 it purchased the canal. The purchase price was £36 000, of which £10 000 was to be paid in cash and the remainder in shares in the new company.

The grandiose name of the railway was altered to the West London Railway, and it built a short railway line from Willesden, joining with the main line railways there, to the canal basin. The railway line was leased to the London and Birmingham Railway in 1846, but it continued to own the canal; the Kensington Canal Company was wound up in the same year.

The railway and canal combination was utterly unsuccessful, and the hoped-for traffic never appeared. The main line railways—the Great Western and the London and North Western Railway (as successor to the London and Birmingham Railway) -- needed a rail connection to lines south of the Thames, and in 1859 an authorising Act of Parliament gave authority to a joint venture of several railway companies to extend the railway south from Kensington, converting the canal to a railway. At the southern end the railway diverged a little to the west of the canal, and crossed the Thames on a large bridge. This left a short stub of the original waterway in existence, from the Thames almost to Stamford Bridge: it served flour mills and the Imperial Gas Works, until traffic ceased in 1967.

Construction of the railway built over the remainder of the canal, and the later railway developments in Earls Court completely obliterated the canal.

Its original course can best be understood by considering the route of the present day West London Line from the Thames to Kensington High Street.


Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


Map of the Kensington Canal area.

Map of the Kensington Canal area.
John Greenwood

NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
Fulham Broadway Fulham Broadway station is notable as the nearest station to Stamford Bridge stadium, the home of Chelsea Football Club. The London Oratory School is also nearby.
Kensington Canal The Kensington Canal was a canal, about two miles long, opened in 1828 in London from the River Thames at Chelsea, along the line of Counter’s Creek, to a basin near Warwick Road in Kensington.

NEARBY STREETS
Adrian Mews, SW10 Adrian Mews is a small mews off of Ifield Road.
Argon Mews, SW6 Argon Mews is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Barclay Road, SW6 Barclay Road runs from Fulham Road to the rails of the District Line.
Billing Road, SW10 Billing Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Billing Street, SW10 Billing Street is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Bridges Place, SW6 Bridges Place is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Brompton Park Crescent, SW6 Brompton Park Crescent is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Cathcart Road, SW10 Cathcart Road is a road in the SW10 postcode area
Cedarne Road, SW6 Cedarne Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Dan Leno Walk, SW6 Dan Leno Walk is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Edith Terrace, SW10 Edith Terrace is a road in the SW10 postcode area
Edith Yard Edith Grove, SW10 Edith Yard Edith Grove is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Effie Place, SW6 Effie Place is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Effie Road, SW6 Effie Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Esher House, SW10 Residential block
Farm Lane, SW6 Farm Lane is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Farrier Walk, SW10 Farrier Walk is a road in the SW10 postcode area
Fawcett Street, SW10 Fawcett Street is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Fernshaw Close, SW10 Fernshaw Close is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Fernshaw Road, SW10 Fernshaw Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Finborough Road, SW10 Finborough Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Fulham Broadway, SW6 Fulham Broadway is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Gunter Grove, SW10 Gunter Grove is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Hilary Close, SW6 Hilary Close is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Hildyard Road, SW6 Hildyard Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Hollywood Mews, SW10 Hollywood Mews is a road in the SW10 postcode area
Hollywood Road, SW10 Hollywood Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Holmead Road, SW6 Holmead Road is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Hortensia Road, SW10 Hortensia Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Ifield Road, SW10 Ifield Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Jerdan Place, SW6 Jerdan Place is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
King Edward Buildings, SW6 King Edward Buildings is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Lillie Yard, SW6 Sir John Scott Lillie laid out the yard on his estate in 1826.
London House, SW10 Residential block
Maxwell Road, SW6 Maxwell Road is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Maynard Close, SW6 Maynard Close is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Micklethwaite Road, SW6 Micklethwaite Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Moore Park Road, SW6 Moore Park Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Munro Terrace, SW10 Munro Terrace is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Ongar Road, SW6 Ongar Road is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Plaza, SW10 Plaza is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Redcliffe Gardens, SW10 Redcliffe Gardens began life as Walnut Tree Walk, a pathway running through nurseries and market gardens.
Redcliffe Place, SW10 Redcliffe Place is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Redcliffe Street, SW10 Redcliffe Street is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Rickett Street, SW6 Rickett Street is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Roxby Place, SW6 Roxby Place is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Rumbold Road, SW6 Rumbold Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Seagrave Road, SW6 Seagrave Road is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Seymour Walk, SW10 Seymour Walk was almost entirely built between the 1790s-1820s in an area then known as Little Chelsea.
St Lukes Church Hall, SW10 St Lukes Church Hall is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Stamford Gate, SW6 Stamford Gate is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Tamworth Street, SW6 Tamworth Street is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Tetcott Road, SW10 Tetcott Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
The Plaza, SW10 The Plaza is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Thorndike Close, SW10 Thorndike Close is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Upcerne Road, SW10 Upcerne Road is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.
Vanston Place, SW6 Vanston Place is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Walham Green Court, SW6 Walham Green Court is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Walham Grove, SW6 Walham Grove is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Wandon Road, SW6 Wandon Road is a road in the SW6 postcode area
Wansdown Place, SW6 Wansdown Place is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Wardens Square, SW6 Wardens Square is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area.
Westgate Terrace, SW10 Westgate Terrace is a road in the SW10 postcode area
Whistler Walk, SW10 Whistler Walk is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area.


Chelsea

Chelsea is an affluent area, bounded to the south by the River Thames.

Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square tube station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street, including Sloane Square, along with parts of Belgravia. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge and South Kensington, but it is safe to say that the area north of King’s Road as far northwest as Fulham Road is part of Chelsea.

The word Chelsea originates from the Old English term for chalk and landing place on the river. The first record of the Manor of Chelsea precedes the Domesday Book and records the fact that Thurstan, governor of the King’s Palace during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042–1066), gave the land to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster. Abbot Gervace subsequently assigned the manor to his mother, and it passed into private ownership. The modern-day Chelsea hosted the Synod of Chelsea in 787 AD.

Chelsea once had a reputation for the manufacture of Chelsea buns (made from a long strip of sweet dough tightly coiled, with currants trapped between the layers, and topped with sugar).

King Henry VIII acquired the manor of Chelsea from Lord Sandys in 1536; Chelsea Manor Street is still extant. Two of King Henry’s wives, Catherine Parr and Anne of Cleves, lived in the Manor House; Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth I – resided there; and Thomas More lived more or less next door at Beaufort House. In 1609 James I established a theological college on the site of the future Chelsea Royal Hospital, which Charles II founded in 1682.

By 1694, Chelsea – always a popular location for the wealthy, and once described as ’a village of palaces’ – had a population of 3000. Even so, Chelsea remained rural and served London to the east as a market garden, a trade that continued until the 19th-century development boom which caused the final absorption of the district into the metropolis.

Chelsea shone, brightly but briefly, in the 1960s Swinging London period and the early 1970s. The Swinging Sixties was defined on King’s Road, which runs the length of the area. The Western end of Chelsea featured boutiques Granny Takes a Trip and The Sweet Shop, the latter of which sold medieval silk velvet caftans, tabards and floor cushions, with many of the cultural cognoscenti of the time being customers, including Keith Richards, Twiggy and many others.

The exclusivity of Chelsea as a result of its high property prices has historically resulted in the term Sloane Ranger to be used to describe its residents. From 2011, Channel 4 broadcast a reality television show called Made in Chelsea, documenting the ’glitzy’ lives of several young people living in Chelsea. Moreover, Chelsea is home to one of the largest communities of Americans living outside of the United States, with 6.53% of Chelsea-residents being born in the United States.


LOCAL PHOTOS
Sands End
TUM image id: 1183
Gloucester Road, 1866
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Earl's Court Farm (1867)
TUM image id: 2431
Perrymead Street, SW6
TUM image id: 1466600332
Abingdon Arms Pub, Abingdon Road.
TUM image id: 1489943648
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