Kensington Canal

Canal in/near Chelsea, existed between 1828 and 1859

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Canal · Chelsea · 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.

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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.


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


Admin   
Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:17 GMT   

TV comes to Olympia
Over 7000 people queued to see the first high definition television pictures on sets at the Olympia Radio Show. The pictures were transmitted by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, introduced by Leslie Mitchell, their first announcer.

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Born here
Joyce Taylor   
Added: 5 Apr 2021 21:05 GMT   

Lavender Road, SW11
MyFather and Grand father lived at 100 Lavender Road many years .I was born here.

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Lived here
Former Philbeach Gardens Resident   
Added: 14 Jul 2021 00:44 GMT   

Philbeach Gardens Resident (Al Stewart)
Al Stewart, who had huts in the 70s with the sings ’Year of the Cat’ and ’On The Borders’, lived in Philbeach Gdns for a while and referenced Earl’s Court in a couple of his songs.
I lived in Philbeach Gardens from a child until my late teens. For a few years, on one evening in the midst of Summer, you could hear Al Stewart songs ringing out across Philbeach Gardens, particularly from his album ’Time Passages". I don’t think Al was living there at the time but perhaps he came back to see some pals. Or perhaps the broadcasters were just his fans,like me.
Either way, it was a wonderful treat to hear!

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT


Lynette beardwood   
Added: 29 Nov 2022 20:53 GMT   

Spy’s Club
Topham’s Hotel at 24-28 Ebury Street was called the Ebury Court Hotel. Its first proprietor was a Mrs Topham. In WW2 it was a favourite watering hole for the various intelligence organisations based in the Pimlico area. The first woman infiltrated into France in 1942, FANY Yvonne Rudellat, was recruited by the Special Operations Executive while working there. She died in Bergen Belsen in April 1945.

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Born here
   
Added: 16 Nov 2022 12:39 GMT   

The Pearce family lived in Gardnor Road
The Pearce family moved into Gardnor Road around 1900 after living in Fairfax walk, my Great grandfather, wife and there children are recorded living in number 4 Gardnor road in the 1911 census, yet I have been told my grand father was born in number 4 in 1902, generations of the Pearce continue living in number 4 as well other houses in the road up until the 1980’s

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Born here
   
Added: 16 Nov 2022 12:38 GMT   

The Pearce family lived in Gardnor Road
The Pearce family moved into Gardnor Road around 1900 after living in Fairfax walk, my Great grandfather, wife and there children are recorded living in number 4 Gardnor road in the 1911 census, yet I have been told my grand father was born in number 4 in 1902, generations of the Pearce continue living in number 4 as well other houses in the road up until the 1980’s

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Lived here
Phil Stubbington   
Added: 14 Nov 2022 16:28 GMT   

Numbers 60 to 70 (1901 - 1939)
A builder, Robert Maeers (1842-1919), applied to build six houses on plots 134 to 139 on the Lincoln House Estate on 5 October 1901. He received approval on 8 October 1901. These would become numbers 60 to 70 Rodenhurst Road (60 is plot 139). Robert Maeers was born in Northleigh, Devon. In 1901 he was living in 118 Elms Road with his wife Georgina, nee Bagwell. They had four children, Allan, Edwin, Alice, and Harriet, born between 1863 and 1873.
Alice Maeers was married to John Rawlins. Harriet Maeers was married to William Street.
Three of the six houses first appear on the electoral register in 1904:
Daniel Mescal “Ferncroft”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By the 1905 electoral register all six are occupied:

Daniel Mescal “St Senans”
Henry Robert Honeywood “Grasmere”
John Rawlins “Iveydene”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Walter Ernest Manning “St Hilda”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By 1906 house numbers replace names:

Daniel Mescal 70
Henry Robert Honeywood 68
John Rawlins 66
William Francis Street 64
Walter Ernest Manning 62
Henry Elkin 60

It’s not clear whether number 70 changed from “Ferncroft” to “St Senans” or possibly Daniel Mescal moved houses.

In any event, it can be seen that Robert Maeers’ two daughters are living in numbers 64 and 66, with, according to local information, an interconnecting door. In the 1911 census William Street is shown as a banker’s clerk. John Rawlins is a chartering clerk in shipping. Robert Maeers and his wife are also living at this address, Robert being shown as a retired builder.

By 1939 all the houses are in different ownership except number 60, where the Elkins are still in residence.


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stephen garraway   
Added: 13 Nov 2022 13:56 GMT   

Martin Street, Latimer Road
I was born at St Charlottes and lived at 14, Martin Street, Latimer Road W10 until I was 4 years old when we moved to the east end. It was my Nan Grant’s House and she was the widow of George Frederick Grant. She had two sons, George and Frederick, and one daughter, my mother Margaret Patricia.
The downstairs flat where we lived had two floors, the basement and the ground floor. The upper two floors were rented to a Scot and his family, the Smiths. He had red hair. The lights and cooker were gas and there was one cold tap over a Belfast sink. A tin bath hung on the wall. The toilet was outside in the yard. This was concreted over and faced the the rear of the opposite terraces. All the yards were segregated by high brick walls. The basement had the a "best" room with a large , dark fireplace with two painted metal Alsation ornaments and it was very dark, cold and little used.
The street lights were gas and a man came round twice daily to turn them on and off using a large pole with a hook and a lighted torch on the end. I remember men coming round the streets with carts selling hot chestnuts and muffins and also the hurdy gurdy man with his instrument and a monkey in a red jacket. I also remember the first time I saw a black man and my mother pulling me away from him. He had a Trilby and pale Mackintosh so he must of been one of the first of the Windrush people. I seem to recall he had a thin moustache.
Uncle George had a small delivery lorry but mum lost touch with him and his family. Uncle Fred went to Peabody Buildings near ST.Pauls.
My Nan was moved to a maisonette in White City around 1966, and couldn’t cope with electric lights, cookers and heating and she lost all of her neighbourhood friends. Within six months she had extreme dementia and died in a horrible ward in Tooting Bec hospital a year or so later. An awful way to end her life, being moved out of her lifelong neighbourhood even though it was slums.

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Comment
   
Added: 31 Oct 2022 18:47 GMT   

Memories
I lived at 7 Conder Street in a prefab from roughly 1965 to 1971 approx - happy memories- sad to see it is no more ?

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Eve Glover   
Added: 22 Oct 2022 09:28 GMT   

Shenley Road
Shenley Road is the main street in Borehamwood where the Job Centre and Blue Arrow were located

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Comment
Richard Lake   
Added: 28 Sep 2022 09:37 GMT   

Trade Union Official
John William Lake snr moved with his family to 22 De Laune Street in 1936. He was the London Branch Secretary for the Street Masons, Paviours and Road Makers Union. He had previously lived in Orange St now Copperfield St Southwark but had been forced to move because the landlord didn’t like him working from home and said it broke his lease.
John William snr died in 1940. His son John William Lake jnr also became a stone mason and at the end of World War two he was responsible for the engraving of the dates of WW2 onto the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

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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.

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NEARBY PUBS


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We now have 521 completed street histories and 46979 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS


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
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Perrymead Street, SW6
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Walham Green station platform (1939)
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Earl’s Court, District Line
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In the neighbourhood...

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Early 20th century view looking south towards the railway.
Credit: London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
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Walham Green Station (1907) This later became Fulham Broadway station.
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Walham Green station platform (1939)
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