Regent's Canal

From Academic Kids

The Regent's Canal is a canal across an area just to the north of central London. It provides a link from the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal, just north-west of Paddington Basin, in the west, to the Limehouse Basin and the River Thames in east London.



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Hampstead Road Lock at Camden in Winter

First proposed by Thomas Homer in 1802 as a link from the Paddington arm of the then Grand Junction Canal (opened in 1801) with the River Thames at Limehouse, it was built during the early 19th century after an Act of Parliament was passed in 1812. Noted architect and town planner John Nash was a director of the company; in 1811 he had produced a masterplan for the Prince Regent to redevelop a large area of central north London – as a result, the Regent’s Canal was included in the scheme, running for part of its distance along the northern edge of Regent's Park.

As with many Nash projects, the detailed design was passed to one of his assistants, in this case James Morgan – appointed chief engineer of the canal company. Work began on 14 October 1812. The first section, Paddington to Camden Town, opened in 1816 and included a 251m long tunnel under Maida Hill east of an area now known as 'Little Venice' (a name devised by Robert Browning) and a much shorter tunnel, just 48m long, under Lisson Grove. The Camden to Limehouse section, including the 886m long Islington tunnel and the Regent's Canal Dock (used to transfer cargo from sea-faring vessels to canal barges – today known as Limehouse Basin), opened four years later on 1 August 1820. Various intermediate basins were also constructed (eg: Cumberland Basin to the east Regent's Park, Battlebridge Basin (close to London's King's Cross station) and City Road Basin). Many other basins such as Wenlock Basin, Kingsland Basin, St. Pancras Stone and Coal Basin, and the basin in front of the Great Northern Railway's Granary were also built, and some of these survive.

In 1929 the companies of the Regent's Canal, the Grand Junction Canal, and the Warwick Canals merged to become the Grand Union Canal Company. It was nationalised in 1948. By this time, the canal's importance for commercial traffic was dwindling, and by the 1960s commercial vessels had almost ceased to operate – railway and road transport taking over.


The Regent's Canal forms a junction with the old Grand Junction Canal at Little Venice, a short distance north of Paddington Basin. After passing through the Maida Hill and Lisson Grove tunnels, the canal curves round the northern edge of Regent's Park then through Camden Town. Continuing eastwards beyond the Islington tunnel, it meets the Hertford Union Canal by Victoria Park after which it turns south towards the Limehouse Basin, where today it also meets the Limehouse Cut.

See Also

Further reading

  • Alan Faulkner - The Regent's Canal: London's Hidden Waterway (2005) ISBN 1870002598

External Links


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