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Regent's Canal
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London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road King's Cross
London N1 9RT
United Kingdom

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Regent's Canal

The Regent's Canall extends across the area just north of central London. It is 8.5 miles or 13 kilometers long. The Regent's Canal was first proposed by Thomas Homer in 1802, to connect the Grand Junction Canal at Paddington with the River Thames at Limehouse.

In the Regent's Canal Act of 1812, a company, led by a group of men including the architect John Nash, social reformer Sir Thomas Bernard, and the military historian Col. John Drinkwater set to build the canal. James Morgan was appointed as Engineer. It was opened in two stages: from Paddington to Camden in 1816, and the rest in 1820. The Regent's Canal faced numerous financial setbacks, including William Congreve's failed attempt at hydropneumatic locks and embezzlement by the very same Thomas Homer. The latter suffered a penalty of transportation to Australia.

By the 1840s, the railways had begun to eat into some of the canal's business but it continued to be busy for the rest of the century. In 1929 the Regent's Canal Company, the Grand Junction Canal Company and the Warwick Canals merged into one and formed the most famous name of all: The Grand Union Canal Company.

During World War II, The Regent's Canal was busy. The railways were under stress due to bombing and the canals were hard at work. Special stop gates were installed that would, in the event of a breach of the canal by bombing, have limited the damage to the main railway out of King's Cross, which runs in a tunnel beneath the waterway.

After the second world war the growth of road transport further eroded the traffic carried on England's canals. The Regent's Canal evolved into a corridor of leisure including passenger pleasure boats that plied between Little Venice near Paddington, and Camden.

Did you know?
There were many failed attempts to convert The Regent's Canal into a railway in the mid 19th century!

The Regent's Canal is named after The Prince Regent, later King George IV, who was friend of the canal's Director John Nash.

The last horse drawn commercial traffic on The Regent's Canal was carried in 1956.

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