A Burst Weir, 1914

All Canal Traffic held up.

Middlesex Independent, December 23 1914

Middlesex Independent, December 23 1914

Owing to the excess of wet, a tremendous volume of land water has been flowing down the Brent of late. This culminated in the Weir near Col. Clitherow’s property bursting on Sunday afternoon.

It was about two o’clock when a swift rush of water broke the weir down, the effect of which has been to empty the canal between the two sets of locks over a distance of about a mile.

All traffic on the canal from Brentford to the north has been held up and as a consequence it is very doubtful if many barge workers who reside in the Midlands will reach their homes in time to spend Christmas as they seek to do whenever possible.

So much land water has been coming down that repair works are necessarily delayed until the flood abates. It is hoped however to commence the repair today (Wednesday). Everything was got in readiness for the work to be commenced within a few hours of the occurrence thanks to the prompt action taken by the Grand Junction Canal Officials but of course they are impotent before the swift rush of waters.

It was fortunate that the canal officials were so early apprised of the untoward event and were able to take prompt measures, otherwise it is almost certain much of the craft must have been sunk.

Toll House

Toll House

Gauging Lock, Brentford, TW8

Built as a toll house in 1911, this is now a museum.

Grade II statutory listed

In Grand Union Canal & Boston Manor Conservation Area; Thames Policy Area


In the 18th century at the time of early canal travel, goods were carried from the Midlands to London covering 230 miles via the Oxford Canal and the Thames,  meeting hold ups of fishing weirs and often floods or droughts on the Thames.

In 1793/4 the Grand Junction Canal Company built a canal to cut down this distance  (as the crow flies it’s only 100 miles). Continue reading

Watermen at War


Friday May 29th 1942


Barges and Canal Boats are Vital Links in Supply Chain


Through Fires and Bombs Up River in London Blitz

On the late afternoon of September 6th 1940 a solitary pair of boats, frail river craft, moved steadily up the Thames between banks of blazing warehouses, flying masonry, and under a sky noisy with ‘planes and the crash of anti-aircraft fire. The boats’ crew of five, including two Brentford men, were maintaining the slogan ‘Keep Moving’, which river and canal workers have nailed to their masts for the duration. Continue reading