I’m the only one talking; I’ve been sent to Coventry

Today was all about finishing my journey along one canal and beginning my next trip along another. The Oxford Canal joins the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. These two are the oldest canals on the entire UK waterways system.

For a while they used to run parallel to each other but relations were not good between the two canal companies. The Coventry was built first and three years later the Oxford powered up to join it. But they couldn’t physically join as the Oxford was 9 inches higher and they were worried that their competitors would steal their water.

The Oxfird on the right had to build a last lock on their section to enable the two waterways to flow in unison. Here you can see the toll house in the middle, the lock-keeper’s house on the right and the pump house for the Coventry on the left.

Swopping canals, it is a short leg of seven bridges into Coventry Basin from here, passing through the town’s established Asian communities on one side

modern canal side housing, some of which incorporates past industrial structures

and monuments to past industrial giants. The only evidence of the first car production line in the UK that remains, the Daimler factory, is the pump room here.

Coventry Basin has been tarted up a bit but you can still feel, despite bringing surrounded by modern apartment blocks, the bargees at work, moving goods around warves and warehouses, especially coal destined for Oxford & London.

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