The Grand Union Canal - Walk 1
Slough Arm and Paddington Arm
Today's walk was a stroll along the Slough and Paddington branches/arms of the Grand Union Canal. The Slough Arm links Slough, Berkshire, to the 'main line' canal near West Drayton in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The branch was first proposed in 1878 by Hubert Thomas as a link to proposed new brickworks in Slough. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1879 and construction began in 1880.
The branch was fully navigable by December 1882 and by 1905 reached peak use ,conveying 192,000 tons of cargo, mainly bricks, sand and gravel, per year. After a steady decline the last commercial use of the canal was in 1960 when the decision was made by the British Waterways Board to close the branch.
Campaigning from the Slough Canal Group, formed in 1968, saw the canal re-opened in 1975 and, following reclassification by the British Waterways Act of 8 February 1983, the branch was upgraded to Cruising Waterway Standards.
The Paddington Arm was authorised by an Act of Parliament of April 1795. The act approved a navigable cut from Bull's Bridge near Hayes in the London Borough of Hillingdon to Paddington, west London. Completed in 1801, it's terminus was a four-acre section called the Paddington Basin, which became a busy inland route during the Industrial Revolution. The Paddington arm was later extended by the construction of the Regent's Canal which joins the Thames at Limehouse.
Distance: around 23 miles (including links to the stations).