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Our place in history

 

Here you can see what some significant dates in the life of the Kennet and Avon Canal and the pumping station, alongside some points of interest happening around the rest of the country.

Year

Key Events in the History of the Canal

What else was happening

1705

 

Beau Nash appointed Master of Ceremonies in Bath

1708

Bill to make the River Kennet navigable from Reading to Newbury introduced into Parliament

Completion of the construction of Wren’s St Paul's Cathedral in London

1712

Bristol to Bath Navigation Bill receives Royal Assent

Thomas Newcomen builds the first piston-operated steam engine

1715

Kennet Navigation Bill receives Royal Assent on 21st September

The Riot Act comes into force

1723

The River Kennet is made navigable to Newbury

Sir Christopher Wren, English architect, astronomer and mathematician, dies

1724

Ralph Allen becomes part owner of Bath to Hanham Mills navigation.

Blenheim Palace construction is completed

1727

River Avon made navigable to Bath

George II comes to the throne

1751

Charles Dundas, 1st Baron Amesbury is born

Richard Brinsley Sheridan is born

1756

John Ward who was to become the first clerk to the Kennet and Avon canal is born

Start of the Seven Years War

1761

John Rennie who was to become the principle engineer and designer of the Kennet and Avon Canal is born

Coronation of King George III

1775

John Blackwell who was to become the resident engineer of the Kennet and Avon Canal and designer of the Devizes locks is born

Jane Austen is Born

1776

Dudley Clarke produces designs for the canal through Sydney Gardens which are the basis for consultation with Bath residents

Beau Brummell is born

1784

John Rennie joins the James Watt and Matthew Boulton company

Dr Johnson dies

1788

The line of the canal is settled

The Regency Crisis

1790

The Kennet Navigation is finally fully open to traffic on 1st June

Mozart's opera "Cosi fan tutti" premieres, Vienna

1792

At the height of canal mania, shares in the new project are put on sale

Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is published.

1793

The estimated costs rise from £213,940 to £377,364

The French Revolution expands into a European War. As a result there is a financial crisis in England.

1794

Kennet and Avon Canal Act receives the Royal assent and construction began

Admiral Lord Nelson loses his right eye

1796

A report states that the Newbury to Bedwyn section is expected to be completed in 12 months.

Edward Jenner successfully administers the smallpox vaccine to James Phipps

1797

12th June: The first section of the Kennet & Avon canal, the six miles from Newbury to Kintbury, is opened

Horatio Nelson is wounded at the Battle of Santa Cruz, losing an arm.

1798

9th October the canal is officially open to Hungerford

Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduces income tax

1799

2nd July the canal iss open to Great Bedwyn,

 

1806

 

Jane Austen leaves Bath

1807

Crofton Pumping Station becomes operational

The Slave Trade Act becomes law, abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire

1808

The Bruce Tunnel is completed having been cut manually using picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, horses, carts and gun powder. It has the second largest cross section of any British canal tunnel still in use. There is no towpath, vessels being hand-hauled by chain.

 

1810

The canal between Newbury and Bath opens. John Ward and his business partner become Principal Clerks of the Canal Company

King George III is recognized as insane

1813

Claverton Pumping Station starts operations

The Publication of Pride and Prejudice

1815

 

The battle of Waterloo ends the French Napoleonic Wars

1818

There are over 200 boats using the canal. The average time to travel from Newbury to Bath is 3 days 9 hours.

The British Institution of Civil Engineers is founded.

1821

John Rennie dies

Napoleon dies in exile on Saint Helena.

1824

 

There is the first proposal for railway from London to Bristol.

1827

John Ward dies

William Blake, poet and artist, dies

1832

Charles Dundas, dies on the 30th June - aged 81, from cholera.

Jeremy Bentham, philosopher, dies

1835

 

The Great Western Railway Act is passed

1841

 

30th June the Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Bristol Templemeads opens

1850

The last year the Canal Company pay a dividend

 

1852

The Kennet & Avon Canal Company is passed to the Great Western Railway by Royal Assent.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London, admits its first patient.

1857

Ice-breaking is stopped, and as a result several boats become stuck in thick ice.

 

1862

Engineers dig a tunnel for the Berks and Hants extension railway crossing diagonally over Rennie's canal tunnel.

Richard Jordan Gatling patents the Gatling gun.

1909

A Royal Commission is set up to report on all the Canals of the UK

 

1926

In October GWR announcea a proposal to close the entire K&A navigation

 

1952

Claverton Pumping Station ceases operation

Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom at St. James's Palace

1958

British Transport Commission announce plans to close the canal

European Economic Community (EEC) founded.

1961

Kennet & Avon Canal Trust established

 

1963

The Kennet and Avon is taken over by the "British Waterways Board"

Dr. Beeching issues a report calling for huge cuts to the UK's rail network.

1967

Start of the Claverton Pumping Station Restoration project

Concorde is unveiled in Toulouse, France.

1969

 

Apollo 11 makes first landing on the Moon

1974

The canal is officially re-opened to Hungerford wharf

 

1975

Claverton pumped its first water after restoration

Bill Gates founds Microsoft

1990

The grand official opening of the entire Kennet and Avon canal by HM The Queen on board The Rose of Hungerford at Caen Hill on 8 August

The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery

2003

Completion of the Kennet and Avon Canal restoration project

The Human Genome Project is completed

2010

The Kennet and Avon Canal is reclassified from "remainder" waterway to "cruiseway" status – ensuring its future funding.

David Cameron is confirmed as prime minister, in a coalition government





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