Soon after completion of the Wendover Canal it was found to leak and for over 100 years various measures were taken to remedy the situation. One method adopted was to lay asphalt. The coal tar, a by-product of the gas industy, was brought in by boat and mixed with ash on site. It was layed across the bed of the canal but provided a very short-lived improvement before it failed. In some places remains of the asphalt are still visible amongst the weed growth on the banks.
A full history of the canal can be found on the WAT website
In 1973 Little Tring bridge was demolished as the local council had decided it was too weak to carry modern traffic. Despite considerable local protest the wrecking ball was brought it. The first swing at the bridge bounced off so decisively that it could not be used safely and the bridge was dismantled brick by brick. Then, as now, it is not possible for anyone in authority to admit they were wrong and an embankment was constructed cutting the canal off completely about a mile from the main line.
One of the major achievements of WAT has been this lovely replacement of this bridge. (at a cost of £260,000)
A picture of the original bridge is available on the WAT site from which you can see how faithfully they have recreated it in solid concrete with brick facing and parapet.
|Where did these columns come from?|
Once the canal was closed completely in 1904 the reservoirs, which had been built as boat traffic increased the demand for water in the summit pound, were able to do their job without water draining away down the Wendover Arm. By this time the management of water had become quite complicated and other pumping stations, notably one at Whitehouses, were built to augment Tringford.
|The smallest capacity pump has been operating since 1927.|
Untill C&RT sees the sense in this, WAT has to rely on cash donations and an ever ageing band of volunteers.
The remains of Whitehouses Pumping Station which C&RT will restore to working order.
As we walked round the end of the restored section a launch came up to wind.