The Romans
The Civil War
The Plague
Battle of Church Sq
World War Two
Basingstoke Canal
Basingstoke windmill
Alfred the Great

Walter de Merton
Sir James Lancaster
Mrs. Blunden
John May
Thomas Burberry
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Adam de Gurdon
Thomas Warton
The Light Railway

Witch Trials
Jane Austen


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The Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal was built in 1798 and ran for 37 A not-so-long boatmiles. It started at the junction with the River Wey near Byfleet and went via Woking, Aldershot, Odiham, Greywell and Basing, to Basingstoke. The canal was built as an easier and cheaper route for goods from Salisbury, Bristol and the West Country to London.

In 1800, however, England was in the grip of the A right little NapoleonNapoleonic Wars, the Government decided to divert transport of goods from the roads to the inland waterways. In 1802 the Basingstoke Canal Company offered the Government ten barges " in case of invasion, or the appearance of the enemy on the coast, to transport stores free of expense from London to any part of the Canal."

 At Greywell the barges had to pass through a tunnel three Woodworkingquarters of a mile long. This was done by the process of "legging." Two men lay on their backs on the barge and pushed with their legs on the wall of the tunnel. In the winter months, if the canal froze over you could skate as far as Odiham. By the early 19th century Edwin C. White, a timber merchant, had set up a depot alongside the Wharf in Basingstoke. Before the first world war, E. C. White was one of the biggest employers in Basingstoke. As well as the men in the saw mill, he also had men felling and carting from Herriard, Hackwood, Stratfield Saye and Savernake Forest.

At the end of the 19th century it was decided to clean up the canal. During the clean up the clay puddling was removed by mistake. The water leaked away and the old canal gradually became silted up and unusable The last working barge came through in 1914, Greywell Tunnel had partly fallen in, and it took months for the barge to arrive at Basingstoke. Happily since then the canal has undergone a period of restoration and has gained back some of it's former glory.

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