Glascote Locks and the Coventry Canal in 1908

The area around Glascote as shown in Westall’s 1908 book, Inland Cruising

In 1908 George Westall outlined a description the Coventry Canal in his book “Inland Cruising”:

“Coventry Canal extends from the City of Coventry to Fradley in Staffordshire, where it forms a junction with the Trent and Mersey (North Stafford Railways) Canal. Leaving Coventry, the canal proceeds by Hawkesbury – junction with the Oxford Canal – Bedworth and Marston, where it connects with the Ashby (Asby-de-la-Zouch) Canal, and continues by Nuneaton, Atherstone and Polesworth to Fazeley, near Tamworth, where it joins the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Thence it proceeds, for 5½ miles, over the Birmingham Canal Navigation line – really part of the original design of this system – to Whittington Brook, and there entering upon its northern section, continues along an unbroken course by Huddlesford, where a junction is affected with the Wyrley Canal, to its termination in the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley. The canal forms an important link in the line of communication between the rivers Thames and Mersey, and the navigation is maintained in a state of great efficiency. The district through which it runs is on a pleasantly elevated plane and lends itself peculiarly to pleasure boating, as by starting say, from Coventry there is an ideal waterway extending for 70 miles on one level pool. The Canal itself provides three capital pools of 16½, 9, and 11 miles respectively, and others occur in the connecting Oxford and Ashby systems. It is therefore possible with the aid of four flights of locks to make a total course of 109 miles, or 218 miles for a complete circuit out-and-home, and that through some of the most attractive scenery in the homeland. Coventry – “City of the three Spires” – said to have derived its name from a convent founded by Canute, and popularly associated with romantic legend of Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom, is a highly interesting old town, beautifully seated in the very centre of England, with rural surroundings that may well be likened to a luxurious garden of illimitable extent. In former times the City was largely engaged in silk and ribbon weaving, afterwards in watch making, and is now the metropolis of the bicycle and motor vehicle trade. It is also entitled to rank as an inland aquatic centre for motoring on the quiet waters by which it is environed. Tamworth, Nuneaton and Atherstone, are also good bases for tours. HOTELS. Coventry: Craven Arms, Kings Head, Queens. Atherstone: Red Lion, White Hart. Nuneaton: Bull, Newdegate. Tamworth (Fazeley): Castle, Peel Arms. 14 Locks. Navigable by vessels 72 ft x 7 ft x 3 ft 6 in draught. Toll, whole distance: Launches £1 single journey; £1 10s return within 3 months.”

Westall also described his own cruise on the Canal in the opposite direction:

“… after working eight more locks we turned into the Coventry Canal at Fradley, near Alrewas. The toll for motor boats, and distance, on the Trent and Mersey canal is £1 1s, and on the Coventry £1. The Coventry system is an ideal canal for motoring. It commences with a clear run of twelve and a half miles, on one level, from Fradley to a little past Tamworth, leaving Lichfield on the east, by Street Hay and Huddlesford, the junction with the canal to Cannock and Wyrley, Whittington Brook, Hopwas, and Fazeley, through most delightful rural scenery all the way to Glascote Locks (two), where another pool of nine miles is entered leading past Alvecote, Pooley, Polesworth, and Baddesley, ending at Atherstone, where we elected to finish up for that day.”

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