Rothschild Canal Bridge

Rothschild Canal Bridge

Rothschild Canal Bridge Rothschild Canal Bridge The bridge is made of splendid blue ironwork painted blue, complete with the Rothschild monogram (picked out in gold paint). The 5 arrows of the monogram represent the 5 Rothschild brothers. The bridge was build to provide carriage access across the now disused Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal for Alfred Rothschild while Halton House was under his ownership.


The principal purpose of the Wendover Arm was to act as a feeder to supply water to the summit of the main canal. The main source of that water was to be the diverted flow from the Well Head at Wendover. Shortly after construction began in 1793, it was realised that, at very little extra cost, the waterway could be built to carry boats, linking Wendover and the Vale of Aylesbury with principal markets throughout the country. However, the canal was built on porous chalk, which had to be puddled to prevent leakage. These measures were singularly unsuccessful, and leaks were the main cause of the canal's failure and ultimate closure.


Rothschild Canal Bridge Attempts were made to stop the leaks, including drainage and partial relining in 1803 and 1856, but they failed to deal with the problem. Throughout the 19th century it continued to leak, causing great difficulties for traders and financial strains for the canal company. By 1894 it was actually taking water from the main canal, and by the turn of the century water losses were colossal. The canal struggled on for a few more years but inevitably abandonment came, in 1904.


A stop lock was built at Tringford to prevent further drainage losses, and it was only this top section, from Tringford to the junction at Bulbourne, that remained in water and navigable. Work is currently under way to restore the rest of the canal to navigation.

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