History of the Society

Progress to date…..

Actions and outcomes achieved so far are listed below, grouped into Research, Preservation and Restoration:

Research the history of the Buckingham Canal and sharing what we know:

  • Gathered information and archive materials about the canal when it was operating, and as it is today;
  • Produced a detailed survey of the remains of the canal;
  • Made oral history recordings of people who can remember the canal when it was in use (in collaboration with Living Archive);
  • Taken possession of a collection of Thomas Millner’s business correspondence over a period of some 30 years. Millner, based at Blisworth, was in charge of the stretch of the Grand Junction Canal that included the Stony Stratford and Buckingham Arms. The collection is now being fully catalogued;
  • Prepared maps and other display materials;
  • Run a stall at many national and local canal events;
  • Produced regular newsletters for members;
  • Liaised with schools along the route of the canal about local history projects;
  • Organised an annual boat rally and waterside event at Cosgrove;
  • Publicised its activities in the national waterways press and in local newspapers in the Milton Keynes and Buckingham areas;
  • Produced a prospectus to promote the restoration with a range of organisations.
  • Built a sound financial base for regular expenditure and developed the experience to make significant grant applications to fund projects;
  • Developed the policies and skills to be able to carry out more significant projects.

Preserving the remains and protecting the line of the canal:

  • Monitored planning applications  affecting properties on the line of the canal and made submissions  as appropriate;
  • Made representations at public enquiries about development plans affecting the line of the canal;
  • Promoted the objectives of the Society to local authorities so that preservation of the canal is recognised as a desirable planning objective;
  • Raised awareness of the potential value of the canal line as a recreational asset.

Restoring navigation from Cosgrove to Buckingham:

  • Examined and evaluated obstacles along the line of the canal and researched ways of removing them or finding new routes around them;
  • Started clearing the dry stretch of the canal between Cosgrove Lock and the A5 trunk road: actively trying to raise funds to re-water this part of the canal as a demonstrable length;
  • With the landowners’ permission and co-operation, cleared a stretch of the canal bed at Bourton Meadow on the outskirts of Buckingham and rebuilt the spill weir on this section. Planning permission was obtained in 2012 and grant funding has been applied for to re-water this section;
  • Again with the landowners’ permission we have cleared the section at Little Hill Farm and have repaired the stone bridge;
  • Negotiated a lease of the BBOWT nature reserve which is the site of Hyde Lane lock. Restoration of the lock chamber has been undertaken and recycled lock gates fitted.
  • Adopted the section of canal on the Grand Union around Cosgrove Lock as well as the section of canal to be restored from the junction adjacent to the lock through to the A5.