The history of the canal in Banbury is focus of a study day this weekend

Old Banbury Canal NNL-150911-141512001
Old Banbury Canal NNL-150911-141512001

The rich and fascinating history of the Oxford Canal in Banbury’s bygone days is the subject of a special study day this weekend.

The Oxfordshire Local History Association holds the event on Saturday in Banbury Town Hall between 9.30am - 3pm.

“The Oxford Canal opened in Banbury to peals of bells in 1778 but took another 12 years to reach Oxford,” said event promoter Deborah Hayter.

“Canals opened up Oxfordshire to trade from the newly industrialised Midlands and linked the country to a national network.

“The economic benefits such as cheap coal are well known, but what was the impact of those who came to dig the canals? And who were these regular travellers through Oxfordshire?”

First speaker on the day will be historian Barrie Trinder, author of Victorian Banbury and Britain’s Industrial Revolution; the Making of a Manufacturing People.

Mr Trinder, vice president of the Banbury Historical Society, can recall the last generation of working boatpeople. He will be talking about the boat people of Victorian times.

Others giving facts, figures and descriptions of the times and the importance of the canals are Mark Davies, an Oxford historian and guide who has a particular interest in the physical, social and cultural importance of the waterways of the city.

Brian Stovold will be taking about the Wilts and Berks Canal, taking a look at the history and restoration of the longest derelict canal in Britain.

Martin Buckland discusses the benefits of canal restoration to the environment and there will be an optional tour of Tooley’s Boatyard.

The cost of the day is £10. Lunch will not be provided but there are several places close to the Town Hall where meals are available. Visit www.olha.org.uk or telephone Liz Woolley on 01869 242760.