The Kennet & Avon Canal: timeline

1723: The River Kennet Navigation opened, Newbury to Reading

1727: The River Avon Navigation opened, Bath to Bristol

1788: In April, a canal linking the Kennet and Avon proposed at a meeting in Newbury

1789: Surveyed route presented to shareholders in the summer

1793: The Kennet & Avon Canal Act passed on 27th August

1794: The first sod cut, at Bradford, in October

1795: Tender advertised for excavating the first stretch, at Widbrook, Bradford in May

1796: Avoncliff Aqueduct begun in March; Monkton Combe (Dundas) Aqueduct started August

1798: Avoncliff Aqueduct completed

1801: Conkwell Quarry opened

1802: Captain Andreas began operating a packet boat between Bath and Bradford in March

1803: Murhill Quarry opened (a tramway built in 1804)

1805: Somersetshire Coal Canal joined the Kennet & Avon

1810: The canal opened throughout in September

1845: Thomas Evans Blackwell proposed plans for building a railway on the canal

1852: The K&A Canal purchased by the Great Western Railway

1857: The WSW Railway built Bradford to Bathampton

1904: Somersetshire Coal Canal closed; a railway subsequently built

1906: The Wilts & Berks Canal closed

1906: The canal towpath became a right-of-way

1948: Canal nationalised along with the GWR under the Railway Executive

1949: Canal transferred to the Dock & Inland Waterways Executive

1953: Formation of British Transport Waterways, under the British Transport Commission

1954: Dundas to Avoncliff section drained (the “Dry Section”)

1956: The Kennet & Avon Canal Association successfully petitioned against closure

1961: The K&A Canal Association published Kennet & Avon redevelopment scheme

1962: The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust formed

1963: British Waterways Board formed under the Transport Act 1962

1966-7: The K&A Trust cleared and unsuccessfully tried to repair the Dry Section

1968: Transport Act- most of the K&A Canal made a Remainder Waterway

1976: Bath flight of locks restored; concrete lining of Dry Section began

1981: The eastern end restoration complete to Crofton summit

1982: Canal open from Bath Top Lock to Dundas

1981-5: Back pumps installed at Bradford, Semington and Seend

1984: Canal formally opened fro Bath to Semington

1985: Canal open to the foot of the Caen Hill flight of locks

1990: Restoration complete; opened by the Queen in August

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