The Bridgewater Connection
The reminiscences of Bob Grace . . .
As you pass along the Tring summit of the canal, looking up towards the Ivinghoe and Ashridge hills, you see the top of the Bridgewater monument and people are apt to think that Bridgewater was the person who built what was then the Grand Junction Canal.  Actually, he died before the canal came through Tring, but the engineers who started the canal were, of course, under his control and did have connections with Ashridge. 

The then agent to the Bridgewaters at Ashridge was a Mr Gilbert, whose brother was agent for the Earl of Bridgewater at his estates near Newcastle-under-Lyne, where the plans were made for the first Bridgewater canal leading out towards Manchester to take the Earl’s coal from Worsley. 

One local young man from Tring, through the friendship of Mr Gilbert, got a job at Trentham on the estate of the Earl of Gower, who was a relation by marriage to the Earl of Bridgewater and they worked in conjunction, both putting up money for the canal project.  The young man from Tring worked for a time, helping with drawings and measurements, under Mr Brindley who was the great self-taught canal architect.

[Biographic notes, c.1977] Bob Grace lived in Tring for most of his life.  He was born at Parsonage Farm, which formerly stood on the site of Bishop Wood School.  As a boy he attended the old National School at Tring.

He worked in Tring all his life and eventually joined the family’s corn and milling business which had been in existence for 250 years before it ceased in about 1977.