The Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal
The reminiscences of Bob Grace . . .
Tring’s connection with the canal is via the Wendover Arm, which is only a navigable feeder.  It was never built to take the very deep canal boats.  To publicise the canal when this stretch was first opened, they took a prize animal to Smithfield Show via the Wendover Arm.  It was brought from Cresslow between Aylesbury and Buckingham to Wendover and loaded onto a barge for its journey to London.  The story goes that it actually won the championship at Smithfield and it was extensively advertised that this was because it had been brought down by the new navigation, thereby arriving in prime condition, instead of being driven there.

One less known fact about the canal is that, before the railway came, boats used to carry passengers.  From Wendover and Aylesbury, they actually ran an emigration boat.  This took people during the hungry 40s (19th century) to emigrate to Canada.  I think they went to Liverpool by canal.

The canal worked the other way too, bringing people into the area.  There was a large estate in Tring (now called Drayton Lodge), just on the Aylesbury road.  The Squire there came from the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire area and brought all his goods and some of his men down by boat.  Soldiers were conveyed by canal, also, before the railway, accompanied by their horses.

When the canal was being constructed, the story goes that a number of ancient remains were discovered; amongst these was reputed to be a gold chain and some gold sword hilts.  The landowner, Mr Sear, is supposed to have demanded the relics and melted them down before they could be removed to a national collection.

[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.