Thursday, 30 March 2017


I painted the black stern deck and the fancy metal scrollwork on the bow yesterday afternoon.

IMG_1507The original paint had rubbed away where the bow mooring rope passes over them.  The area had already received a coat of primer and undercoat.


My painting is still poor with brush marks showing. Jan tells me I don’t have gentle hands.  I guess after 47 years she should know!  But what particularly annoyed me was it started to rain around 6pm. No doubt that means more paint work that will need to be rubbed back and redone <grrrrr>

Steve left a comment and information regarding the mast I noticed whilst we were moored at Long Buckby Wharf.  It’s the Daventry Radio Mast.  The Wikipedia history behind the mast led me to an indirect link to Arnold Mosley and Hitler.

Then Mike Todd left a comment and link about the road being constructed just north of Weedon Bec.  It’s a bypass designed to take traffic around the local villages of Weedon Bec and Flore.  The map from the media article is below.

link road   

It’s certainly needed because the A45 from Flore to Weedon Bec was choked with heavy vehicles from the M1.  This next canal map screen dump shows the approximate location where it will cross the Grand Union Canal.

bridgeOur main reason for stopping at Weedon Bec was to visit the former Ordnance Depot which was constructed during the Napoleonic War.  You can see it on the Waterway Routes canal map above.

I had seen some thing on TV about the depot but hadn’t realised it was at Weedon Bec.  We’ve passed this way twice before missing it on both occasions.  This time I was determined to take a short walk and see what I could find.

An Act of Parliament was passed in1803 for the establishment of a Royal Ordnance Depot at Weedon.  Initially 50 acres were acquired but this was subsequently increased to 150 acres.  At this time Blisworth Tunnel hadn’t been completed but there was canal access from north.  The government knew that Napoleon had plans to invade and Weedon Bec was chosen as the location because it was inland making it harder to attacked. 

The Act of Parliament for the Grand Junction Canal allowed the government to use the canal for military purposes free of charge. The depot is to the west of the Grand Union Canal had it’s own spur.  Eight large brick storehouses were built in a rectangular piece of land.  The canal entered the site through a gate house with a portcullis.


There is a similar gatehouse at the opposite end of the canal which leads to the gunpowder magazines.


Duplicate gatehouse at the far end.  The upper floors were used to store small arms and the lower floor artillery pieces.

The entire depot was enclosed by a high brick wall.


The canal spur from the Grand Union to the gatehouse has been filled in and redeveloped as residential housing.  However a link to it can be seen in the name of the street that follows the canal alignment (Navigation Way).


Former canal spur

Barracks for cavalry and infantry were constructed outside the depot north wall.  These were demolished in the 1960’s but their former presence can be determined by the names of the roads in what is now a residential subdivision.   Fusilier Way, Cavalry Field, Lancers Way, etc.

Weedon Bec used to have three other well constructed military buildings used to house the storekeeper and other senior depot officials.  Local rumour has it that this is where King George III was to be taken in the event Napoleon invaded. These buildings were demolished in the 1970’s.

The army moved relinquished the depot in 1965 and it was sold by the government in the 1980’s.  It’s now a small commercial centre.


Adam said...

Yes the crossing point is where the canal and railway are closest, as the bridge will cross both. There's a mooring spot right near there that we've used several times overlooking the field that will soon have the road across it. Other land nearby is where the Canal Turn Farm Shop used to graze their cows and sheep; it's been taken for the road, which is why the shop has closed down.

Tom and Jan said...

Adam I thought you were going to leave a comment on how to improve my painting! 😃