200 Years of the Northampton Arm
The go ahead for the Northampton Arm was given in April 1793 when the Grand Junction Canal received its Enabling Act in Parliament authorising the construction of a canal branch to Northampton. This was fantastic news, however the town had to wait another 18 years before the branch became a reality. The height difference of just over 32m (107 ft) between the Grand Junction and Northampton was a tough obstacle to overcome but 17 narrowbeam locks were installed to scale the difference and on 1st May 1815 the first boats arrived at Far Cotton greeted by crowds of onlookers.
Almost immediately the Arm began to carry a large volume of merchandise and stayed busy for over 100 years through to after the First World War. In the post war years coal, grain and timber were supplemented by goods needed for the show industry such as strawboards for packing as well as iron ingots for castings. After World War II the carriage of goods ceased as road competition strengthened.