Medieval works to improve navigation of the Itchen River had fallen into disrepair by the 17th century and a new Act was passed in 1664. In 1710 the newly-formed Itchen Navigation Company constructed a three mile stretch of locks, cuts and towpaths between Winchester and Woodmill. From Woodmill barges sailed down the river to Northam where wharves and warehouses were built. The canal appears to have been relatively successful for a few years, transporting coal, corn, chalk and salt. By 1811, however, trade began to fall, the decline deepening in the 1840s when the London to Southampton railway was built. By 1863 the canal had only two employees and two barges in regular use. The last recorded tolls were taken in 1869. Attempts to revive the navigation in 1871 and 1909 failed and the company was wound up in 1925.

see also

Itchen, River

Further reading:
Hampshire Waterways, by P. A. L. Vine, p75-94. (H/pj)
The Itchen Navigation, by The Southampton Canal Society. (H/pj)
Itchen Navigation’, by David Foster, in Hampshire, vol. 36, no. June 1996, p36-7. (H/y)
Itchen Navigation: a legal history, by Alec Samuels in Southampton Local History Forum Journal No. 20 Autumn 2012 p 19-21. (HS/h)


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