Southampton and Salisbury Canal: Picture Gallery No 2

Southampton Arm: Northam Branch

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The Northam Branch was intended to give access to the Itchen Navigation and to the important Northam Quay. Much of the coal brought by ship from the Tyne and Wear was landed at the Quay and was referred to as "the great Depot for Coals" by the company. At the time the canal was built, it passed through open fields until it reached the quays at Northam.

Although it appears that construction of the branch was completed, it is doubtful that it was ever used. Today there is no evidence visible on the ground that this section of canal even existed. The photographs below illustrate the line of the waterway as determined from old maps.

The branch ran north east from the junction with the main canal (see Gallery 1) running on the north side of what is now the first part of Craven Walk (formerly part of North Front) in a straight line through Kingsland House as far as the present railway line.

The Southampton and Dorchester Railway had originally intended using the canal tunnel until it was realised that it was unsuitable. The eastern entrance to the newer railway tunnel lies about 60 yards north east of the site of the canal tunnel portal. The railway was built on the line of the canal eastwards from a point about 100 yards from this portal. The canal was also in a shallow cutting running just south of the new road to Northam Bridge which itself was under construction from 1796 to 1799.

After passing through the site of the gas works, the branch passed near the present junction of Rochester Street and Peel Street and then ran parallel to and some 40 yards north west of the modern Millbank Street. The lock giving access to the tidal River Itchen was situated near the corner the building in the picture above (in 1800, the river bank was nearer the camera than it is now).

The lock was just 150 yards downstream from Northam Quay. The cream roofed boat in the right hand picture below is moored at the site of the end of Northam Quay.

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Page created 23 May 2005 - published 16 February 2009. Changes to layout published 7 April 2017.

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