A Brief History Of Regent's Canal

May 01, 2018

A Brief History Of Regent's Canal

Regent’s Canal is one of the most peaceful places in North London and is loved by so many: boaters, walkers, runners, cyclist, Londoners and tourists.

Over 13.8 km long, Regent’s Canal links up some of the best places in London. Running through Paddington, colourful little venice in Maida Vale, Regent’s Park and London Zoo right to the heart of our beloved Camden Town and King's Cross.

However, Regent’s Canal’s history has been long forgotten by most and yet London would not be what it is today without it.

Allow us to introduce you to a brief history of Regent’s Canal…

I. Regent’s Canal’s History.


The idea of Regent’s Canal was first introduced by Thomas Honer in 1802 as a link from Paddington to the River Thames, but was only built then years later in 1812, when Regent’s Canal became part of a bigger plan : the redevelopment of the whole of Central-North London. 

In 1816, the first section from Paddington to Camden Town opened with several basins and the rest opened four years later in 1820.

With the industrial revolution and the construction of the railways in North London, Regent’s Canal became indispensable and played a fundamental role in the influence London had over the rest of Britain.

It was first used to transport imports to the Midlands, and then to transfer cargo from seafaring vessels to canal barges in Regent’s Canal Dock, the main centre of trade and the area with the heaviest traffic. It was also along the canal that barge horses pulled train rails to King’s Cross during the construction of its railways.

However, by 1840 the railways took most of the traffic from the canal and even a few attempts to turn the Canal into railways had been made. Thankfully none of these attempts succeeded. 

Finally, the last commercial traffic was made in 1956. 

Today, the canal is a place of tranquility in the middle of the City where colourful boats and people meet.

On this long (and hopefully sunny) May Day Bank Holiday weekend, what better way to celebrate Regent’s Canal's history then to head over to Little Venice for London’s biggest waterside festival, IWA Canalway Cavalcade?

II. IWA Canalway Cavalcade

Canal way-Cavalcade-History-Of-Regent's-Canal

It is one of our all time favourite spring events because not only is IWA Canalway Cavalcade a beautiful festival but it's also organised for a good cause. Indeed, the festival is coordinated by the charity The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) who protects the UK’s canals and rivers.

Be prepared to see over 120 beautifully decorated boats, eat delicious street food and peruse an array of creative craft stalls. Plus a multitude of activities and entertainment is planned throughout the weekend: from boat handling competitions (yep, that's a thing), to a parade of historic and working boats, children’s activities during the day and illuminated boats at night, there will be something for everyone.


The festival will be extending along Warwick Crescent and the towpaths towards Paddington Station, onto the Paddington Stone Wharf, in Rembrandt Gardens and the Amphitheatre in Sheldon Square. The opening times are from 10am to 6pm from Saturday to Monday and is also open from 9pm to 10:30pm on Sunday for the illuminated boats.

Canalway-Cavalcade-LondonAll images from The Inland Waterways Association.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News

Ten Cafes of Camden
Ten Cafes of Camden

December 11, 2018

From the mugs designed by our co-founder Anneke to the endless brews we drink in our office, tea and coffee are very important to the Camden Watch Co. During the winter months that are full of festive spirit, there’s nothing better than a warm drink with our loved ones. We’ve pulled together ten of our favourite cafes in Camden where we hide from the Christmas chaos to share coffee and conversation.

Continue Reading

Running an immersive event; A Camden Mystery
Running an immersive event; A Camden Mystery

September 29, 2018

At the beginning of the month, we ran our first ever immersive event along with our friends A Door In A Wall. The plot, puzzles and organisation were all sorted by them while we poured our little hearts into designing all the paraphernalia around the event.

Take a peek at some snaps below and find out our top tips for running an event, or take a closer look at the watch that inspired it Continue Reading

The Camden Watch Co. At The London Tattoo Convention
The Camden Watch Co. At The London Tattoo Convention

September 27, 2018

Tattoo lovers, listen up!

After attending The Great British Tattoo Show in May, we are back for a second weekend filled with incredible tattoo artists and talented performers at London Tattoo Convention between the 28th and 30th September.

We sat down for a chat with Mikki Vialetto, founder of both London Tattoo Convention and world famous...

Continue Reading

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Behind-the-scenes content and design inspiration from the founders of The Camden Watch Company.

From Camden with love.