The Grand Surrey's junctions & and place names

The Surrey Canal’s junctions

Two junctions existed on the canal, connecting the Peckham and ‘Croydon’ sections. The junctions did not appear to have any official names. The one with the Croydon has been called Hatcham Junction but it is not known if this was used when the Croydon Canal was extant, as no map from the 19th Century shows that name, or whether it was a name ascribed by canal historians simply because the first lock on the Croydon was sometimes known as Hatcham lock.

Both the Grand Surrey and Croydon companies originally intended upon having a junction with the Thames at Rotherhithe. The Croydon Canal soon settled for a junction to be made with the Grand Surrey at Coldblow. Thus until 1836 Croydon boats shared the Thames connection with the Grand Surrey and there was a lot of friction between the two companies. The Grand Surrey’s main trade was in timber and not surprisingly the Croydon often complained of obstructions to traffic from floating logs stored upon the Grand Surrey’s waters.

The Grand Surrey acquired the stump belonging to the Croydon Canal soon after that canal’s closure. The passage of time saw this small remnant of the Croydon eventually reduced to nothing more than a mere wharf, although widened, as seen below, by the London and Croydon railway in order to provide an interchange point with the Grand Surrey. It was last in use around 1965 and subsequently filled in.

Black and white image used by permission – Croydon Local Studies Library.

The colour picture shows the junction of Surrey Canal Road and Mercury Way, along whose alignment the Croydon canal ran. The Grand Surrey, although having closed in 1971, remained in water for a few years after closure. It was eventually drained, and infilled in 1978. It had become Surrey Canal Road by the mid 1980’s.

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A view of the former junction at Coldblow through the arches of the London – Croydon Railway Line. A mooring bollard still exists at this point. Some of these were evidently more suited for ships!

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A sign by the former junction with the Peckham branch. The Surrey Canal Walk forms a linear parkway that stretches from Peckham to Camberwell.

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View of the Junction looking east. The Peckham Branch heads off to the right. There is virtually no trace of the canal from here eastwards to the Old Kent Road.

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Looking to the junction from the Peckham Branch.

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A view along the canal alignment westwards. The junction is in the foreground. It can be said that one can see the entire length of the former canal route from here to Camberwell. (In the distance can be seen the lattice footbridge, the church and blocks of flats in Camberwell.)

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Parts of the old canal wall can be seen at the junction. On the right of the wall would have been the water, on the left the towpath.

Unusually for any canal, there’s an abundance of street names derived from the canal, and these give clues to the former locations that the canal once served.

Street names linked to the Surrey Canal

In several places roads have names that are connected to the Grand Surrey Canal. There is a Depot Place in Camberwell, which probably could have denoted the canal’s terminus at Albany Basin. As well as Windlass Place (not historically correct though) and Canal Approach in Deptford, and Canal Head in Peckham, here are some signs that are canal related.

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A rarity. A company named after the Grand Surrey. This is at Trundleys Road/

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Above & Below: Two types of nameboard used on Surrey Canal Road/

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Canal Street is a cul-de-sac off the Albany Road. It used to lead to the canal and serviced a wharf at one time.

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Round the back of the Old Kent Road is the entrance to the privately owned Canal Grove. There is a splendid row of houses and trees here that used to front onto the Grand Surrey at one time.

Next: Bridges & buildings

Grand Surrey Canal pages:

Intro – A canal route from London to Portsmouth!
Old Surrey Docks route – The old canal route through the Surrey Docks
Greenland Dock – Plough Lane – The canal’s route to Plough Lane
Plough Lane – Surrey Canal Road – The canal’s route to Surrey Canal Road
Ilderton Road – Camberwell – The canal’s route to Camberwell
Canal junctions & place names – Junctions and places named after the canal
Bridges & buildings – The canal’s structures
Peckham branch & canal wharves – The delightful branch and wharves of the canal

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