1874: Closure of the Wilts and Berks Canal
From the Reading Mercury, 5th December 1874
[NOTE: The Reading Mercury's circulation area covered the Berkshire part of the canal]
WILTS AND BERKS CANAL.
Formal application will be made in the next Session of Parliament for power to close this canal. The principal object of the application is to enable the company or the High Court of Chancery to sell and dispose of the canal, the lands, rights, privileges, right of way, or navigation over their canal and branches, reservoirs, &c., by public auction or private contract. If the canal is not sold in its entirety, then to make provision for closing it. Another part of the proposed bill will authorize compensation to the officers of the company.
The possible closing of the canal seems to be viewed with various feelings by the inhabitants along its banks. The canal is said to have been finished in 1814; but the reservoir which supplies its highest level was not completed till 1822. The highest level is at Swindon, and is a clear piece of water free from locks for seven miles.
The official notice of application to Parliament appeared in the Mercury last week.
From the Reading Mercury, 28th November 1874
WILTS AND BERKS CANAL.
(Powers to sell and transfer the undertaking, or to close the Canal for traffic and sell the site thereof, Winding-up and Dissolution of Company, Compensation to Officers, Amendment or repeal of Acts, and other purposes.)
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing Session by the Company of Proprietors of the Wilts and Berks Canal Navigation (hereinafter called “The Company”) for an Act for the following purposes or some of them, that is to say -
To authorise the Company or the High Court of Chancery (hereinafter called “The Court”), to sell and dispose of in whole or in lots, by public auction or private contract, or in such other manner as may be provided by the intended Act, the undertaking of the Company, and the lands and hereditaments acquired at law or in equity by the Company, and all the estates, rights, titles, interests, powers, authorities, and privileges of the Company or to the Company in anywise belonging, together with the right of way or navigable communication from the locks, reservoirs, cuts, and basins of the Company, over and along their Canal and its branches.
To authorise the Company or the Court to transfer the Canal, lands, and hereditaments, property, and premises of the Company to the purchaser or purchasers, transferee or transferees thereof, as the case may be, freed and discharged from all charges, debts, incumbrances, liens, and liabilities affecting the same, whether created by the Company under any Act or Acts of Parliament or otherwise howsoever, and from all claims or demands of the Company.
To authorise the purchaser or purchasers upon such sale and transfer as aforesaid to hold the said Canal or the site thereof, and the lands, hereditaments, property, and premises to him or them, and his or their successors, with full benefit and enjoyment of all rights, powers, authorities, advantages, and privileges, given to or conferred upon the Company by any Act or Acts of Parliament or otherwise howsoever; and if the said undertaking be sold as a whole to empower such purchaser or purchasers, transferee or transferees, as the case my be, to receive, take, and enjoy all tolls, rates, rents, charges, fines, and penalties in all respects as the Company were authorised to do, and generally to stand in the place of the Company.
To extinguish or provide for the extinguishment of all tolls, rates, duties, charges, and all rights of way, liberties, easements, and all other rights and privileges of every description upon, over, or along the said Canal, lands, or into the locks, reservoirs, or basins of the Company, or in any manner connected with their undertaking or any of their lands, estates, or property.
To repeal section 162 of the Company's Act, 1 and 2 Geo. 4, cap. 97.
To make provision for the application of the proceeds of any sale or sales of the Canal or the site thereof, and of the lands, houses, locks, reservoirs, basins, rights of way or navigable communication, and other property of the Company, as assets of the Company.
To authorise the relinquishment or abandonment of the undertaking of the Company, and the winding-up of the Company's affairs and the ultimate dissolution of the Company on the completion of such sale or transfer as aforesaid, or upon the final distribution of the Company's assets under the provisions of the Companies Acts, 1862 and 1867, relating to the winding-up of Companies, or as may be provided in the intended Act.
To vary and extinguish all existing rights and privileges which would in any manner impede, or interfere with the objects and purposes of the intended Act, and to confer on the Company or the Court all other powers which may be necessary, useful, or desirable for giving full effect to the purposes of the intended Act, and to confer other rights and privileges.
To confirm any agreement or agreements already made or to be made, relating to the matter aforesaid or any of them.
To authorise and empower the Company to make compensation to their Officers for loss of office.
To amend, enlarge, or repeal the following local and personal Acts relating to the Company, viz.:- An Act passed in the 1st and 2nd years of the reign of His late Majesty King George the 4th, intituled, “An Act for incorporating the Company of Proprietors of the North Wilts Canal Navigation with the Company of Proprietors of the Wilts and Berks Canal Navigation; and for repealing the several Acts passed for making and maintaining the said Canals, and for consolidating the powers and provisions thereof in one Act of Parliament” - And also an Act passed in the 5th and 6th years of the reign of His late Majesty King George the 4th, intituled, “An Act for consolidating the Shares in the Wilts and Berks Canal Navigation, and for extending the powers of the Act of Incorporation of the Company of Proprietors of the said Canal.”
On or before the 21st day of December next, printed copies of the Bill for effecting the objects aforesaid or some of them will be deposited in the Private Bill Office of the House of Commons,
Dated this 12th day of November, 1874.
HENRY CROWDY CROWDY, Highworth, Solicitor for the Bill.
MARTIN & LESLIE, 27, Abingdon-street, Westminster, Parliamentary agents.