Historical Background Notes

Shobnall Basin, Burton-on-Trent / Bond End Canal

photo of gate on drydockphoto of 'Paws' in drydock

Shobnall basin and drydock are all that are left of the Bond End Canal.

The Burton Boat Company, lessees of the River Trent above Wilden Ferry, had a profitable trade in ale and cheese from the Benedictine Abbey as well as flint, timber, iron and pottery. They cut a 1.5 mile canal from the river at Bond End in the hope of joining to the Trent & Mersey Canal, but a connection was refused. The Burton Boat Company then tried to create a connection to either Ashby or Coventry. A connection was finally approved at Shobnall, and a stop-lock was provided.

Unfortunately, the river was noted for being short of water at that point, and boats often had to lighten cargo. With the death of the leading proprietor of the Burton Boat Company in 1805, their carrying business came to an end, and the canal itself became disused by about 1870. Jannel Cruisers, a family business run by the Hines family, cleared the basin in 1973, and created a drydock from the stop-lock in 1980, with a slipway being fashioned in place of the other gate. They ran their hire fleet from here, and now own and run the marina with its chandlery, drydock and coffeeshop.

More details can be found on Shobnall Marina's own website , and in Edward Paget-Tomlinson's book "The Illustrated History of Canal and River Navigations" (publ. Landmark Publishing).

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