The Twentieth Century

The Cathedral of the Canals was about to witness the most dramatic century in her history. Social change, two World Wars, the demise of freight carrying and the renaissance of the canal as a leisure facility. Quite a century!

In  1944 Braunston’s future was once more to be significantly affected by two events. First the making of the film “Painted Boat” by Ealing Studios on which Tom Rolt acted as an unofficial advisor. Second, the eventual publishing of Tom Rolt’s book “Narrow Boat”.

CressyRolt’s vivid depiction of the canals and their peoples started a mood of nostalgia and caused a movement to prevent the canals from falling into complete disuse. With encouragement from Robert Aickman the Inland Waterways Association was formed to look into and try to improve the conditions on the canals. From the IWA’s earliest days Braunston became involved  in the campaign to save the canals.

The decline in commercial traffic meant by 1988 the Wharf was in a sorry state and in the hands of the Receiver though potentially an excellent asset. In October of that year it was purchased by Tim Coghlan who formed  Braunston Marina Ltd, and set about developing the area. The housing development Brindley Quays has proved a great success as has the development of the two small reservoirs into accommodation for more moorings. Despite  early apprehension  the village has now fully embraced the marina which has in turn contributed massively to the life of the village and the church.