Newspaper headlines called them:
These were typical newspaper headlines describing the passage through the countryside of the gangs building the canals. They had a frightful reputation and respectable Paddington wanted nothing of them. An act of Parliament was passed allowing the canal through despite local protests. Investors were delighted to have their Parliamentary Act and set to work with vigour, sweeping all before them, but this conflict between industry and residential peace would continue. For the whole of the next century the Vestry would battle to separate the trade and manufacture round the Basin, from the respectable stucco of Bayswater. In the meantime, trade had called the tune.
The original sketch of the canal had been drawn in just before the end of the Eighteenth Century on the Bishop of London’s Estate map (printed earlier). Below is the official map of the Grand Junction Canal at Paddington, showing the wharves along the Edgware Road and a ‘Bason’ for pleasure boats. Much of the existing North Wharf Road was to be a market, with reservoirs for drinking water on the present railway land and warehouses in Sussex Gardens.
(Move your mouse over the map to show how the area looked in 1894.)