Grand Union Canal, Crick, Northamptonshire, England

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (18)

Ian Stehbens on June 2, 2007

The Grand Union Canal passes beneath the A428 at Crick, Northamptonshire. To continue north one comes to the North Kilworth wharf, where cargos were once loaded and blacksmiths wielded their heavy craft. A short distance from here in the direction of London, the canal passes through the Watford Gap in a long tunnel. Today heavy traffic speeds by on the M1, M45 and A5 whilst the heavy freight is loaded and unloaded locally in the Daventry Rail Freight Terminal only a mile from here.

Ian Stehbens on November 16, 2007

I received a suggestion from a viewer using Google Earth that this image was probably taken at Elkington which is about 4 miles further up the canal from Crick. The viewer indicated that the canal is steel lined at Crick. As I have never been to Elkington, it cannot be there, and my journey along the A438 crossed the canal here at Crick. My road atlas annotations confirm this. So for the time being it has to remain geotagged here. There are two comments that may or may not be relevant to the issue of steel lining: the image was taken in 1978 - so perhaps the lining has been added since then, and the photo was taken with a 200mm lens so the foreshortening may contribute to this debate, by bringing into view a section perhaps 100m beyond the lined section. Should the reviewer or others read this, I would welcome further discussion. I am happy to be corrected. Ian

dave spence on October 25, 2008

Hi Ian, I've no wish to enter the debate re the exact positioning of the above pic as I can see from your mapping that it's in the right area...but did you know that because you've labelled this pic....Crick,Northampton, when it should be Northamptonshire, Panoramio have positioned a second copy of your pic bang in the middle of Northampton?! Regards, Dave Spence (Rugby resident)

Ian Stehbens on October 25, 2008

Thanks very much Dave. Are you able to copy and paste the http:// address for me by which you see this photo in the centre of Northampton, please?

I really appreciate the feedback. And by the way, I loved Rugby during my 1978 sojourn - 30 years, how time flies!

Ian in Sydney

Ian Stehbens on October 25, 2008

Further to the above response, Dave, I noticed that this is one of the pictures included in the Wikipedia stub on Northampton. In that case, I guess it is legitmate for they include pictures of the place and the environs to illustrate that it is the county seat for Northamptonshire.

And apart from my interest in this piece of my photography, I recently discovered that a line of my wife's ancestors (Staines) had come from North Kilworth where the family had settled as the/a blacksmith after being employed on the construction of the GU Canal. As best I can fathom, Mr Staines had previously lived in East London, and it was the canal's construction that relocated him and his family. One of his daughters became a personal maid to the wife of one of the Admiralty, William Dobson. Subsequently Frances Staines was sponsored by the Dobsons to migrate to Sydney, where Dobson had interests and a residence.



dave spence on November 3, 2008

Glad you enjoyed Rugby, Ian, I made a trip out to Crick last week & have taken a few pics of the canal area & sofar posted 3 on this site.

I tried to recapture your pic of 1978 but when I got home I realised you must have been on the towpath, whereas I stood on the bridge. Nonetheless it can be clearly seen that the reeds/bullrushes on the right that intrude across the water, are still there. The steel lining has been added since your pic due to the greatly increased boat traffic in the area now. The hedgerow alongside the towpath has grown enormously.

A large marina NNE of the bridge has been added & on Google Earth I counted over 120 boats moored there!

Another of my pics shows the Edwards restaurant adjacent to the bridge. Was that there in 1978?



Ian Stehbens on November 4, 2008

Thanks Dave! I am so pleased that you have made the trip and taken some pictures that are very special for me. Thankyou. I am pleased to settle that this is a picture taken at Crick. I am a geographer so my map annotations are reliable even if my memory can be blurred after 30 years.

There was a pub there as I recall, but I don't know that it was called the Edwards Restuarant - I rather think that it wasn't but I didn't visit it either for a drink or pub grub, as I was existing on "$10 per day" and that covered my fuel. School dinners were welcome everyday, for I was in Britain to speak and perform in schools introducing, as live Australiana, the children to Australia. It was one of the greatest and highly privileged years of my life!

The development of the marina is post 1978, and the canal and the countryside certainly deserve that kind of injection in tourism infrastructure.

Most appreciatively,


dave spence on November 5, 2008

G'day Ian! I'm really pleased you enjoyed my pics :-)

I smiled when I got to the bridge & the first thing I saw was boats tied up & someone walking a dog as in your pic! Yes the bridge has a waisted shape & I stood on the west side.

My feeling was that Edwards would have been a pub/inn back in 1978. I shall pop back there sometime & enquire re the history for you.

Each year in the summer the Crick Boat Show is a very large event here & they have even built flats for the 'fine weather' users of the canals, so they can moor up in the winter at the new marina & live in a centrally heated place.

When I walk alongside the canal these days I smile at the number of narrow boat owners that have satellite dishes on the roof! All mod cons!

I've been looking at your fabulous folder of worldwide pics & I really enjoy the descriptive writings that you add to so many of them. I find myself wishing I could visit these places too.

You've inspired me to upload more of my pics.

Best Regards,


pedrocut on February 6, 2009


Had a quick look at the canal photo, and went to this site for old maps. Enter Crick and select Crick Northampton

You can move and zoom, and if I am right about the locality of the bridge, ther edoes not seem to be a pup there. But check it out!

Regards, Peter

Ian Stehbens on February 6, 2009

Dear Peter,

I think your old map to which you refer has the Grand Union Inn identified, and my Road Atlas from 1978 certainly has an Inn near the Crick Bridge. As I recall, and I maybe thinking of another place where I stopped to take photos, the pub or restaurant was on the western side of the road. Doesn't matter, for I didn't even go in for a drink. Maybe next time, I'll dine at the Edwards.


pedrocut on February 6, 2009


The Grand Union Inn is certainly there. Note that too much time on the PC takes its toll of the eyes. So beware of that GEOGRAPH site!

Well now we at least know the name of the Inn that many a bargee would have wet his whistle!

Regards Peter.

Chuckels on July 24, 2009

Hi Ian, I've read with interest the comments regarding the location etc. of the photo you took in 1978, but so far nobody has commented on what a great shot it is. Let me be the first to say, "What a great shot" The overcast sky gives the picture a wonderful atmosphere, contrasted by the bright red narrowboat and the marvelous reflection. Well done. Best regards Chuckles, from Ontario Canada

Ian Stehbens on July 24, 2009

I very much appreciate your affirmation, Chuckles, and of course your astute observation of the conversation. This was a considered composition, though with the woman and her dog on the move I had to act quickly. As it was in film days and I was existing on a small scholarship income that year in UK, I only took the one photo. I didn't want the woman in yellow to be reflected for I wanted her as the single focal point of the construction. I was pleased with the result and I am pleased that you are too. So thanks again.

Regards from Australia,


Lucie424 on March 13, 2010

Hi Ian, This is a lovely picture. I am studying this particular stretch of the canal at Crick for some research I am doing as a student at The University of Northampton. It was so interesting to find you picture of the site and to see how it was 30 years ago. I would like to include your picture in my project work and wondered if I could have your permission to do so? I will of course reference the picture as yours.

Kind regards, Lucie

Ian Stehbens on March 13, 2010

Dear Lucie,

Just before I had my dinner tonight, I had my 3 Miles to One Inch Road Atlas of Great Britain out, and I paused to look at Crick again. It has my 1978 annotation: "photo on canal". That year, my vehicle was a bit slow for the M1 so as I travelled around I'd prefer the A428 or the A508, if I had enough time. My love for that delightful area is still with me.

I am delighted that you are now able to make good use of the image. Please do. I hope it gives your research a little encouragement. And thanks for maintaining copyright etiquette.

I would be very interested to learn of your field of research. Please tell me a little more about your work.



PS: If you ever see Piefleet around, please let me know.

Lucie424 on March 15, 2010

Dear Ian,

Thank you very much for your permission to use your picture.

I spent quite abit of time visiting stretches on the Grand Union and the Ashby-de-la-Zouch canal surveying in the summer and Crick was probably one of my favourite sites.

I'm investigating how Water voles (a protected species over here) use canals as habitats so had to visit lots of canal sites to find if water voles were there or not and record what the site was like. Your picture, along with Dave Spence's recent one at the same place really demonstrate how canal habitats have changed over the years and the troubles these little creatures face.

Thank you again for letting me use it.

Best wishes,


pedrocut on March 15, 2010

Hi Ian

Ian this was one of the first of your pictures that I looked at, and it is great to see that it is still generating interest.

What a great thing Lucie is undertaking, and if it is any help for her I have at present 136 photos of English Canals that may be of use to her.

Best wishes, Peter

Ian Stehbens on March 16, 2010

Dear Lucie,

I am even more delighted that you will be using this photo to illustrate your project, now that I know the research work you are doing. First, I need to say that while Grand Union Canal was known to me, the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal was unknown. And the vole was unknown too. So you have had me doing some Wikipedia reading, and now I am curious.

I cannot begin to imagine how you would observe voles, other than by the evidence of their active burrows. Are they nocturnal or diurnal?

From what I have read I presume the defunct part of the A-Z Canal to Moira may be an excellent habitat for them.

I wish you well with your project, and one day when you have time available, I'd love to learn of your discoveries.

I note, Peter, who has walked around much of GB, has a few images of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal near near Stoke Golding. I can presume you have many images as well.

I am pleased to give you a flashback to 32 years ago, before the canal at Crick was "upgraded" for marinas.

Best wishes,


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Photo taken in Crick, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN6, UK

Photo details

  • Uploaded on June 2, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens