Iron Trunk Aqueduct
The Iron Trunk Aqueduct is a magnificent Georgian structure, which carries the Grand Union Canal over the River Ouse. Built in 1811 by canal engineer Benjamin Beavan, following the collapse of the previous brick-built structure, the aqueduct stands at an impressive 10.8 metres high and connects Wolverton with Cosgrove Village.
Back in December 1799 before the aqueduct was in place, boaters would have to navigate a series of temporary locks which would lower the canal down to the River Ouse. They would then cross over the river and then up a second flight of locks to rejoin the canal. This was time consuming, used a lot of water and was difficult to navigate when the river was in flood. When the aqueduct opened, it generated an income of £400 a month (equivalent to £13,500 in today’s money) by charging for the extra amount of cargo the canal was able to carry.
In 2011 the Iron Trunk Aqueduct celebrated its bicentenary with a £300,000 programme of improvement works. The works include refurbishing the aqueduct and restoring it to its original colours. Local schools and organisations got involved with the project and helped to produce information panels and develop new waterway walks using existing pathways.
Find out more about the aqueduct
Download these PDFs to find out more about the men who invested in the canal and the aqueduct, the engineers and navies who made it and the boatmen who worked on the canal.
- The men of vision who invested in the Grand Junction Canal
- Engineers who made the Iron Trunk
- The navvies who built the canal
- The boatmen who made the Iron Trunk Aqueduct
School children and the aqueduct
The pupils of Cosgrove Village Primary School are anticipating world-wide fame, having been actively involved in the Iron Trunk Aqueduct Restoration Project recently completed by the Canal & River Trust. The Grand Union Canal runs through their village and the Iron Trunk Aqueduct is just a short walk from their school.
In January 2012 they got involved in an exciting programme researching and developing learning resources about the Iron Trunk. They quickly got stuck in, doing all the research themselves, developing activities, writing worksheets and producing information sheets for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils. They also wrote five audio mini plays which are available to download below and from the interpretive panels at the Iron Trunk Aqueduct.
- Discover the motivations of the businessmen who financed the building of the Grand Junction Canal
- Hear William Jessop and James Barnes, the engineers who designed and built the Grand Junction Canal, talking about their grand plans
- Listen to Benjamin Bevan, the engineer who designed the third aqueduct, the Iron Trunk that’s still in use today
- Learn about the work of the navvies, the men who built the canal
- Find out about the life of children who lived on working boats on the canal