A Canal is Born: Plans for the Grand Junction Canal were made public in the April of 1792 in a review in the Northampton Mercury. This review was based on a survey carried out by James Barnes of Banbury. The survey was commissioned and paid for by the Marquis of Buckingham with the purpose of improving communications in the area.

Having received a favourable response, the first public meeting was held in the Bull Inn, Stony Stratford on the 20 July 1792. So many people turned up for the meeting that it had to be moved to the Parish Church. The survey was presented and approved. The outcome of this meeting was to apply for an Act of Parliament to enable the canal to be built. A committee was setup by the sponsors the main appointments being:-

Chairman: William Praed MP
Solicitors and Clerk: Edward Oakley Gray of Buckingham and Acton Chaplin of Aylesbury
Treasurer: Philip Box of Buckingham

The Act of Parliament was passed on the 30 April 1793. This allowed for the building of the Grand Junction Canal’s main line, from the Oxford Canal at Braunston to the Thames at Brentford. The Act also included four branches, one being from Cosgrove to Old Stratford. The main line was to be built to the following dimensions:-

Top Width 42ft
Bottom Width 28ft
Depth 41/2ft
Lock Width 141/2ft
Lock Length 80ft

The canal was built to these dimension to enable it to be used by Thames or Trent barges.

Three more branches were added to the Grand Junction Canal by a second Act of Parliament in March 1794. This Act included the branch from Old Stratford to Buckingham.