All Hail This Grand Day (Croydon Canal) All hail this grand day when with gay colours flying, The barges are seen on the current to glide, When with fond emulation all parties are vying, To make our canal of Old England the pride. Chorus : Long down its fair stream may the rich vessel glide, And the Croydon Canal be of England the pride. And may it long flourish, while commerce caressing, Adorns its gay banks with her wealth-bringing stores; To Croydon, and all round the country a blessing, May industry's sons ever thrive on its shore! And now my good fellows sure nothing is wanting To heighten our mirth and our blessings crown, But with the gay belles on its banks to be flaunting When spring smiles again on this high-favoured town. The Croydon Canal opened on 22nd October 1809 and ran from a junction with the Grand Surrey Canal near new Cross Gate to a basin which was situated on a site now occupied by West Croydon station and an adjoining bus station. With 28 locks grouped into two flights, and numerous swing bridges, the canal linked the Thames to Croydon via Forest Hill, Sydenham, and Anerley. It was a financial failure, the £100 shares falling in value to just two shillings in 1830. The proprietors realised that the coming of the railways was an opportunity not to be missed, and they sold the canal for use as the course of a railway. It closed on 22nd August 1836. Today if you take the stopping train from London Bridge to West Croydon you will follow the route, for much of the way, of the Croydon Canal. There is little trace of it left - only a few remnants remain. This song was composed by a 'gentleman' to celebrate the Croydon Canal. It was sung at the opening in October 1809 by Mr J Walsh, one of the proprietors. Words to be found in ‘Canal Songs’ by Jon Raven. An account of the Opening which includes the words of the song was published in the ‘The Statesman’, published 27 Oct 1809. Recorded on :
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