Picture perfect record of Grand Union Canal

THESE picturesque snaps of Dacorum’s historic waterway are the latest images to be added to an environmental group’s photo archive.

A large section of the Grand Union Canal is captured in pictures recently added to the Chiltern Society’s website.

The latest canal pictures added to the Chiltern Society's website.

The latest canal pictures added to the Chiltern Society's website.

The images will be used for generations to come to document how the landscape changes over the years.

A team of camera enthusiasts took the snaps – they form part of PhotoGroup, which is an arm of the society.

These latest pictures involved five dedicated snappers – John Fitzgerald, Quiller Barrett, Edna Sansom and David and Lin Roberts – who took a total of 116 images over a nine month period during 2011.

Spokesman for the group Barry Hunt said: “It is such a photogenic subject. You have the contrast of the colourful narrowboats and the interesting locks and towpaths. There are a lot of interesting buildings like lock keepers’ cottages and old derelict warehouses – it makes for an interesting subject.”

Originally called the Grand Junction, the canal was constructed in the late 18th century to provide a short cut from the Oxford Canal at Braunston to the Thames at Brentford.

The online images are divided into four sections covering the canal from Pitstone to Tring Station, Tring Station to Berkhamsted, Berkhamsted to Kings Langley and Kings Langley to Harefield.

PhotoGroup’s archive contains almost 5,000 images taken over many years at more than 40 locations in the Chilterns. In 2011 alone a total of 384 pictures were published to the website.

Mr Hunt said: “It is unique. As far as our area is concerned it is probably the most comprehensive collection of pictures.

“It is an extremely valuable resource. We are not necessarily taking picture postcards or chocolate box pictures, it is warts and all.

“There are pictures of shopping centres – an example might be looking down a street and there are quite a lot of to-let signs and that is just a symptom of the times. In 30 or 40 years’ time it might look totally different but there are also places that hardly change.”

“We are interested in the true reflection of a place because that is part of the social history.”

Every month around 1,000 unique users from all over the UK and across the world, including America, Canada and Australia, visit the website.

The Chiltern Society, with around 6,500 members, is an environmental group that works to protect the Chilterns’ countryside. It covers 650 square miles across Herts, Bucks, Beds and South Oxfordshire.

To view more pictures visit www.chilternphoto.org.uk