In 1932 part of Greywell Tunnel collapsed. There had been a fall
in the 1870s caused by a small pond above the tunnel near its western
end, the drainage culverts from which had become blocked. Repairs had
been made, and the pond drained, but after the long years of neglect,
the trouble recurred.
[more on the tunnel]
This time, the opportunity was taken to sell off
portions of the Canal west of Greywell. The wharf at Basingstoke
was sold in 1936, and is now the site of a bus station.
SECOND WORLD WAR DEFENCES
The Canal had a very different potential use in the Second World War.
It formed part of a line of defences, built in the summer of 1940 before
the Battle of Britain, to harass the enemy and protect London and the
industrial areas in the event of invasion.
The line ran from near Middlesborough
in Yorkshire to the Wash and Cambridge, then east of London and to Maidstone,
and across southern England to Bristol.
Remains of the defences can be seen along the Canal in the Crookham
and Dogmersfield areas. There are pill-boxes, concrete tank-traps,
and, until the towpath was upgraded, the remains of 4-foot wooden posts set in concrete at close intervals
along the towpath.