Welcome to Heartlands. This park connects Bourton Park with the town centre. The town and river have changed a lot since the 1800s. The weir that can be seen in Cornwall Meadows car park, just across the footbridge, was to keep a high water level for the Buckingham Branch of the Grand Junction Canal. The island below the bridge was originally where the canal feed and the river divided. The canal was built in 1801, it quickly became very important to the agricultural area of Buckingham, carrying 20,000 tons of cargo each year. It started an industrial revolution because new imports were often cheaper and included coal, stone, and bricks, while farmers and factories could also export their products more easily. The canal was also used as a disposal point for sewage, which must have been a bit smelly for local residents. However, once the railway was built it virtually destroyed the canal and it was disused from 1931 before being finally abandoned in the 1960s.

The world has gone through three industrial revolutions so far and each of these big changes is the result of revolutionary inventions. In the first, we learned how to use water and steam to power machines. The second revolution used coal, gas, and electric power, and in the third came technology. There’s a fourth in progress now, and it is building on the third with the development of artificial intelligence.

Just for fun: Why was the robot bankrupt? Because it had used all its cache!