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Waterways Chronology from 1767 to 1776

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Chronology Index

1767

River Ancholme

The Ancholme Navigation was promoted under an Act.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

James Brindley

Surveyed the line of the canal.

Cod Beck

John, junior Smith

He supported Richard Firth in giving evidece for the parliamentary Bill.

Coventry Canal

James Brindley

Surveyed the route for the canal.

River Don

John, senior Smith

It was agreed to allow him 3 shillings and 6 pence for every day he worked in his old age.

Driffield Navigation

Authorised by an Act.

Droitwich Canal

James Brindley

Surveyed the route for the canal and is said to have produced alternative estimates for a barge and a narrow canal.

River Lee

Promoted under Act.

Oxford Canal

James Brindley

Surveyed the route for the canal.

River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Promoted by Act.

Ripon Canal

John, junior Smith

He was appointed resident engineer for the canal and Ure Navigation.

Ripon Canal

Promoted by Act.

River Swale

John, junior Smith

He was appointed engineer.

River Ure

Promoted by an Act to extend the Yorkshire Ouse Navigation.

Ripon Canal

John Smeaton

He gave evidence to parliament for the Ure and Ripon Canal Act.

River Swale

John Grundy

He gave evidence on the Bill for the navigation estimating the cost as 19,844.

River Ure

John Smeaton

He gave evidence to parliament for the Ure and Ripon Canal Act.

Trent and Mersey Canal

James Brindley

In a letter of the 2nd March Josiah Wedgwood expresses concern that Brindley is endangering his life and health through over work. On the 2nd of April he says "Poor Mr Brindley was not well enough to attend the Committee".

Ripon Canal

William Jessop

The Act for the Ure and Ripon Canal was passed based on his survey.

River Ure

William Jessop

The Act for the Ure and Ripon Canal was passed based on his survey.

BCN Main Line

James Brindley

Following his survey he put forward two possible lines and recommended the route from New-Hall, over Birmingham Heath, through the Smethwick, Oldbury, Tipon Green and Bilston areas to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. The cost was estimated at 50,000.

Driffield Navigation

Richard Porter

He was appointed engineer, a post he only held for six weeks.

Driffield Navigation

Samuel Allam

Became resident engineer on John Grundy's recommendation.

River Lee

Thomas Yeoman

He was elected surveyor and collector for the new river trustees.

Stockton & Darlington Canal Project

James Brindley

Brindley was asked to do a survey and sent Robert Whitworth.

1768

Anson Branch (BCN)

Authorised under the Birmingham Canal Act.

Digbeth Branch Canal

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act.

Gower Branch Canal (BCN)

Authorised under the Birmingham Canal Act.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Promoted by Act.

Old Main Line (BCN)

Samuel Simcock

He and Robert Whitworth worked as James Brindley's assistants on the canal.

Old Main Line (BCN)

Robert Whitworth

He and Samuel Simcock worked as James Brindley's assistants on the canal.

Titford Canal (BCN)

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act of 1768 but completed in 1837.

Wednesbury Old Canal (BCN)

Built under the Birmingham Canal Act.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Longbotham

Around this time he did a survey for a 2 mile 5 furlong canal with 20 from Godley bridge, near Halifax, to the Calder navigation. This was probably done on behalf of a private group of promoters or single promoter.

Coventry Canal

Promoted by Act.

Donnington Wood Canal

Probably completed about 1768.

Droitwich Canal

Authorised by an Act.

English & Bristol Channels Ship Canal

James Brindley

He was asked by a group of Taunton men to survey a line for an inter-channel canal but the survey was done by his assistant, Robert Whitworth.

English & Bristol Channels Ship Canal

Robert Whitworth

He did a survey after James Brindley, for whom he was an assistant, was asked by a group of Taunton men to survey a line for an inter-channel canal.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Thomas Yeoman

He surveyed and reported on the line of the canal.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Robert Whitworth

He did most of the field work for John Longbotham's plan for the canal.

River Nene

John Smeaton

He reported on the outfall and the drainage of the North Level and estimating a cost of 20,695 for his proposed solution.

River Ouse (Sussex)

John Smeaton

He suggested land drainage improvements and that there should be a lock at Piddinghoe but the lock was not built.

Oxford Canal (Northern Section)

Robert Whitworth

He produced a survey showing alternative lines from The Coventry Canal to Hillmorton, the shorter one, from Gosford Green, being 15¾ miles on one level. Compare this with the 26½ mile canal that was actually built between these points.

Sir John Glynne's Canal

Built about 1768.

River Swale

John Jackson

As resident engineer he started work on Topcliffe Lock but had problems getting workmen and with the fluctuating river levels which made delivery of materials difficult.

Coventry Canal

Joseph Parker

He was appointed Clerk of Works and sent to Hugh Henshall for a months training.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

He planned a route from the Aire & Calder Navigation at Leeds to Liverpool via Gargrave, down the valley of the Lancashire rivers Calder and Ribble to near Preston and Ormskirk.

Coventry Canal

James Brindley

Appointed engineer and surveyor at 150 a year and undertook to give at least two months attendance in each whole year.

Droitwich Canal

John Priddey

He was appointed engineer with a salary of 190 a year.

BCN Main Line

James Brindley

Appointed engineer at 200 a year.

Droitwich Canal

James Brindley

Appointed Inspector of Works.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Smeaton

He surveyed the river following the February floods which he reported as "higher than any flood in man's memory, of of which there is any tradition".

Forth & Clyde Canal

James Brindley

Surveyed a route proposing 4 feet deep canal with lock dues of 1.5 old pence a ton.

1769

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

Thomas Yeoman

He made a survey for a canal from Leeds to Selby and gave a preliminary estimate of 65,350.

BCN Main Line

From Aldersley to Deepfields Junction was constructed as part of the original Main Line, by Brindley.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Wednesbury Branch opened.

Old Main Line (BCN)

Engineered by James Brindley and opened in November 1769.

Wednesbury Old Canal (BCN)

Completed.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Smeaton

He supported the Bill in parliament which became the Act giving powers to extend the navigation to Sowerby Bridge, raise extra capital and change the name of the waterway to "The Company of Proprietors of the Calder & Hebble Navigation".

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Promoted by an Act.

Coventry Canal

Samuel Bull

Was appointed assistant to Edmund Lingard working on the construction of the canal.

English & Bristol Channel canal schemes

Robert Whitworth

He looked at a proposal for a canal from the Parrett near Langport to Seaton, but not connecting to the sea there.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

John Varley

He was commissioned to survey and estimate a canal from the Don to Cinder Bridge (Greasbrough Ings) on the road from Greasbrough to Rawmarsh or to the nearby Sough bridge. He proposed a 1½ mile canal with three locks each with an 8 to 9 foot fall.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

Surveyed by John Varley for the Marquees of Rockingham .

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Robert Carr, junior

He and Luke Holt were appointed surveyors or resident engineers to rebuild and complete the navigation after flood damage.

Kymer's Canal

Opened.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Henry Berry

Engaged, with Richard Melling, to check P P Burdett's revised line for the western end of the canal.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Eyes

Did a survey with Richard Melling for a line of canal that went through Burnley. Their survey was checked by Robert Whitwoth who found a 35 feet error in the levels at Rishton.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Robert Whitworth

He was sent by Brindley to check the line surveyed by John Eyes and Richard Melling and found that there was an error of 35 feet in the height of Burnley embankment.

River Nene

Thomas Yeoman

He agreed that no permanent solution to flooding on the river could be found until the obstructions at Wisbech were removed.He also recommended a navigable sluice above Guyhirne and a side cut through Wisbech.

Oxford Canal

Promoted by Act.

River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Navigation from Widdington Ings to Swale Nab opened.

River Stort

Fully open.

River Swale

John, junior Smith

He estimated that 25,000 was needed to complete the navigation in addition to the 11,400 already spent.

Taunton - Uphill Canal project

Robert Whitworth

He surveyed a line for the canal under James Brindley's supervision and produced routes from Topsham on the Exe or from Exeter past Cullompton or Tiverton to Wellington and Taunton. The Tone Navigation was the to be used to take craft to Burrow Bridge and from there a second canal would go past Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Wells and Axbridge to Uphill near Weston-Super-Mare.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

He was appointed as James Brindley's assistant.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Richard Melling

Did a survey with John Eyes for a line of canal that went through Burnley. Their survey was checked by Robert Whitwoth who found a 35 feet error in the levels at Rishton.

Coventry Canal

Edmund Lingard

He was appointed engineer.

Coventry Canal

Thomas Yeoman

He was called in to advise the company for a few months.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Richard Melling

Engaged, with Henry Berry, to check P P Burdett's revised line for the western end of the canal.

Chesterfield Canal

John Grundy

He proposed a line from Chesterfield to the Trent that was over five miles shorter and 23,430 cheaper than the line that Brindley proposed but it did not include Worksop or Retford on the route.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Brindley

He largely approved John Longbotham's plan for the canal.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

James Brindley largely approved his plan for the canal.

River Swale

John Jackson

He completed Topcliffe Lock and keels were able to reach Topcliffe bridge. Shortly after he resigned his post of engineer.

River Lee

Edward Rubie

Was appointed assistant to Thomas Yeoman at a salary of 80 a year and was given 21 for removal expenses from Portsmouth.

Oxford Canal

James Brindley

Subscribed for 3,000 worth of shares

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Luke Holt

The navigation company committee nominated him and Robert Carr as surveyors or resident engineers.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Robert Carr, junior

The navigation company committee nominated him and Luke Holt as surveyors or resident engineers.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

He and James King, the clerk of works, were told to set out the canal from Longford "in as Strait a Line as the Ground will permit".

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Richard Beck

Instructed to assist P P Burdett in a survey for the canal.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Brindley

He was called in by the Yorkshire committee to advise on a new line surveyed on the instruction of the Lancashire committee. He asked Robert Whitworth to check the line.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

P P Burdett

Instructed to survey a proposed line for the canal assisted by Richard Beck.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

Took a letter to James Brindley, on behalf of some of the Lancashire committee, asking for his views on proposed changes to the Lancashire part of the canal route.

BCN Main Line

James Brindley

The canal committee observed "That Mr Brindley has frequently passed by, and sometimes come into Town, without giving them an opportunity of meeting to confer with him upon the progress of this undertaking" and "expressing their dissatisfaction at not being able to see him at such times".

Stockton & Darlington Canal Project

James Brindley

Having checked Robert Whitworth's survey a joint report is issued proposing a 26 mile 7 furlong canal for 25 ton narrowboats.

Stockton & Darlington Canal Project

Robert Whitworth

Brindley having checked his survey, a joint report is issued proposing a 26 mile 7 furlong canal for 25 ton narrowboats.

Chesterfield Canal

James Brindley

Presented to a meeting at Worksop the plans and estimates resulting from his survey. The line was to run from Chesterfield, through a tunnel at Norwood, past Shireoaks, Worksop and East Retford to Stockwith on the Trent. The cost was estimated at 100,000.

Coventry Canal

James Brindley

Dissmissed as engineer by the company.

River Ancholme

Joseph Page

The lock house at Ferriby was completed under his direction.

River Stort

Thomas Yeoman

He had completed the 15 locks and other works to make the river navigable from Bishop's Stortford to the Lee.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Brindley

A meeting was held at the Black Bull in Burnley at which his estimates for the rival Lancashire lines were given. 174,324 for the 66 miles proposed by John Longbotham and 240,881 for P P Burdett's 83 miles.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

It was agreed at a general meeting that his line for the canal should be adopted.

1770

Andover Canal

Robert Whitworth

He made a survey for a canal down the Anton and Test valleys to Redbridge at the mouth of theTest near Southampton. He estimated 28,982 for a narrow canal and 31,654 for a broad.

Basingstoke Canal

Benjamin Davis

Surveyed a line from Basingstoke to Monkey Island, below Bray on the River Thames. It was to be a 29 mile barge canal that was estimated to cost 51,000. He chose Monkey Island as the point to join the Thames as it was were the proposed Reading to Isleworth canal was to cross the Thames.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Longbotham

He surveyed two possible branches one betweem Birstall and Dewsbury and the other to Bradford via Cleckheaton the Spen valley.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Opened from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge.

Driffield Navigation

Completed.

General Warde's (Dafen) Canal

Probably opened prior to 1770.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

He is appointed clerk of works and later when James Brindley asked to be relieved from his post as cheif engineer he takes on this role as well.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Promoted by Act.

Monkland Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Newdigate Canals

Mostly built between 1770 and 1795.

Ripon Canal

William Jessop

did a survey for the canal and the Ure navigation while working for Smeaton.

Ripon Canal

William Jessop, while working as assistant to John Smeaton, did a survey for the canal and the Ure navigation,

Salisbury & Southampton Canal

James Brindley

He was approached to survey the line for this canal but was too busy and offered anassistant.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Trent and Mersey Canal

River Trent Aqueduct opened 24 June

Coventry Canal

Joseph Parker

He left his post of Clerk of Works.

London Canal Project

James Brindley

He was asked by the city of London to suggest how navigation of the lower Thames could be improved. In June he proposed a by-pass canal, for craft of 200 tons, from Monkey Island, below Maidenhead, to Isleworth. He estimated the cost at 47,885 including branches to the river at Windsor and Staines.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Brindley

Was appointed chief engineer with a salary of 400. Afterwards he asked to be released from this commitment and the job went to the clerk of works, John Longbotham.

Oxford Canal

James Brindley

He sent his resignation to the company following a minute that they issued saying "the Engineer Surveyor and Clerks of this Company do not associate or drink with any of the Inferior Officers or Workmen". The company appologised for any offence caused and the resignation blew over.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Smeaton

He surveyed the newly openned line to Sowerby Bridge and found "the River now put into as good a State of Security as could possibly be expected in the Time and is indeed in the General in a very defensible Condition".

Cyfarthfa Canal

Built by Anthony Bacon to connect his iron works to the coal pits and opened in the late 1770s.

1771

Bradford Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Smeaton

He was asked the best way to supply water to the summit at Sowerby Bridge and advised the construction of a "Tunnel made in the way of an Adit or Sough, such as those made for draining Collieries" from Hollis Mill through the high ground. It was started in June 1772 and was completed in March 1774.

Chesterfield Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Droitwich Canal

Opened.

River Lee

Benjamin Lewis

Was appointed Engineer following Thomas Yeoman in the post.

River Nene

Langley Edwards

He reported on the problems with the river outfall.

River Nene

Mr Utting

He ageed that no permanent solution to flooding on the river could be found until the obstructions at Wisbech were removed.

Reading - Monkey Island Canal project

Joseph Nickalls

Successfully opposed the canal BIll on behalf of the Thames Commissioners. He said that there would be an increased danger of flooding at Bray and that miller's income would fall to a point where they could not maintain flash locks. He also put forward the Commissioner's own plans for improvements.

Reading - Monkey Island Canal project

Robert Whitworth

He had done the survey for the canal and now supported the Bill before parliament. He thought a 120-ton barge would take 6 hours to travel the canal from Reading to Monkey Island for a toll of ½d per mile.He said it sometimes took 3 hours to pass one flash lock on the Thames.

Trent and Mersey Canal

James Brindley

Proposed a canal from Swarkestone to Chesterfield, which would have by-passed both the Trent and the Derwent. It was opposed on the grounds that river navigations were much cheaper.

Chesterfield Canal

James Brindley

Engaged for superintending the Execution of the Works.

Coventry Canal

Thomas Yeoman

He was called in to advise on the route from Atherstone to Fradley and recommended a new route to Polesworth and replacing the Tame aqueduct by a level crossing of the river.

BCN Main Line

James Brindley

Together with Samuel Simcock he denies that the canal was built with many windings to increase tolls. They said that the canal winding enabled it to serve more people.

BCN Main Line

Samuel Simcock

Together with James Brindley he denies that the canal was built with many windings to increase tolls. They said that the canal winding enabled it to serve more people.

Bradford Canal

John Longbotham

He was consulted on the engineering aspects of the canal.

River Lee

Thomas Yeoman

He resigned from his post of surveyor.

Lancaster Canal

James Brindley

He was approached to do the survey for the canal but it was carried out by Robert Whitworth.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

John Smeaton

He reported on the state of the navigation saying "the original projectors.. ., not having had any notion of the extensive trade that was likely to be carried on by means thereof. . . formed their plan upon too diminutive a scale, and particularly with respect to depth. . . of water". There were many shallow lock sills giving only 2 ft 6 in depth at normal summer water and there was shoaling below the locks, which he Thought due to "endeavouring to save locks in point of number, and to save length of cutting". Of the lack of water in the tideway below Haddlesey lock, he said that in ordinary dry seasons "there will not be two feet of water up to Haddlesey lock at high water neap tides". At Weeland, about a mile below the limits of the Aire & Calder, there was another shoal "over which, though the neap tides sensibly flow, yet they do not make, in the whole, above two feet depth of water". In dry seasons when little flow of fresh water, flashes had to be provided but, perhaps only two a week due to millers' requirements and of the need to keep pounds up, "wherefore, vessels will be frequently from Stock Reach to Leeds or Wakelield, a week or more in making good their passage, that otherwise would be performed in fifteen hours". This he considered resulted in was underemployment of boats and men, delays and expense.

1772

James Brindley died.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

William Jessop

He surveyed the river on behalf of John Smeaton and recommended a 7.25 mile canal between Haddlesey and Newland near the mouth of the Aire.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Longbotham

He was employed to make a survey for the proposed Leeds & Selby Canal. His canal was to take 50 or 60-ton craft over a 23 mile 1 furlong route which included a long aqueduct and a 400 yard tunnel at an estimated cost of 59,468.

Chester Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Caldon Branch - Trent and Mersey Canal

James Brindley

Survey the route for the canal, during which he caught a chill that led to his death.

River Derwent

Isaac Milbourn

He and Thomas Tofield were employed by local landowners to advise on improving the river for drainage. They also considered seeking new powers for completing the original proposed navigation from Malton to Scarborough.

River Derwent

Thomas Tolfield

He and Isaac Milbourn were employed by local landowners to advise on improving the river for drainage. They also considered seeking new powers for completing the original proposed navigation from Malton to Scarborough.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

William Jessop

He was called in check John Longbotham's levels between Shaw Green and Liverpool.

Lancaster Canal

Robert Whitworth

He did a survey and put foward a plan for a line from the Leeds & Liverpool at near Eccleston crossing the Ribble below Penwortham Bridge then west towards Kirkham before turning north then east to Barton. The canl then continued north to Lancaster where it crossed the Lune just below Skerton Bridge.The long 54½ mile pound ended with a rise of 86 feet at Tewitfield before another level pound covered the last 18 miles to Kendal. The committee asked him to find an easier crossing of the Lune and he proposed a higher line locking up 24 feet from the Ribble, a shorter looptowards Kirkham but an additional loop up the Lune to Halton where a shorter aqueduct was needed. This reduced the rise at Tewitfield to 62 feet and the whole rise was around ½ mile longer.

Llechryd Canal

Built about 1772.

Market Weighton Canal

John Smeaton

He was suggested as consultant engineer for the canal but the idea was rejected on grounds of cost.

Market Weighton Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads

Promoted by Act.

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Fully opened.

River Severn

Promoted by Act.

Stevenston Canal

Completed.

Shropshire Union Dee Branch

Authorised by the Chester Canal Act of 1 April 1772.

River Ure

Navigation from Swale Nab to the Ripon Canal opened.

Went Canal project

John, junior Smith

He surveyed a proposed 24 mile canal with 19 locks from Wakefield through the Went valley to the Dutch River at Went Mouth. The locks were to be 15 feet 6 inches wide and 56 feet long. A broad tunnel 2,128 yards long was also included in the plan which was estimated to cost 36,414 for the whole navigation.

Chesterfield Canal

John Varley

Following Brindley's death he moved from his post of Clerk of Works to become resident engineer with Hugh Henshall.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

John Smeaton

He reports that he has aimed "to procure the essential of a navigation, the means of keeping vessels always afloat" and proposed improvements that would give 3 ft 6 in to ft of water, to take craft carrying 30 to 45 tons. These included dredging, rebuilding some mill locks, new cuts, especially a by-pass canal, to avoid low water and shoals, from just above Haddlesey lock to run on the south side of the river to Gowdall above Snaith with two locks or a similar one on the north side from Chapel Haddlesey to Newland beyond Rawcliffe. There was to be a second by-pass with one lock from Brotherton on the north side nf the river below Knottingley because "the Water is in general so shallow, that it becomes necessary, not only to raise the Water higher by temporary Boards placed on Beal Dam below, but to let down Flashes from the Mill Dam to carry the Vessels over the Shallows; and, for want of suflicient Water for the Purpose, the Vessels are often detained there in their passage many Days together". He also recommended cuts at Leeds (¼ mile, with a lock to replace the old one), Knostrop (7 furlongs, with two new locks to replace three old ones at mills), Woodlesford (1½ miles, with two new locks to replace two old ones), Methley (¾ mile, with floodgates and a lock to replace the old Methley lock) and floodgates and a lock on the mile cut to Castleford. Finally, he advised the undertakers to obtain powers to remove obstructions and build a towing path right to the Ouse.

Chester Canal

John Lawton

He was employed as assistant engineer to Samuel Weston.

Chester Canal

Samuel Weston

He was appointed engineer. His prevoius experience having been as surveyor and as a contractor for cutting.

Market Weighton Canal

Samuel Allam

He is appointed resident engineer.

Market Weighton Canal

John Grundy

The commissioners decide not to employ Grundy as consultant as his terms were considered too expensive.

Market Weighton Canal

John, junior Smith

As engineer for the canal he put his plans and estimates to the first meeting of commissioners at the Black Swan, Market Weighton. His proposal included a sea lock and four other locks with rises of up to 16 feet.

River Don

John Thompson

As company engineer he was asked to make a survey for a canal from the river near Stainforth to the Trent near Althorpe, 1.5 miles below Gainsborough. He was assisted by Thomas Tofield.

Market Weighton Canal

John Grundy

A group of landowners ask him to check John Smith's plans and estimats or the canal and he writes a critical report. He proposes locks of around 8 foot fall, about half the fall of some of the locks Smith planned. He is soon afterwards taken on as Consultant Engineer in place of Smith.

Chesterfield Canal

Hugh Henshall

Was appointed to act as consultant following Brindley's death.

Market Weighton Canal

John, junior Smith

Following John Grundy's criticisms of his plans for the canal he is dismissed as engineer.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

He was appointed engineer at a salarly of 200 a year.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Hugh Henshall

He suceeded to the post of engineer on Brindley's death.

River Don

John Thompson

He reported on the proposal for a canal from the river near Stainforth to the Trent near Althorpe and estimated it would cost 14,614 for a canal with three locks taking 40-ton craft drawing up to 4 foot.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

His contract is renewed and he is paid 500 a year for his full time employment.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

John Smeaton

He appeared before the parliamentary committee to support the navigation improvement plans and to oppose the rival Leeds & Selby Canal project.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

Thomas Yeoman

He supported John Longbotham's Leeds & Selby Canal in parliamentary evidence. This scheme was the alternative to the Aire & Calder's Selby Canal.

1773

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

William Jessop

He surveyed the whole river and accepted John Smeaton,s proposals between Leeds and Castleford and drew up new proposals under Smeaton's direction for the rest of the river.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

William Jessop

Under the direction of John Smeaton he drew up plans for a 5.25 mile canal between Haddlesey and Selby.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Longbotham

He attends a parliamentary committee on the projected Leeds & Selby Canal, which he surveyed.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Smeaton

He directs William Jessop in preparing proposals for the new route from Bank Dole to Selby.

Aylsham Navigation

Authorised by an Act.

Preston Brook Branch (Bridgewater Canal)

Completed in about 1773.

Grand Union Regents Canal

Robert Whitworth

He was aked by the City of London to survey a line for a canal from Moorfields to Waltham Abbey and from Moorfields to Marylebone. The line he proposed followed in part the same line as the Regent's Canal was to take, particularly in the curve to Islington but was to pass under the Pentonville Road and over the New River near Sadler's Wells.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Joseph 1 Atkinson

Assisted Luke Holt in a survey for the canal.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Luke Holt

Surveyed a route for the canal assisted by Joseph Atkinson

Leeds & Liverpool - Springs Branch

Agents of Lord Thanet, then a minor and owner of Skipton Castle, obtained an Act on 10 May 1773.

Norfolk and Suffolk Broads

Promoted by Act.

St. Columb Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Chesterfield Canal

John Varley

The committee found that his books were in a muddle and that the tunnel contracts "have been improvidently made and at prices greatly exceeding the real value thereof and in a collusive manner". One of the contractors was his brother Thomas Varley. He (John Varley) was kept on but three other Varleys were dismissed and his co-resident engineer, Hugh Henshall, became chief engineer.

St. Columb Canal

John Harris

He gave evidence to a House of Lords committee during the passage of the Bill.

Market Weighton Canal

Samuel Allam

He completed a survey for the line into Market Drayton.

1774

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

Promoted by Act.

Aylsham Navigation

Construction started.

Bradford Canal

Opened.

Bude Canal

John Box

Surveyed the line for the proposed canal with Edmund Leach.

Bude Canal

Edmund Leach

Surveyed the line for the proposed canal with John Box.

Bude Canal

Promoted by Act.

Chester Canal

Thomas, Senior Morris

Was called back from Ireland to take up the appointment of engineer.

Chester Canal

Samuel Weston

He left his post as engineer.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Joseph 1 Atkinson

Gave evidence to the Commons committee on the passage of the Bill.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Promoted under an Act.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Bingley Three Rise and Bingley Five Rise staircase locks opened.

Middle Level Navigation

Lord Orford's Voyage round the Fens. Three contempory accounts of the voyage by Mr Thomas Roberts, Mr Geo. Farrington and Lord Orford. Introdcuced by H J K Jenkins and published by Cambridgeshire Libraries Publications, 1993.

Speedwell Level

Began.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Over fifty miles of waterway open by early 1774.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

The Bingley Five Rise Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal were opened on the 21st March 1774. Five laden boats descended the locks watched by thousands of people.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

John Gott

It is reported that he considers the number of craft on the navigation had increased by half in ten years.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Luke Holt

Left the company's service.

Stroudwater Canal

Thomas Dadford junior

Produced an estimate based on his survey of the line of the canal with John Priddey. They estimated a cost of 16,451.

Stroudwater Canal

John Priddey

He surveyed the route with Thomas Dadford.

Stroudwater Canal

Thomas Yeoman

He re-surveyed the line and suggested a 8 mile canal 42 feet wide with 12 locks taking Severn craft.

1775

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

Cutting of the Selby Canal started early this year.

Chester Canal

Opened to Beeston.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

John Smeaton

He surveyed John Varley's proposed line and recommended five locks with a 5 foot fall instead of three with 8 to 9 foot fall. He estimated the cost at 5,952 of which 2,500 was for the locks.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

Surveyed by John Smeaton.

Nent Force Level

John Smeaton

He and Richard Walton, his fellow Receiver for the mining rights to Alston Moor, prepared a report for the Commissioners of Greenwich Hostipal who were the owners of the land. They proposed a 3 mile drainage tunnel intersecting a number of lead ore veins which would have been uneconomical to work without drainage.

Oxford Canal

Promoted by Act.

Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Shropshire Union Main Line

Northgate Staircase Locks constructed between 1775 and 1797.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Chellshill Aqueduct (over the present B5078 road) and Snapes Aqueduct opened in April.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Gott

He began cutting the canal as resident engineer under William Jessop.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

William Jessop

Cutting of the Selby canal began under his direction as engineer at 250 a year.

Chester Canal

Joseph Taylor

About this date he became engineer.

Stroudwater Canal

Samuel Jones

He was appointed resident engineer at one pound, eleven shillings and sixpence a week including all expenses.

Stourbridge Canal

Robert Whitworth

A meeting approved his survey for the canal. His line ran from Stourton on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal to Stourbridge. From Wordsley Junction at Stourbridge there was a branch to the Fens on Pensnett Chase where there was to be a reservior. From Lays Junction on the Fens branch a line ran to Black Delph to join the Dudley Canal.

Stroudwater Canal

Samuel Jones

The directors resolve to discharge him and pay him 12 guineas for his trouble.

Stroudwater Canal

John Priddey

He was appointed engineer at a salary of 100 a year with at least a quater of his time to be spent supervising construction.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Longbotham

He resigned from the company after the committee had complained of him not spending enough effort to the canal. He had recently bought coalmines at Upholland.

Chester Canal

Josiah Clowes

Became resident engineer after apparently having previously been a carrier on the Trent & Mersey. It was not long before he was dismissed for inattention to duty.

Chester Canal

Thomas, Senior Morris

He had been dismissed by this date.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Jessop

He was engaged to build Mirfield cut with John Pinkerton as contractor.

1776

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Started under the direction of Thomas Dadford Senior.

Driffield Navigation

Snakeholme locks were originally single locks, were changed to a staircase.

Grand Union Leicester Section

Act of 1776 (River Soar Navigation) passed.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Opened.

Loughborough Navigation

John Smith

He was appointed engineer to build the navigation on contract.

Loughborough Navigation

Authorised by Act (canal work).

Nent Force Level

Work started in 1776 to a plan by John Smeaton.

Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal

Completed about 1776.

Stourbridge Canal

Thomas Dadford junior

Appointed engineer at 120 a yeas and a house.

Stourbridge Canal

James (Birmingham) Green

Was appointed to assist Thomas Dadford junior as engineer.

Stourbridge Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Stroudwater Canal

Thomas Yeoman

He said, speaking of the cranes that were to transfer goods by Mills instead of locks, that he had "seen the Engines now remaining upon the River - that are out of Repair not being used - . . . most of the Iron work is lost".

Stroudwater Canal

An Act was passed authorising a canal navigation after works being built under the 1730 act were found to be illegal.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Chester Canal

Mr Moon

Around this time he briefly served as company engineer.

Stroudwater Canal

John Priddey

He was given three months notice of the termination of his post as engineer.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Thomas Dadford senior

Was appointed engineer and surveyor.

Mardyke Canal

John Swinden

He submitted a 15,746 estimate for making the Mardyke navigable for 9½ miles from Poorfleet Slice, through Bulphan, to a bridge near Childerditch Church. He proposed 5 locks to cope with the 50 feet fall, including an entrance lock from the Thames.

Stroudwater Canal

Edmund Lingard

He was appointed engineer.

Erewash Canal

John Smith

He surveyed a line from the Trent below Sawley and just above the mouth of the Soar past Long Eaton, up the west bank of the Erewash river to a crossing aboveIlkeston. From there it followed the east bank to Langley Mill, a total rise of 108 feet 8½ inches according to his survey.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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