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Waterways Chronology from 1775 to 1784

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Chronology Index

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.

1777

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Robert Carr, junior

He died and was succeeded by William Brassey.

Chesterfield Canal

Opened.

Erewash Canal

John Varley

He was appointed engineer at a salary of 220 a year.

Erewash Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

William Jessop

He was called in to advise on the canal line below Armley.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

The following Staircase Locks were built Dobson, Dowley Gap, Field, Kirkstall Forge, Newlay and Oddy.

Liskeard & Looe Union Canal

Edmund Leach

He was consulted on the possibility of a canal and proposed a canal from Sandplace, 2miles above East Looe, to Bank Mill bridge, 2.5 miles from Liskeard. He estimated it would cost 17,495 for a 15-mile canal with two inclined planes.

Loughborough Navigation

John May

He was put in charge of the building of Redhill Lock and other improvements, as recommended by William Jessop, and employed contractors to do the work.

Market Weighton Canal

William Jessop

He was asked to measure the work done by the Pinkerton's so that their account could be settled.

Nent Force Level

John Gilbert recommended widening.

St. Columb Canal

Opened between 1777 and 1779.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Croxton Aqueduct (River Dane Crossing) opened May.

Chesterfield Canal

Thorpe Locks and Turner Wood Lock Double Locks built as staircase locks.

Loughborough Navigation

William Jessop

He was called in to suggest improvements to the navigation and advised the building of a new lock at Redhill and the deepening of the upper canal to act as a reservoir.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Hugh Henshall

Completes the canal started by Brindley.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Richard Owen

He was appointed engineer.

River Bure

John Green

He was the engineer responsible for extending the navigation by building locks. He reported that about 3,600 had been spent and that another 2,951 was required to complete the navigation.

River Bure

John, junior Smith

He reported on the river works currently in progess and stated some 3,600 had been spent and another 2,951 was needed to complete the navigation.

Stroudwater Canal

Edmund Lingard

He was dismissed by the directors after he refused to allow them to give him detailed orders and report to them twice a week.

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal

Robert Whitworth

He proposed a canal from Ledbury to Gloucester.

Leominster Canal

Robert Whitworth

He proposed a canal from Hereford through Leominster and Pensax to Stourport.

Loughborough Navigation

John Smith

He was thought too slow and was replaced.

1778

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

The Selby Canal was built by William Jessop early in his career and opened in 1778.

Basingstoke Canal

Joseph Parker

He surveyed the line for the canal Act.

Basingstoke Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Bude Canal

John Smeaton

In his report he re-estimated the authorised line at 119,201, saying that "the county of Cornwall... seems but ill-adapted for the making of canals across the country, being so very frequently intersected with valleys, that to preserve a level for any considerable space between two given points, it becomes necessary to go through a vast meandering course". He proposed that instead the River Bude should be locked for 3½ miles; that 6 miles of canal with three planes should be built to the River Tamar, and then 15½: miles of river navigation with ten locks to Greston bridge, from where more locked river could carry the navigation to Calstock, or a branch canal could take it up to Launceston. His estimated the cost to Greston bridge as 46,109. He suggested that a less satisfactoy alternative would be a canal from Bude to Launceston only, but shortened to 34 miles, with five planes.

Cann Quarry Canal

John Smeaton

He was asked by John Parker, proprietor of the Cann slate quarry, to survey for a canal from there to the new bridge over the River Plym at Marsh Mills, from where barges could reach Plymouth on the tide. He considered a 2¼ mile canal was practicable but recommended a railroad on economic grounds.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

William II Fairbank

Lord Rockingham employed him to make a survey for the line.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

Surveyed by William Fairbank.

Grand Surrey Canal

John Smeaton

He was called in to adjudicate between two routes for a canal from Kingston on Thames to Ewell. Nothing further was done.

Market Weighton Canal

John Holt

He was asked to estimate the smallest possible amount needed to finish the canal to Market Weighton.

Oxford Canal (Northern Section)

Samuel Weston

He said that the error in taking the levels which resulted in the canal being about 6¾ inches higher than the Coventry Canal was "a most egregious error where a canal is so distress'd for Water". Of the 33 yard tunnel at Wolfhamcote he said "a Bridge wou'd have answered the purpose".

Speedwell Level

Completed around 1778.

Stevenston Canal

Branches added around 1778.

River Tyne

John Smeaton

He briefly surveyed the river from Stella (four miles above Newcastle and a little below Newburn) up to Wylan with a view to making a cut but it was never built.

River Bure

John, junior Smith

He agreed to continue work on the navigation following the raising of more funds.

River Ancholme

John Dunderdale

He was asked to stake out land at Bishopbridge as a coal and general goods wharf.

Erewash Canal

John Varley

The top lock had to be taken down and rebuilt following his error in the levels. He was ordered to pay the 78 costs less the value of the bricks.

1779

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

William Jessop

He was not regularly employed by the company after this date but was sometimes consulted.

Aylsham Navigation

Opened in October.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Brassey

Appointed resident engineer following Robert Carr's depaarture.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Jessop

He reported on and approved John Smeaton's proposals for improvements to the navigation.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

John Smeaton

He surveyed the navigation and suggested changes including the replacement of the staircase pair of locks that James Brindley had installed at Salterhebble plus the single Brooksmouth lock by a new set of three single locks.

Chester Canal

Opened to Nantwich.

Caldon Branch - Trent and Mersey Canal

Opened.

Erewash Canal

Fully opened.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

William Jessop

He altered John Smeaton's plan to allow for a reservoir and four broad locks before starting to build the canal. He probably completed it the next year.

River Lee

Promoted under Act.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

He and Robert Whitworth surveyed the line for the canal form Banbury to Oxford.

Oxford Canal (Southern Section)

Robert Whitworth

He and Samuel Simcock survey the line for the canal extension from Banbury to Oxford.

Pidcock's Canal

Built about 1779.

Sir John Glynne's Canal

In use until 1779.

St. Columb Canal

Opened between 1777 and 1779.

Stourbridge Canal

Opened.

Stroudwater Canal

Opened.

Shropshire Union Main Line

Northgate Staircase Locks constructed between 1775 and 1797.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Jessop

He and John Pinkerton started three businesses which took advantage of the new Mirfield Cut, lime-burning, a colliery and a dry dock.

River Lee

John, senior Glynn

Was appointed engineer at 120 a year and was given the task of repairing most of the locks.

River Lee

Benjamin Lewis

He was blamed for the unsatisfactory state of the navigation and was dismissed after showing the river to his successor, John Glynn.

1780

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Jessop

He started work on improvements at Kirklees and a new cut at Brighouse.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

Completed by Jessop.

Kilbagie Canal

Opened about 1780.

Loughborough Navigation

Opened.

Erewash Canal

John Varley

He was dismissed following his failure to keep proper accounts for land and damage compensation payments, and mistakes in the levels for the top lock.

Stort - Cam Canal projects

Robert Whitworth

On the 16 Novenber 1779 he was asked prepare a plan for a navigation from Bishop Stortford to Cambridge and reported a route along the Stort valley to near Elsenham then across the watershed into the Granta (Cam) valley to Cambridge.

1781

River Ancholme

John Dunderdale

He resigns as company engineer.

River Colne

Promoted by an Act.

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Stourport Narrow Locks between the river and the canal basins built as staircase locks.

St. Columb Canal

Closed about 1781.

River Stour (Suffolk)

Promoted under Act.

Stourbridge Canal

Thomas Dadford junior

He resigned as engineer.

Stourbridge Canal

Abraham Lees

Was appointed engineer.

Thames and Severn Canal

John Priddey

He completed the first survey for the canal.

Leeds & Liverpool - Rufford Branch

Richard Owen

He reports the construction of branch has been completed.

River Ancholme

Thomas Bradley

Appointed engineer.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Gott

He was told to errect and finish staithes at Selby immediately. He had already drawn up plans for these.

Ashby de la Zouch Canal

Robert Whitworth

He had completed his survey for a canal, 31 miles and 3 furlongs in length, from Ashby Woulds through Market Bosworth and Hinckley to the Coventry canal at Griff. He estimated the cost as 46,396.

1782

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Samuel Hartley

Under Jessop's direction he starts work on replacing the single Brooksmouth lock and the two-rise Salterhebble locks with three new locks.

Emmet's Canal

Opened about 1782.

Eardington Forges Canal

Opened.

Market Weighton Canal

Opened.

Thames and Severn Canal

Robert Whitworth

He surveyed two possible routes, one from the Stroudwater Canal up the Golden Valley past Cirencester to the Thames, the other from higher up the Severn to the Coln valley on to the Thames at lechlade. He found the first route was shorter, cheaper and better supplied with water. He estimated the cost as 127,916 for a 12 foot barge canal, large enough for Thames barges but not for Severn trows.

River Trent

William Jessop

He was asked to survey the river to see what improvements to navigation could be made without building locks. He listed 67 shoals and thought that dredging to acheive a minimum depth of 2 feet was possible where there was a hard bed to the river. He also recommended several new cuts.

River Trent

John Smith

A state of the depths of water upon the shallows in the River Trent between Cavendish Bridge and Gainsboro as taken by William Jessop and John Smith

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Gott

He was told to put up two more staiths at Selby and to prepare plans and estimates for such warehouses, cranes and lay-bys as he thought necessary there.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Richard Owen

He is discharged from his post of engineer.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Gott

He is told to build the Counting House, Warehouse, Crane, Rigging House, Tarring House, Sailmaker's Shop and a place fordepositing old ropes at Selby in accordance with his plans and estimates.

River Trent

Thomas Dadford junior

He and his father suryey the river down to Gainsborough and recommend locks, side cuts, dredging and a horse towing path.

River Trent

Thomas Dadford senior

He and his son, Thomas, suryey the river down to Gainsborough and recommend locks, side cuts, dredging and a horse towing path.

1783

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Thomas Dadford senior

He left his post as engineer and surveyor and was afterwards employed on an ad hoc basis.

River Rother (Western)

William Jessop

He reported on the lower river to Petworth Mills.

Trent and Mersey Canal

Promoted by an Act.

Thames and Severn Canal

Promoted by an Act.

River Trent

Promoted by Act.

Thames and Severn Canal

Josiah Clowes

Appointed resident engineer.

River Trent

William Jessop

He was employed to survey the Trent above Burton and the rivers Tame and Anker and reported that they could be made navigable to Birmingham for wide boats at much less cost than the projected Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

River Trent

William Jessop

He was appointed engineer to the new company set up by an Act just passed. He was to be paid 675 by instalments to complete authorised works.

River Thames

Robert Whitworth

In his role as consultant engineer for the Thames & Severn Canal he and Christopher Chambers, a shareholder of the canal and of the Stroudwater canal as well as being a Thames Commissionner, enquired what improvements the commissioners intended to make to the navigation between Lechlade and Pangbourne.

1784

Alford Canal project

John Hudson

He and William Jessop prepared a plan and estimate for a canal with the outfall at Anderby.

Alford Canal project

William Jessop

He and John Hudson prepared a plan and estimate for a canal with the outfall at Anderby.

Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

John Smeaton

He was engineer for the canal.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

John Bull

About this time he and John Snape surveyed the extension of the canal to the Birmingham Canal through Dudley Tunnel.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Promoted by Act.

Walsall Canal

John Smeaton

He was engineer for the canal.

Coventry Canal

Thomas Dadford senior

He and Robert Whitworth advised on the proposed Tame Aqueduct.

Lechlade - Abingdon Canal project

Robert Whitworth

He survyed a 22¾ mile line from Kempsford on the Thames & Severn Canal to Abingdon to by-pass 45¾ miles of difficult river navigation.

Llansamlet (Smith's) Canal

Completed about 1784.

River Severn

William Jessop

He was commissioned by the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Company to estimate the cost of removing shallows in the river, making a horse towing path and other navigation improvements.

Gloucester & Sharpness Ship Canal

Robert Whitworth

He surveyed a new line for the canal about this date. At this time the proposed canal was called the Gloucester Canal.

River Lee

John, junior Glynn

On the death of his father he succeeded to the post of engineer.

River Severn

William Jessop

He recommended that the river be made navigable from from Meadow Wharf at Colnbrookdale to Diglis below Worcester. By building 13 or 14 locks and weirs and other works it would be possible for craft drawing up to 4 feet to navigate in all seasons.

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Chronology Index

 

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