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Waterways Chronology from 1780 to 1789

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Chronology Index

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.

1785

River Arun

Act passed to make the river navigable between Houghton Bridge and Newbridge.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Thomas Dadford senior

He checked the original survey and was made consulting engineer for the Dudley Tunnel extension. He was told to plan for a commodious basin at Castle Mill were the tunnel was to join Lord Dudley's tunnel.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

John Snape

He, together with John Bull, surveyed the line of the canal.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Act passed to extended to the Birmingham Canal via Dudley Tunnel.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

James Watt

Around this time he gave the company engineering advice at a time when the junction with the Dudley Canal was being discussed.

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Promoted by Act.

Bude Canal

Edmund Leach

Based on his work in surveying the proposed Tamar Canal (an idea that developed into the Bude Canal) he published a book called A Treatise of Universal Inland Navigations.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

William Jessop

Battye Ford cut is extended to his plans.

Flint Coal Canal

William Jessop

He surveyed a proposed line for the canal.

Flint Coal Canal

Surveyed by William Jessop.

Oakham Canal

William Jessop

He is commissioned to do a survey for the canal although the work was done by Robert Whitworth.

Oakham Canal

Robert Whitworth

He did a survey for a canal from Melton Mowbray to run west of Stapleford, through Leesthorpe and Ashwell to Oakham.

River Severn

George Young

About this time he re-surveyed the river from Coalbrooke to Diglis, below Worcester, that William Jessop had surveyed. He proposed 15 locks instead of Jessop's 13 or 14.

River Wear

Promoted by an Act.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

He became the cheif engineer.

Oxford Canal (Southern Section)

Samuel Weston

He was commissioned by the company to survey the Cherwell from Banbury to Oxford (as well as the Swift from Cocford to Lutterworth) to see if it could be made navigable. He thought it could.

Dudley Canal Line No 2

Abraham Lees

He became resident engineer.

Coventry Canal

Thomas, senior Sheasby

He was appointed engineer to build the canal extension from Atherstone to Fazeley.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

In a report he proposed that the navigable cut at Grangemouth should be deepened and that the upper end should be widened to relieve pressure on the dam.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

He reported on the proposed extension of the canal fromStockingfield to the Clyde agreeing (with May Millar and John Laurie) that the western entrance should be at Bowling. He estimated the cost of the Kelvin Aqueduct as 2,000 and the whole as 56,456 or 58,901 the depth were increased to 8 feet.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

He suggested that the Townhead reservior and the smaller lochs on the canal route should be raised and that the central part of Dullatur Bog should be made into a reservior by building embankments if the canal depth was to be increased.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

He proposed three new reserviors to supply water by way of the Monkland Canal and that the locks should be made for the Monkland Canal at Blackhill, and a cut to connect Monkland Basin to the end of the Forth & Clyde's Glasgow branch.

1786

Walsall Canal

Started in 1786 as a branch from the Birmingham canal.

Cromford Canal

John Smith

He and William Jessop are believed to have surveyed part of the Cromford Canal around this date.

Coventry Canal

Promoted by Acts.

General Warde's (Yspitty) Canal

John Smith

Deed granting him lands including "navigable cut or canal through the common called DoleVawr y Bynie, in the hamlet of Berwick ... for the carrying of coals from part of the said lands to be shipped at the river Burry. He now proposed to open a new colliery near Dafen Bridge and intended to make a new improved shipping place at Yspitty, he was authorised by this deed to enlarge his existing canal and extend westwards.

Leven Canal

William Jessop

He was asked "to take a view of the works of the drainage, and of the River Hull, and to report what measures (in his opinion) ought to be pursued to give the best effect to the undertaking; what will be the probable expense of those measures, whether a navigation be compatible with the drainage, and if it be, what additional expense would be required to effect a navigation (as well as drainage) from the outfall to Monk bridge."

Oxford Canal

James Barnes

Appointed Resident Engineeer of the canal.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

A Bill was presented to Parliament which included the proposition that he, Samuel Weston, and four others should build the canal from Banbury to Oxford for 29,000 on codition that they were given exclusive carrying rights and two-thirds of the profits. This was not accepted.

Oxford Canal

Promoted by Act.

Oxford Canal (Southern Section)

Samuel Weston

A provision in the canal Bill gave him, Samuel Simcock and four others connected with the canal, exclusive carrying rights and two-thirds of the profts in return for building the canal from Banbury to Oxford for 29,000. This was rejected by Parliament.

River Severn

Robert Mylne

He gave evidence on a Bill for making the river navigable from Diglis at Worcester to Meadow Warf at Coalbrookdale.

Oxford Canal

Samuel Simcock

He was sent to Cambridgeshire to study the use of windmills for pumping water. One was ordered to be built at Hardwick Lock.

Leven Canal

William Jessop

He reports that a navigation "will by no means be incompatible with drainage, but rather an advantage to it, if properly executed".

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

He reported again on water-supplies for the deepening of the canal. The canal could already draw 2,545 lockfuls annually from the Bishop, Woodend, Gartsherrie and Johnston Lochs, 2,245 lockfuls from the Townhead Reservoir and 300 lockfuls from Possil Loch. He estimated that the three reservoirs east of the Monkland would cost f4,466 and fully satisfy their water requirements. The aqueduct which was to take the water from the River Calder to the east end of the Monkland was to cost 561 and a canal 4½ ft deep from the Monkland Basin to Hamiltonhill was estimated as 2,407.

1787

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

John Gott

He was told to errect two cranes at Selby, one on the river and oneon the canal with three gantries.

Basingstoke Canal

William Jessop

He was appointed engineer and did the final survey.

River Cart

Authorised by an Act work, on a cut, following this second Act.

Lancaster Canal

John Longbotham

He proposes to build a cut from the River Winster, near where it joined the the River Kent estuary at Castle Head (SD422799), northeast across Foulshaw Moss to Nether Levens where it would join the River Kent. The Kent was then to be diverted south-southwest along the coast to Arnside where it would turn south along the coastline to the deep water at Heysham Head. The scheme was intended to provide drainage as well as navigation.

Mersey & Irwell Navigation

Hugh Henshall

With two other engineers he investigated the flooding and noted that the navigable depth at Hollins Ferry was 2 feet to 2 feet 9 inches, whereas it had been 1 foot 8 inches sixteen years previously.

River Thames

Josiah Clowes

He advises the Thames Commisionners on the building of Osney Lock while engineer to the Thames & Severn Canal.

Coventry Canal (Detached Portion)

Thomas Dadford senior

He completed the building of this section for the Trent & Mersey Canal Company. Soon afterwards the Coventry Canal exercised its right to buy this section for 10,541.

River Thames

William Jessop

He completed a survey and reported on the river from Oxford to Lechlade.

Aberdeenshire Canal

John Rennie

He proposes that the size of the planned canal should be increased to 27 feet 4 inches wide at the surface, 14 feet wide at the bottom and 4 feet deep.

Dudley Canal Line No 1

Thomas Dadford senior

Following some of the contractors work being found unsatisfactory he was paid off as consulting engineer.

Dudley Canal Line No 2

William Jessop

It was agreed that he would be released from from his bond and that John Pinkerton should pay the company 2,000 by instalments which jessop was to guarantee with others.

Cromford Canal

John Hodgkinson

With Benjamin Outram and others he met with the Erewash Canal company to propose an extention of the canal to Pixton but could get no agreement. This being the start of the events that led to the building of the Cromford Canal.

Grand Union Erewash Canal

Benjamin Outram

With John Hodgkinson and others he met with the Erewash Canal company to propose an extention of the canal to Pixton but could get no agreement. This being the start of the events that led to the building of the Cromford Canal.

River Trent

William Jessop

The navigation works were considered complete and he was paid the balance of his fee and appointed engineer at 100 a year.

1788

Arbroath - Forfar Canal project

Robert Whitworth

He was employed by George Dempster of Dunnichen to survey a line for a canal from Arbroath to within 2 miles of Forfar that he estimated would cost 17,788.

Coventry Canal (Detached Portion)

This part was built by the Trent & Mersey Co, who reported if fully completed.

Flint Coal Canal

Authorised by an Act of 1788 but never built.

Ketley Canal

Completed in 1788 and, because of the sharp incline and water shortages, included a 73 foot inclined plane, the first on an English canal.

River Ouse (Sussex)

William Jessop

He made a survey and estimated that it would cost 14,400 to make the river navigable for 30-ton craft from Lewes to Pilstye Bridge just past the Cuckfield to Balcombe road. The estmate was for a navigation with 25 locks but a shorter navigation from Lewes to Lindfield with 18 locks was estimated at 9,271.

Shropshire Canal

William Jessop

He gave evidence in London to support the Bill authorising the canal.

Shropshire Canal

John Lowdon

He was appointed surveyor.

Wombridge Canal

Probably completed in 1788 .

River Stort

Samuel Weston

He made a survey for a branch to Saffron Waldon.

Kennet and Avon Canal

James Barnes

Made a survey of the line of the new canal.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Samuel Simcock

He, Samuel Weston and James Barnes made surveys for narrow and barge canals from Newbury to Bath.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Samuel Weston

He, Samuel Simcock and James Barnes made surveys for narrow and barge canals from Newbury to Bath.

Dudley Canal Line No 2

William Jessop

He stood surity for a 4,000 bond which John Pinkerton took as contractor cutting the canal.

Shropshire Canal

James Watt

He helped to judge the models submitted in response to the company's offer of a 50 reward for "the best Means of raising and lowering heavy Weights from one Navigation to another".

Shropshire Canal

John Lowdon

He and Henry Williams were awarded 50 each for their entries in a competition to find "the best means of raising and lowering heavy weights from one navigation to another".

Shropshire Canal

Henry Williams

He and John Lowdon were awarded 50 each for their entries in a competition to find "the best means of raising and lowering heavy weights from one navigation to another".

Cromford Canal

William Jessop

He presented his estimate of 42,697 for building the canal at a meeting in Alfreton.

1789

Brindley's Grand Cross was completed with the linking of the Oxford Canal to the Thames.

Andover Canal

Charles Roberts

He gave evidence to the parliamentary committee on the canal Bill and may have been the company's first engineer.

Andover Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Bo'ness Canal

Robert Whitworth

He surveyed the unfinished canal and reported that 17,763 was required to complete it.

Cromford Canal

William Jessop

He was appointed engineer at 350 a year plus expenses and was to give a third of his time to the works.

Cromford Canal

Benjamin Outram

Was appointed full-time assistant engineer to William Jessop.

Cromford Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Duke's Cut

Built by the Duke of Marlborough opened, and formed the first link between the Thames and the Oxford Canal.

River Gipping

William Jessop

He was commissioned by several landownwers to survey the River Gipping valley with a view to making the river navigable.

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal

Richard Hall

He made a survey and proposed a line for the canal from the Severn at The Haw above Gloucester through Tirley, Corse, Staunton, Redmarley d'Abitot, Dymock, Ashperton, Yarkshill, Lugwardine and Tupsley to Hereford.

Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

I Lenny

Did the survey for the navigation that was used for the 1790 enabling act.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Robert Whitworth

He reported on the cost of completing the canal, which he estimated at 169,818 including Foulridge Tunnel on the summit. This he thought "compared with what has been done on other canal, will be a small affair".

Muirkirk Canal

Built about 1789.

Stort - Cam Canal projects

John Rennie

It was decided to apply for an enabling Act based on his proposals for a canal from Bishop's Stortford, through Saffron Waldon to Brandon Creek, with branches to Cambridge and Burwell Lode. He estimated the cost as 168,257.

Thames and Severn Canal

Dudgrove Double Locks built.

River Wye

Robert Whitworth

He surveyed the river for the trustees and put forward two plans for improving navigation on the river and building cuts in different sections of the Wye. The costs were estimated at 27,000 and 48,000.

Thames and Severn Canal

Opened.

River Thames

Josiah Clowes

He was commissioned to design pound locks at St John's (Lechlade) and Buscot.

Basingstoke - Itchen Canal project

John Rennie

The Basingstoke Canal committee asked him to survey the route to Salisbury which was to be built on the same scale as the Basingstoke Canal. He poited out difficulties on the summit which would need to be supplied with water by steam-pumps but considered the rest of the route straightforward. The line was to join the Andover Canal for some way before continuing to Salisbury. The estimated cost was 135,770 for the cheapest alternative which excluded widening the Andover Canal.

Andover Canal

Robert Whitworth

He did a survey for the petition for a Bill.

Forth & Clyde Canal

Robert Whitworth

His constant supervision of work on the nearly completed Kelvin Aqueduct was praised by Patrick Colquhoun, the canal's agent, in a letter to shareholders.

River Thames

Josiah Clowes

Reported on a survey he had conducted for the commissioners from Lechlade to Old Nan's Weir just above Rushey.

River Trent

William Jessop

He made a suvey of the river at Sawley to estimate the cost of a side-cut. He recommended a cut and a lock.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Robert Whitworth

Having a few months earlier received for comment the surveys of Samuel Weston, Samuel Simcock and James Barnes he reported favouring a line through Hungerford, Marlborough and Calne, subject to the water supplies being satisfactory.

Leominster Canal

Thomas Dadford junior

Made a survet and an estimate for a 31 mile canal with three tunnels the whole costing 83,000.

Thames and Severn Canal

Josiah Clowes

He tried and failed to stop the summit level leaking. This led to various actions to improve the water supply of the canal.

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Chronology Index

 

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