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Waterways Chronology from 1836 to 1845

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Chronology Index

1836

A Home Tour Through the Manufacturing Districts

By Sir G Head. Many journeys by canal and river are described, including the Bridgewater, Carlise and Annan, Halifax, Knottingley, Lancaster, Leeds & Liverpool and Trent & Mersey.Published.

Aire & Calder Main Line

George, junior Leather

He is asked to report on making a short cut to join the Goole canal to the River Don.

Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal

Frederick Wood

He surveyed a line for the canal from the Birmingham Canal and Worcester & Birmingham Canal to the Warwick & Birmingham Canal and then to Aston Locks.

Gower Branch Canal (BCN)

Brades Hall Locks built with two-rise staircase.

Croydon Canal

Closed.

Cyfarthfa Canal

Abandoned about 1836 No traces remain.

River Don

William Walker

It was proposed that, if Sir John Rennie was not available, he should check Charles Bartholomew's routes and estimates for the proposed canal from the River Don to Swinefleet.

Forth & Cart Canal

Authorised by an Act.

Gloucester & Sharpness Ship Canal

William Clegram

He advises against the use of a steam tug for towage on the grounds of damage.

Manchester & Salford Junction Canal

John, junior Gilbert

He was appointed engineer.

Monmouthshire Canal

William Cubitt

He was asked by the company to report on the canal and the tramroad from Pontymoile to Pontnewyndd and recommended improved water supplies for the canal.

River Nene

Sir John Rennie

He proposed the removal of the stone bridge at Wisbech and the adjoining houses so that the sectional area of the river could be doubled. He also recommended impovements to permit vessels with a 7 foot draught to reach Peterborough and a back cut in Wisbech to avoid the S bend through the town. He ageed that no permanent solution to flooding on the river could be found until the obstructions at Wisbech were removed.

Neath Canal

William Kirkhouse

He wrote to Charles Tennant "I understand they are now talking in earnest about extending the Neath Canal to Aberavon". He had made a plan and survey for a similar extension to Port Talbot many years before.

River Parrett

Promoted by Act.

River Stour (Suffolk)

William Cubitt

The river proprietors sought his advice on competition from the railways.

Gower Branch Canal (BCN)

Completed.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

George Stephenson

He and others representing the promoters of the Manchester & Leeds Railway Bill approached the company with offers of good bridge clearances for navigation, and free access for the navigation to "Fields of Coal or other Minerals" but failed to persuade the company not to oppose the Bill.

Grand Western Canal

William Alexander Provis

He was asked to report on the lifts and Wellisford inclined plane on the as yet un-openned canal. The lifts were satisfactory but the plane was not. He thought that the water filled buckets used to counter balance the cradle and boat should be 25 tons rather than 10.

Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal

Alfred Thomas

He produced a plan for a tramroad from the canal at Kidwelly to the entrance of the River Towy at Ferryside. This would enable coal to be loaded into tramroad waggons at the collieries and transported to the canal where the waggons would be put onto boats.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

George, junior Leather

He writes of "the decided hostility of the Aire & Calder Company, as resolved upon at their meeting on Saturday 16th inst." concerning the proposed Manchester & Leeds Railway.

Grand Western Canal

James Green

He is replaced as engineer after problems with one of the lifts and a complete failure of the Wellisford inclined plane.

Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal

James Green

He left his post of engineer having failed to complete the inclined planes for the estimated cost.

Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal

James Green

He ceased being engineer for the Burry Port company after a failure of the walls caused the harbour to be closed.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

James Green

The company decided he should make a survey of the line but he seems not to have done the survey.

Stourbridge, Wolverhampton & Birmingham Junc'n Canal

William Fowler

Made a survey and proposed the line for a new canal.

Carlisle Canal

Jesse Hartley

He proposed to start work at Port Carlisle by enclosing the ground and building the outer dock with a single gate.

River Parrett

William Gravatt

Was appointed engineer.

River Parrett

Charles Hodgkinson

Was appointed resident engineer under William Gravatt.

1837

Basingstoke Canal

Joseph Locke

He was appointed engineer to the London & Southampton Railway which ran alongside and across the canal.

Titford Canal (BCN)

Completed.

Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

Extension fom Huntworth and Bridgwater Dock construction promoted under an Act.

River Derwent

Thomas Rhodes

He surveyed the river and recommended improvements that were carried out.

Glastonbury Canal

Sir John Rennie

He was still owed 367 from his bill of 567 even though he had often asked for payment.

Manchester & Dee Ship Canal project

Sir John Rennie

He surveyed a route for a canal 16 feet deep from Liverpool to Warrington that could without difficulty be carried on to Manchester.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

Authorised by an Act of June 1837.

Stourbridge, Wolverhampton & Birmingham Junc'n Canal

John Urpeth Rastrick

He made an estimate for a reduced line from Brockmoor to just beyond Shut End which he costed at 32,404 including a Sandhills branch. This was to be built as the Stourbridge Extension Canal.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

William Fowler

He was appointed engineer.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

John Urpeth Rastrick

He was asked to be engineer but he did not take up the post.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

John Leather

While working as part of George Leather & Son he reported in favour of proposals for a new lock at Leeds to connect the canal to the River Aire above the weir.

Kidwelly & Llanelly Canal

James Green

His Gwendraeth valley line had been built at a cost of 55,918. It incuded 3 inclined planes with 57, 56 and 84 feet rises plus two locks.

1838

BCN Main Line

The section east of Deepfields was built by Telford between 1825 and 1838, reducing the total mileage from 22.5 to just over 15.

Hulme Lock Branch (Bridgewater Canal)

Completed.

Grand Western Canal

Taunton extension opened.

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal

Ralph Walker

He made a survey and supported the original Parliamentary line and tunnels rather than the proposed alterations.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

William Richardson

About this time he was appointed engineer.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Suggests a junction between the Great Western Railway and canal at Reading.

London & Birmingham Junction Canal project

William Cubitt

A meeting was held in his office to discuss the project. No later discussions of this canal are known.

Bude Canal

James Walker

He reports to the Exchequer Bill Loan Commissioners on the canal and says of the inclined planes "Every means appears to be taken to avoid accident; the machinery though complex - and perhaps necessarily so - is ingenious. It has, I understand, given trouble but not lately, and it does not appear with care which is indispensable, likely to do so to any extent, although with such heavy machinery accidents are unavoidable occasionally".

Grand Western Canal

James Easton

The canal was reopenned using his steam engine powered inclined plane at Wellisford.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

William Fowler

He left his post as engineer.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

Benjamin Townshend

He was appointed engineer.

River Severn

Edward Leader senior Williams

As engineer responsible for river improvements between Stourport and Gloucester he presented a revised plan to the Commission.

River Welland

James Walker

He surveyed the progress made in deepening and extending the channel below Fosdyke Bridge. This was being done by using fascine training walls as he recommended and was the only part of his 1835 recommendations currently being pursued. He found that vessels with 8 feet draught could get through up to the bridge whereas those with a 3 foot draught had some difficulties three years before.

1839

Cann Quarry Canal

Closed.

Kensington Canal

Sold to the West London railway in 1839.

Manchester & Salford Junction Canal

Opened.

Pensnett Canal

Built from 1839 to 1840.

Shropshire Canal

Henry Williams

He retired.

River Thames

Brunel's Maidenhead railway bridge on the Great Western main line with the largest ever brick arches of built across the river.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

George, junior Leather

His plan for a Leeds & Armley Navigation, to take craft drawing up to 7 feet above Leeds Bridge, was put to the board.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Fletcher

He reported together with Walmsley Stanley, his fellow joint engineer, and Robert Nicholson, the law clerk, on proposals from the Leeds & Armley Navigation Company to build a new River Aire lock.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Walmsley Stanley

He reported together with James Fletcher, his fellow joint engineer, and Robert Nicholson, the law clerk, on proposals from the Leeds & Armley Navigation Company to build a new River Aire lock.

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Robert Frost

His plan for the Hatherton Branch was accepted with his estimated cost of 12,345.

1840

Aire & Calder Main Line

George, junior Leather

He designed a new dock at Leeds.

Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal

James Potter

He was appointed engineer for the building of the 2 mile 5 furlong canal with 6 locks.

Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal

Authorised by an Act.

River Blyth

James Walker

He supervised a survey of Southwold Harbour, carried out by John R Wright. It was found that the scouring effect of the tide had been reduced by no less than 148,296,490 cubic feet of water on each tide due to the reclaimation of 1,504 acres of marsh land.

River Blyth

John R Wright

He did a survey of Southwold Harbour, supervised by James Walker. It was found that the scouring effect of the tide had been reduced by no less than 148,296,490 cubic feet of water on each tide due to the reclaimation of 1,504 acres of marsh land.

Dartford & Crayford Navigation

Promoted by an Act.

Forth & Cart Canal

Completed.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

James Fletcher

He suggests that Foulridge Tunnel should be opened out to ease congestion and estimates the cost at 23,000.

Monmouthshire Canal

E S Barber

Made a report to the canal committee on the use of iron rails to replace the tram plates in use on their various tramroads.

River Nene

Benjamin, junior Bevan

Represented the Nene Commissioners at a meeting to consider John Rennie's report on improvements to the lower river.

Pensnett Canal

Built from 1839 to 1840.

River Parrett

Opened for navigation.

Stourbridge Extension Canal

Opened on 27 June 1840.

River Severn

William Cubitt

Appointed engineer to the Severn Improvement Association with E Leader Williams as sub-engineer.

River Severn

James Walker

He said that in this year there was traffic above Gloucester of 3,328 laden canal boats and 84 empties, 405 partly-laden barges, 296 laden trows and 253 partly-laden craft. Craft from Shorpshire remained aground at Ironbridge during droughts; when the river rose they came down to Gloucester in fleets of 20 or 30, taking 11 to 16 hours on the journey and unloading as quickly as possible so they could return before the water level fell.

Tremadoc Canal

Replaced by a tramroad.

River Don

Charles Bartholomew

Reported to the Don committee on the fast passenger boats used on the Lancaster and Scottish canals,

River Don

Charles Bartholomew

Appointed manager of the Don Navigation, in addition to his post of engineer.

River Don

John Copeland

Resigned as engineer after 68 years service with the company, 45 of them as engineer.

Mersey & Irwell Navigation

H R Palmer

He produces a Report on the Improvement of the Rivers Mersey and Irwell ... for the Navigation of Sea-going Vessels. He proposes an enlarged line to end at Regent Bridge, Manchester, many new cuts with a new canal from below Woolston Lock past Bank Quay, across Cuerdley Marsh to join the river at Runcorn. The whole route was to have six locks big enough to take four flats and a 400-ton steamer.

River Severn

Edward Leader senior Williams

He was appointed sub-engineer to the newly formed Severn Improvement Association.

River Severn

William Cubitt

Reported the the actual river traffic as 380,000 tons.

Pidcock's Canal

Open until the mid-1840s.

Pembrey Canal

Probably closed in the 1840s.

1841

Aire & Calder Main Line

Thomas Hammond Bartholomew

Under his direction work began on the new Goole Dock, which was completed in 1843.

Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

Extension fom Huntworth and Bridgwater Dock opened on 25th March.

Chard Canal

Open to Ilminster.

Caldon Branch - Trent and Mersey Canal

Before 1841 the Caldon branch had a three lock staircase at Hazelhurst, then the course of the canal was changed so that the main line went under the Leek branch, as it does today, and three new separate locks were built.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Wakefield Section

Thomas Hammond Bartholomew

Discussed an interchange point with the Manchester & Leeds Railway, suggesting the rail crossing at Broad Reach as a suitable point. The proposal was not put into action.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

Thomas Maddicks

The opening of the Bridgwater Dock and mile long canal that he had built as company engineer.

River Ancholme

Sir John Rennie

He attended a meeting of the commissioners to discuss the reconstruction of South Ferriby Sluice and new lock. He thought the work should be done as soon as possible and estimated the cost as 16,533.

1842

Chard Canal

Sydney Hall

He was working on the Chard Common incline.

Chard Canal

Open to Chard.

River Weaver

William Cubitt

Was consulted about making the river navigable for sea-going vessels. He told the trustees that it was possible but it would be better to use Weston Point as a transhipment harbour and for smaller vessels to take the cargoes up the river.

Thames & Medway Canal

Joseph Locke

His survey for the Maidstone, Rochester & Gravesend Railway proposed a short tunnel crossing over the Higham canal tunnel rather than using the canal tunnel for the railway as had been previously suggested.

Thames & Medway Canal

John Urpeth Rastrick

He met with the canal shareholders to discuss the possible conversion of the canal to a railway at the cost of 120,000.

River Ancholme

Sir John Rennie

Work started on the construction of his South Ferriby Sluice.

Barnsley Canal

W T Hall

As the company manager he reports the effects of the depressed state of trade in the country and on the competition from the railways.

Chard Canal

Sydney Hall

By this time he had left the company.

Cassington Cut

Frederick Wood

He was approached by the Duke of Marlborough's agent over the lack of repairs to the wharf following the Oxford Canal company's decision not to renew their lease on the canal and wharf.

1843

Hackney Canal

Opened.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal

John Raistrick

Left his post as engineer.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Charles Vignoles

He was engaged to examine the plans of the Liverpool & Bury Railway where it proposed to cross the canal in Liverpool.

River Severn

William Cubitt

Appointed chief engineer and carried out 139,850 of improvements under the direction of Grissell & Peto contractors of Lambeth.

Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal

Alexander Easton

Together with the canal superintendent, Samual Skey, he carried out experiments on the canal with steam tugs towing narrowboats. They reported that "the expense of moving trains of boats by steam power is ... likely to be less than horse power".

Ellesmere & Chester Canal

William Cubitt

The completion of improvements to the locks and docks at Ellesmere Port for which he was engineer. These included a sea-lock leading out of the tidal basin into a separate still-water dock, 435 feet by 139 feet behind the warehouses, a second flight of canal locks and other improvements.

1844

Railway Mania was attracting investors attention.

Ancholme - Witham Canal project

Sir John Rennie

He made a survey and proposed two alternative routes.

Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal

Opened.

Dartford & Crayford Navigation

Completed.

Hackney Canal

Sir John Rennie

He was retained by the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners to ensure that the embankment proposed by the South Devon Railway did not affect their navigation and that the bridges at Newton over the river and canal were large enough.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Thomas Fletcher

Was first resident engineer on the Yorkshire side of the canal then assistant to Walmsley Stanley when he became engineer.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Walmsley Stanley

He became engineer for the canal following the death of James Fletcher.

Lancaster Canal

Bryan Padgett Gregson

In recognition of his work in negotiating with railway companies his salary was fixed as a minimum of 1,000 a year for the rest of his time with the company.

River Lee

Francis John William Thomas Giles

Assisted by James Griggs, the Lee surveyor, he surveyed the river and recommended that the number of locks be reduced to 17 from the 25 principal locks and 3 half locks. He also recommended line straightening and a 7 feet depth to allow 100-ton barges to use the river.

River Lee

James, junior Griggs

He assists Francis Giles with a survey of the river.

Middle Level Navigation

Promoted by Act.

Middle Level - Old River Nene

James Walker

About this time he built Marmont Priory sluice to enable vessels of 4 feet draught to navigate through Upwell and Outwell.

River Rother (Eastern)

William Cubitt

Together with James Elliot he rebuilt Scots Float Sluice.

River Rother (Eastern)

James Elliott

Was appointed Expenditor of the Rother Levels and together with William Cubitt he rebuilt Scots Float Sluice.

Thames & Medway Canal

John Urpeth Rastrick

As company engineer he approved the contract with Fox, Henderson & Co for the building of a railway alongside the canal and sharing Higham Tunnel with boat traffic.

River Ancholme

Sir John Rennie

His South Ferriby Sluice was formally opened.

Monmouthshire Canal

Thomas E Marsh

As company engineer he surveyed the line of a proposed Pontypool to Newport Railway, having previously surveyed for a Newport Dock to Nant-y-glo railway before he joined the canal company.

1845

River Don

Charles Bartholomew

The Don Navigation agreed to amalgamate with the South Yorkshire Coal Railway, which had Bartholomew as its engineer.

Grand Union Regents Canal

William Radford

While serving as company engineer he suggested building a railway along the canal to link the London northern railway termini with the docks. Sufficient subscriptions for this scheme were not raised.

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal

The final 18 miles to Hereford was opened.

Lancaster - Morecambe Ship Canal project

Edmund Sharpe

He attacked the plans for a new dock at Thornbush, Lancaster, and pressed for the ship canal scheme on behalf of the North Western Railway.

Montgomeryshire Canal

William Cubitt

Was asked by the company to consider if their canal could be turned into a railway. The survey was never completed as the canal company accepted an offer of 110 per share from the Ellesmere & Chester Canal and had agreed to become part of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Rochdale Canal

James Thomson

He was asked to "survey the line of Canal and ascertain the practicability of converting the whole or any part of it into a Railway". He recommended against conversion instead suggesting a new canal to replace the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

Thames & Medway Canal

Shared Strood Tunnel with the South Eastern Railway from 1845 to 1847 when the tunnel was closed to canal traffic.

Shropshire Union Canal

Robert Stephenson

He hosted a meeting at which the idea of the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company was agreed. He, together with William Cubitt and William A Provis, were later nominated as engineers of the new company.

Worcester and Birmingham Canal

R Boddington

Began a survey on behalf of the canal company of a railway route between Birmingham and Worcester.

Kennet and Avon Canal

James Walker

He reported to the committee on their proposal to convert the towing path or the canal into a railway. He said that by rough walling the sides of the canal there would be enough room for two broad gauge lines and a better canal than at present. He estimated the cost as 800,000.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
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