Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Top 100 Sites
Description: Restored to full navigation in 2001, this 20 mile navigation crosses the Pennines from Huddersfield, where it joins the Huddersfield Broad Canal, to Ashton-Under-Lyne, where it joins the Ashton Canal.
History: Promoted by an Act of 1794 and opened in 1811. Closed in 1944 by the LMS Railway Act.
Points of Interest: Contains the longest (5698 yards) and highest (645 feet) tunnel (Standedge) in Britain. Special arrangements apply to navigation of the tunnel. Contact British Waterways for details well in advance.
See Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals for more information.
Mid January 1793
Did the original survey for the line of the canal.
22nd October 1793
He reports on the proposed canal which he estimates at £178,748 exclusive of plarliamentary expenses.
Promoted by an Act.
He is appointed engineer.
Appointed surveyor and superintendent under Benjamin Outram.
Was employed at 2 guineas a week in charge of building Standege Tunnel under Benjamin Outram. He later did some contracting.
After November 1795
He decides to only work on Standedge Tunnel from the two ends thus saving the expense of sinking the very deep shafts that would be needed to work at more places but extending the completion date.
He reports that the Standedge tunnel contractor Thomas Lee could not complete his work under his present terms and would be ruined if he was not given some allowance for the unforseen dificulties encountered. The committee increased his rate for the contract and allowed him an extra year.
He left his job working on Standedge Tunnel.
Early January 1799
With Standedge tunnel the only remaining major work to be completed, his job came to an end.
He was doing some flood repair work for the company and they considered him for work on the Standedge Tunnel. They were satisfied with his character but all his sureties backed out (his engineering reputation was not the best) so he was only used for some limited tunnelling work.
Was asked to report on a tramoad from Woolroad to Marton that had been suggested by the Peak Forest company as a stop gap until Standedge Tunnel was completed. Nothing came of this idea.
Was assisted by John Rooth in tunnelling at Standedge.
Was assisting John Rooth in tunnelling at Standedge.
Early January 1802
He had made a bid for a contract to dig the middle section of the tunnel but withdrew when he got a contract on Blisworth Tunnel on the Grand Junction Canal.
Standedge Tunnel was completed under the direction of John Rooth and the opening ceremony took place on the 4th April 1811.
Left his post as engineer.
Mid January 1819
He proposed a steamboat working on a chain laid in Standedge Tunnel could be used for towage but the idea seems not to have been followed up at the time.
About this time he offered to run a steam tug through Standedge Tunne lat a charge not exceeding 3 shillings if he were allowed to operate free of dues for ten years. A tug was operating by late 1824.
He experimented with a steam boat, which resulted in tests being made of steam tugs through Standedge Tunnel using the Raistrick's chain principle.
He suggests creating an artifical current by pumping to propel boats through Standedge Tunnel.
Left his post as engineer.
Closed by the LMS Railway Act.
The South Pennine Ring by John Lower, Published by Hallamshire Press - A boaters' and walkers' guide to the Huddersfield and Rochdale Canals.
Canal reopened on 1 May.