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Rochdale Canal

Description: In Manchester just over a mile is navigable at present, forming part of the Cheshire Ring. At Sowerby Bridge Tuel Lane Lock, opened in 1996, gave access to the Yorkshire end of the Canal and in 2002 the whole canal was re-opened.

History: Promoted by Acts of 1794, 1800, 1804, 1806 and 1807. Opened in 1804. Closed to navigation in 1952.This 32 mile canal runs from Soweby Bridge, where it joins the Calder and Hebble Navigation, to Duke's Lock, Manchester, where it joins the Bridgewater Canal.

Points of Interest: The new Tuel Lane lock, replacing two previous lock, is now the deepest canal lock in the the UK.

See Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals for more information.

Mid January 1766

James Brindley

He surveyed two routes for the canal and estimated the cost as 79,180 for a route similar to the one later built, and 102,625 for a route through Bury.

Spring January 1791

Robert Whitworth

He was asked to do a survey for the canal but could not find the time.

April 1791

William Jessop

He was asked to do a survey for the canal but could not find the time.

June 1791

John Rennie

He is choosen to survey the line with William Crosley senior assisting him.

June 1791

William, Senior Crosley

Appointed to assist John Rennie in the survey of the route.

August 1791

John Rennie

He is told to survey branches into Rochdale and Oldham, and from Todmorden to limeworks at Craven on the proposed line of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

January 1792

John, junior Gilbert

He was made a member of the new canal committee following the defeat of the canal Bill earlier in the year.

Early January 1792

Robert Mylne

He was retained by the company as an expert in water supply matters at the time the company were trying to get a Bill through parliament and were opposed by millowners.

Early January 1792

John Rennie

He proposes the use of steam engines for keeping the canal supplied with water, three on the Yorkshire side and eight in Lancashire.

September 1792

John Longbotham

He assisted William Crosley in surveys for reserviors so that the canal could be supplied with water without affecting the water supplies to mills.

September 1792

William, Senior Crosley

Surveyed for reseviors, assisted by John Longbotham.

January 1793

William, Senior Crosley

Produce the survey plan for the third Bill under John Rennie's direction.

Early January 1793

John Rennie

He estimates a cost of 291,929 for the whole canal from Sowerby Bridge with no junction with the Ashton Canal. This was a narrow canal with a 3,000 yard tunnel and eleveb reservoirs.

January 1794

Promoted by an Act.

January 1794

John, junior Gilbert

At some time at or after this date he became a contractor building the canal.

January 1794

Henry Taylor

He was appointed resident engineer (together with William Crosley) but he soon resisigned.

Early January 1794

Robert Mylne

He was retained again to give parliamentary evidence in the second attempt to get their Bill through parliament.

Early January 1794

William, Senior Crosley

Was appointed resident engineer, at first jointly with Henry Taylor but he soon resigned.

January 1794

William Jessop

About this time though "so much engaged" he found time to survey parts of the canal where water supplies were giving concern to mill owners.

17th June 1794

William Jessop

Having been over the line layout by William Crosley and proposed the elimination of the planned tunnel by the addition of 14 locks, thus saving 20,000. His canal was to be 42 foot wide, except on embankments or in cuttings, and 5 feet deep and he specified postions for each of the locks.

Late January 1796

Thomas Bradley

Appointed resident engineer.

Spring January 1796

William Jessop

He inspected the works and reported favourably on what had been done.

Early January 1797

Thomas Townshend

He is appointed resident engineer.

January 1800

Promoted by an Act.

Late January 1802

William, Junior Crosley

Appointed engineer under William Jessop's supervision.

Late January 1802

Thomas Townshend

He left the company.

January 1804

Opened.

January 1804

Promoted by an Act.

9th September 1804

Charles McNiven

He writes to the Liverpool corporation and points out that although the Rochdale Canal is not complete "timber & other goods" from Hull are arriving at Manchester through that route even "under the disadvantage of twelve miles of land carriage".

January 1806

Promoted by an Act.

January 1807

Promoted by an Act.

Late January 1830

William, Junior Crosley

Checked the actual traffic level on the Manchester to Sowerby Bridge turnpike road as part of the canal company's opposition to a proposed railway between these points.

October 1830

James Walker

He was engineer, with George Stephenson, for a proposed Manchester To Sowerby Bridge railway that was to run parallel to the canal between Todmorden and Littleborough.

October 1830

George Stephenson

He surveyed a railway from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge that ran parallel to the canal from Littleborough to Todmorden. After opposition from the company the Bill was defeated.

January 1845

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.

January 1952

Closed to navigation.

January 1996

At Sowerby Bridge Tuel Lane Lock opened, giving access to the Yorkshire end of the Canal.

January 1998

The South Pennine Ring by John Lower, Published by Hallamshire Press - A boaters' and walkers' guide to the Huddersfield and Rochdale Canals.

January 2002

The whole of the canal was reopened.

 

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