Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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Description: Was a 17.75 mile, 23 lock, narrow canal from Paulton to Limpley Stoke where it joins the Kennet & Avon Canal.
History: Authorised by an Act of 1794, opened in 1805, reduced to 10.5 miles when the Radstock line was converted to a tramway, closed in 1898, abandoned in 1904 although a short length at Limpley Stoke is still used as moorings.
See Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals for more information.
He made a report on the proposed canal, assisted by William Smith, and was paid £75.
He made a survey for the canal under the direction of John Rennie he also attended William Jessop on his survey of the line.
14th October 1793
Having surveyed the line of the canal assisted by William Smith he presnets his report proposing a line from the Kennet & Avon Canal at Limpley Stoke up the Dunkerton valley, with a branch up the Wellow valley. The costwas estimated as £80,000.
Authorised by an Act.
He and John Sutcliffe were engaged to do detailed surveys.
He attended two committee men, Richard Perkins of Oakhill and Samborne Palmer, on a 900 mile tour to study canal and railway construction.
Having done some detailed survey work with Robert Whitworth senior he was nnow appointed chief engineer on a daily pay basis.
He prepared plans for summit level canals assisted by William Bennet.
Called in to assist William Smith in the preparation of plans.
Early January 1796
He left his post of chief engineer.
He and his partner, Norton, offered to build a balance (or geometrical) lift without payment, on condition that if successful they were to have £17,300 and a royalty of 4 pence per ton of goods passed.
5th June 1799
He was dismissed from his post of surveyor.
He advocates the rebuilding of colliery railways as plateways to take 2-ton waggons replacing the 10 -14 hundred-weight trucks using edge-rails. The trucks would then be run on to rafts and horse-towed up two inclined planes.
25th May 1800
He produced a report in which he found Witmore & Norton's geometrical (or balance) lock greatly preferable to Weldon's caisson lock, but thought it would be better to reduce its size to take 12-ton rather than 24-ton boats. He criticised Benjamin Outram's plans for plateways, and rafts to carry the trucks, saying their use on the narrow canal would cause damage. He also suggested locks as a cheaper alternative to Outram's inclined planes.
Summer January 1800
Following criticism of his earlier plan he now suggests railways to join the levels, the coal being carried in containers on boats and transferred to and from the railway on cranes.
5th April 1805
Completion of the Combe Hay flight of locks, for which he was probably engineer.
1st October 1814
A meeting was called to consider his report on the state of the Radstock Line of the canal and for proposals for making a railway on the towing path.
Closed in 1898.
Abandoned in 1904 although a short length at Limpley Stoke is still used as moorings.
The Somersetshire Coal Canal & Railways by Kenneth R Clew, Published by David & Charles.