Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List

Top 100 Sites

Somerset Coal Canal

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.

January 1793

William Jessop

He made a report on the proposed canal, assisted by William Smith, and was paid 75.

January 1793

William Smith

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

John Rennie

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.

January 1794

Authorised by an Act.

January 1794

Robert Whitworth

He and John Sutcliffe were engaged to do detailed surveys.

January 1794

William Smith

He attended two committee men, Richard Perkins of Oakhill and Samborne Palmer, on a 900 mile tour to study canal and railway construction.

December 1794

John Sutcliffe

Having done some detailed survey work with Robert Whitworth senior he was nnow appointed chief engineer on a daily pay basis.

January 1795

William Smith

He prepared plans for summit level canals assisted by William Bennet.

January 1795

William Bennet

Called in to assist William Smith in the preparation of plans.

January 1796

William Bennet

Appointed engineer.

Early January 1796

John Sutcliffe

He left his post of chief engineer.

January 1799

William Whitmore

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

William Smith

He was dismissed from his post of surveyor.

January 1800

Benjamin Outram

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

John Sutcliffe

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

Benjamin Outram

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.

January 1805

Opened.

5th April 1805

William Bennet

Completion of the Combe Hay flight of locks, for which he was probably engineer.

1st October 1814

John Hodgkinson

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.

January 1898

Closed in 1898.

January 1904

Abandoned in 1904 although a short length at Limpley Stoke is still used as moorings.

January 1970

The Somersetshire Coal Canal & Railways by Kenneth R Clew, Published by David & Charles.

 

Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List