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This Book "Priestley's Navigable Rivers and Canals" by Joseph Priestley was previously published in April 1831. NOTE: Oringinally called "Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers, Canals, and Railways, of Great Britain".
For more information see About this Book

Index Page

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33 George III. Cap. 95, Royal Assent 28th March, 1193.

This canal, though limited in its extent, is amongst the first of such as may be adduced in proof of the advantages attendant upon inland navigation. The act for the formation of it is entitled, 'An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the Glamorganshire Canal, to or near the village of Aberdare, in the county of Glamorgan, and for making and maintaining a Railway or Stone Road, from thence to or near Abernaut, in the parish of Cadoxtone-Juxta-Neath, in the said county.' By this act the company were empowered to raise £2,500, in shares of £100 each, and a further sum of £11,000 was in like manner to be raised, should the expenditure on the works require it.

The Aberdare is connected with the Glamorganshire Canal, at a short distance from the aqueduct, conveying the latter over the River Taff. Its course from the Glamorganshire Canal is along the western side of the Cynon Valley, nearly parallel to the river of that name, and having passed Aberrammon it terminates at Ynys Cynon, about three quarters of a mile from Aberdare, the village from which it derives its name, being from commencement to termination about six miles and a half in length. At the head of the canal near Aberdare there is a railroad, two miles long, to the Llwydcoed Furnaces, froni which branches extend to Godleys and Abernaut Furnaces.

The canal is nearly level, to the distance of four miles from its commencement; in the remaining two miles and a half, to its head or termination, there is a rise of 40 feet. The country through which it passes abounds in iron, coal and lime; numerous furnaces and mines are in its immediate vicinity, for the export of the pro duce of which it was originally undertaken, and which purpose it completely answers, to the evident advantage of the adjoining property.

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For Iron, Timber, Goods, Wares, Merchandise, &c 5d per Ton, per Mile.
For Ironstone, Iron-ore, Coal, Coke, Charcoal, Bricks, Brick, tile and Slate 2d ditto ditto
For Limestone, Building-stone, Stone, Tile, Lime, Sand, Clay and all Kinds of Manure 1½d ditto ditto
For Cattle, Sheep, Swine and other Beasts 5d ditto ditto

Fractions to be taken as for a Quarter of a Ton, and as for a Quarter of a Mile.


For every Horse, Mule or Ass 1d per Day.
For Cows and all other Cattle ½d ditto.
For Sheep, Swine and Calves 5 per Score.

The chief object of this navigation is the export of the produce of the iron furnaces, coal mines and limestone quarries, which abound in the immediate vicinity.


36 George III. Cap. 68, Royal Assent 26th April, 1796.

41 George Ill. Cap. 3, Royal Assent 24th March, 1801.

49 George Ill. Cap. 3, Royal Assent 13th March, 1809.

THIS navigation was executed by a company, incorporated by the name of "The Company of Proprietors of the Aberdeenshire "Canal Navigation," and was opened for the passage of vessels in June, 1805. Its commencement is in the harbour of Aberdeen, on the north bank of the Dee, and in the tideway at the mouth of that river. For a short distance it takes a northern direction, and then proceeds to the east past the town of Aberdeen, to Wordside, at which place it approaches the southern bank of the River Don, nearly parallel to which it continues its course by Fintray to the town of Kintore: leaving that town to the west, and keeping the western side of the valley of the Don, it opens into that river at Inverurie, near its junction with the water of Urie. The length of this canal is about nineteen miles, and the fall from Inverurie, to low-water-mark in the harbour of Aberdeen, is 168 feet, by seven teen locks. The width of the canal is 23 feet, and its depth aver ages 3 feet 9 inches.

The first act for executing this useful work is entitled, An Act 'for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the Harbour of Aberdeen, in the parish of Aberdeen, or St. Nicholas, into the

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'River Don, at or near the South End of the Bridge over the same, (adjacent to the Royal Burgh of Inverurie) in the parish of Kin-tore, all within the county of Aberdeen, North-Britain.'

By this act the company were authorized to raise £20,OOO in £5O shares, no person to be holder of less than one share, or of more than forty; and it was further provided that in case of need £10,000 more might be raised amongst themselves, by the ad mission of new subscribers or by mortgage: it appears, however, that the original projectors of the work did not meet with the anticipated success, for in the year 1801, an application was made to parliament for an additional act for raising money to complete the undertaking.

In their application the proprietors stated, that of the £20,000 which they were authorized by their former act to obtain, only £17,800 had been subscribed, all of which had been expended, and several debts incurred.

A second act was passed in the 41st George III. cap. 3, (24th March, 1801), in consequence of the company being unable to raise more than £17,800 under the former act, and had for its title, 'An Act for better enabling the Company of Proprietors of 'the Aberdeenshire Canal Navigation, to finish and complete the 'same,' which was to be effected by creating one thousand new shares of £20 each, bearing an interest of five per cent.

But the proprietors were compelled to apply for a third act, which was granted in the 49th George III. cap. 3, (13th March, 1809), entitled, 'An Act for better enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Aberdeenshire Canal Navigation to raise the necessary Fund to complete the same.' By this act the company were empowered to raise a further sum of £45,000, upon promissory notes, under the common seal of the company, bearing interest, with a power in the holders to become shareholders of £100, in the ratio of the amount of their respective notes; or, at their option, they are empowered to raise the said sum by mortgage of the rates authorized to be collected; or by the granting of annuities.

The tolls which were granted by the first act, (and which have not been altered by any subsequent act), are recited in the following page:-

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For Hay, Straw, Dung, Peat and Peat Ashes, and for all other Ashes intended to be used for Manure, and for all Lime, Chalk, Marl, Clay, Sand, and all other Articles intended to be used for Manure, and for all Materials for the Repair of Roads 4d per Ton, per Mile.
For Corn, Flour, Bark, Wood Hoops, Coal, Culm, Coke, Cinders, Charcoal, Iron, Lime, (except what shall be intended to be used for Manure) Stone, Bricks, Slate and Tiles 5d ditto ditto.
For Tmber and other Goods, Wares or Merchandize, not hereinbefore specified 6d ditto ditto.

Tolls to be taken for any greater or less Quantity than a Ton, or greater or less Distance than a Mile.

The chief article of conveyance on this canal is granite, great quantities of which are annually exported from the quarries on its banks to London and other parts of the country, by means of its communication with the harbour of Aberdeen, for the improvement of which Mr. Smeaton, and afterwards Mr. Telford, made surveys, preparatory to applications to parliament for powers to execute the same. Acts were accordingly passed in the 13th, 35th, 37th, and 50th of George III. and the harbour is now capable of receiving ships of from 18 to 20 feet draught, adding thereby considerably to the facilities of shipment and consequently increasing the traffic on the canal which opens into it.


47 George III. Cap. 117, Royal Assent 13th August, 1807.

THE Adur River rises about four miles from Horsham, in Sussex, at a distance of thirty_six miles from the Metropolis, and takes a south-easterly course by West Grinstead, and the Baybridge Canal, to Binesbridge, to which place it was rendered navigable for barges drawing 4 feet water, by an act, entitled, 'An Act for improving the Navigation of a certain part of the River Adur, and for the better draining the Lowlands lying in the Levels above Beeding-bridge, and below Mock-bridge and Bines-bridge, all in the county of Sussex.'

From the Baybridge Canal, at Binesbridge, the river takes a southerly course, passing about a mile to the east of the town of Steyning, from thence to New Shoreham; when, passing to the south of the town, it takes an easterly course running parallel with

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the shore of the English Channel, until it falls into the same at Shoreham Harbour, a distance of about fourteen miles from Bines bridge.

This river was a very imperfect tideway navigation, previous to the passing of this act, but it is now made navigable for barges drawing 4 feet, although the act only authorizes the trustees, for carrying the same into execution, to make it a 3 feet navigation. Seventy-nine trustees, together with the commissioners of sewers of the Rape of Bramber, were appointed to carry the act into execution. The qualification was the possession of a clear annual rental of £50, or of a personal estate of £1,000.

The funds for carrying on the works for the improvement of this navigation and drainage, were raised by an assessment of two shil lings per acre on all lands lying in the level above Beeding-bridge, during the years 1807, 1808, and 1809, under the authority of an act of the 23rd of Henry VIII. and after that such sum as the trustees and commissioners shall deem necessary. They are also empowered to borrow money on security of the tolls, rates, &c.


Between Shoreham Bridge and Beeding Bridge, all Goods, Wares or Merchandize 1d per ton.
Between Shoreham Bridge and the End of the Navigation at Binesbridge, for Chalk, Dung, Mould, Soil, Compost or other Articles (except Lime) to be used for the manuring of Land ½d ditto, per Mile.
For all other Goods, Wares, Commodities or Merchandize 1d ditto, ditto.

The River is free of Toll from Shoreham Harbour to Shoreham Bridge.


10 & 11 WiL III. C. 19, R. A. 4thMay, 1699.

14 Geo. III. C. 96, R. A. 14th June, 1774.

1 Geo. IV. C. 39, R.A. 30th June, 1820.

9 Geo. W. C. 98, H. A. 19th June, 1828.

THE rendering these rivers applicable to the purposes of commerce forms one of the most important features in the history of our inland navigation, and as they were made navigable under an act of parliament, passed above fifty years prior to the date of any enactment for a canal navigation, a brief outline of this extensive and useful undertaking may not prove unacceptable to our readers.

The source of the Aire is in Maiham Tarn, a fine sheet of water belonging to Lord Ribblesdale, situate a few miles east of

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Settle, in that district of the county of York which is called Craven. After running underground for near a mile from its source, it issues from the base of a perpendicular rock 286 feet high, at the centre of a romantic amphitheatre of limestone called Malham Cove. The stream is at first inconsiderable, and from the magnificent scenery of the cove, whence it emerges, would be little noticed, particularly in dry seasons; but in winter, or when the tarn above is swollen by rains, the aperture at the base of the rocks is insufficient for the stream, and the water pours over the top of the cove in a vast sheet, little if at all inferior to many of the falls of America. From Maiham Cove, the Aire runs directly south, by the village of Aire Town, to Cold Coniston, thence turns easterly till it reaches Gargrave; from which place, having been conside rably augmented by several lesser streams, now united with it, it pursues an easterly direction passing near to Skipton, by Kildwick, within a short distance of the town of Keighley, through Bingley and Shipley, which latter place is within three miles of Bradford; whence it proceeds, by the picturesque remains of Kirkstall Abbey, to Leeds, having given the name of Aire-dale to the beautiful valley through which it passes. Under the provisions of the act of William III. the date of which is given above, this river was made navigable to the tideway. The act is entitled, 'An Act for the 'making and keeping navigable the Rivers Aire and Calder, in the 'county of York.'

From Leeds the Aire continues in an easterly direction by Temple Newsam, the seat of the Marchioness of Hertford, and Swillington Hall, the seat of Sir John Lowther, Bart. to Castleford, where it unites with the Calder. The two rivers, after their junction, continue to bear the name of Aire, and passing by Fryston Hall, Ferrybridge, Knottingley, Beal, Haddlesey, Wee land, Snaith and Rawcliffe, join the Ouse a little below the village of Armin, at a short distance from the town of Howden. The authority of the first act extending only to Weeland, the subse quent continuation of the navigation to the Ouse River was under a second act, the title of which will be recited in its proper place. The Aire is not navigable above Leeds; the length of the naviga tion, from Leeds to the junction with the Calder, is about eleven miles and a quarter, in which distance there is a fall of 43¾ feet by

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six locks. From the junction of the two rivers to Weeland, the distance is eighteen miles and a quarter, with a fall of 34½ feet by four locks, making the total length of navigation from Leeds to Weeland near thirty miles. On this part of the line of navigation are several short canals, railroads, &c. the property of individuals, who have made them for the easier conveyance of the produce of their estates to the banks of the river; as for instance, at Fairburn, a canal, the property of Lord Palmerston, a quarter of a mile long, level with the river, for the use of his lordship's extensive lime and gypsum quarries. Mr. Watson and Mr. Haxby, at Brotherton, have each one, about one furlong and one chain in length; from Mr. Haxby's canal a short railway is carried to the lime-quarries, north of Brotherton; near to the west end of Crier flut, close to the Leeds Race Course, there is a railway and staith for conveying and shipping the coal from Lord Stourton's collieries on Rothwell Haigh; near Knowstrop there is a railway from the Marchioness of Hertford's collieries, at Waterloo, for the supply of Leeds: there are also railroads at Crier Cut and opposite the Leeds Race Course, for the delivery of coals from this colliery going eastward; near to Methley, a staith and railway from Sir John Lowther's collieries, at Astley; and in the township of Methley, there is a railway for conveying to the river the coals from the Earl of Mexbro's works; considerable quantities of building-lime are also shipped at Weldon and Fryston. At a short distance above Leeds Bridge is the basin of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which locks down at this place into the River Aire, thereby connecting the two navigations.

The source of the Calder is above Todmorden, amongst the hills which constitute the grand ridge, or, as it is popularly termed, the back bone of England, in the same field where the West Calder takes its rise, which in its course westwards, joins the Ribble and enters the Irish Sea. Leaving the hills in which it rises, the Calder pursues an easterly course through the romantic valley of Todmorden, passing the populous hamlets of Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge, to within two miles of Halifax; thence by Elland, Brighouse, Kirklees Park, the seat of Sir George Armytage, Bart. in the vicinity of which a considerable stream, the Colne, falls into it; proceeding thence by Mirfield,

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the market-town of Dewsbury, and Horbury to Wakefield; at which place this branch of the Aire and Calder Navigation com mences. From the navigation warehouse, at Wakefield Bridge, the course of the Calder is by Heath, Newland Park, formerly a preceptory of Knights Templars, but now the seat of Sir Edward Dodsworth, Bart. and Methley, where the Earl of Mexborough has a seat, to its junction with the Aire near Castleford; mean dering for the distance of twelve miles and a half through a fertile and delightful valley. The fall from Wakefield Bridge to the union of the two rivers is 28¼ feet by four locks, viz, at the Old Mills, Kirkthorpe, Lakes and Penbank. The total length of the navigation from Wakefield to Weeland is thirty-one miles and a half, and the total fall is 62¾ feet. A little above Wakefield Bridge are the Calder and Hebble Navigation Warehouses, and, on the opposite side of the river, the Earl of Cardigan's railway, which conveys the coal from his collieries at New Park, two miles from Wakefield. Half a mile below Wakefield the Barnsley Canal locks down into the River Calder. At Bottom Boat, about five miles and a half from Wakefield by the course of the naviga tion, the Lake Lock Railroad communicates with the river. This road, which was constructed about thirty years ago, by a company, without application to parliament, extends to the East Ardsley Coal-field, a distance of four miles from its junction with the navi gation. When it was at first constructed, as its name imports, it joined the river at Lake Lock; it was, however, in 1804, removed to Bottom Boat, a mile lower down the river, to which place from seventy to one hundred thousand tons of coal are now annually brought down by this railroad: and another belonging to the Duke of Leeds, communicating with his collieries on Wakefield Outwood, terminates within a short distance of the former, from which forty or fifty thousand tons of coal are shipped annually.

Though the first act for making this navigation was passed in the year 1699, an attempt for the same purpose had been made long before, for on the 15th of March, 1625, the first year of Charles the First's reign, a bill was brought into the House of Commons, entitled, 'An Act for the making and maintaining the rivers of 'Agre and Cawides, in the West Riding of the countye of Yorke, navigable and passable for Boats, Barges, and other Vessels, &c.'

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This bill was rejected, after a long debate on the question of committing and engrossing; nor does it appear that any further attempt was made for more than seventy years, when Lord Fairfax introduced a similar bill into the House of Commons, on the 18th of January, 1698. Petitions in favour of this bill were presented from the mayor, aldermen, and inhabitants of Leeds, the borough of Retford, King's Lynn, Lincoln, Manchester, the magistrates at the Quarter Sessions at Doncaster, Borougbbridge, the magistrates assembled at Wakefield Quarter Sessions, the clothiers of the town of Rochdale, Rotherham, Halifax, Kendal, clothiers of Wakefield, Bradford and Gainsbro'; and against the bill, from the lord mayor and commonalty of York, also one from Francis Nevill, of Chevet, Esq. the owner of the Soke Mills, at Wakefield.

It was not till the 3rd of April, 1699, that an act passed the House of Lords, and which received the royal assent on the 4th of May following. As some interesting particulars are contained in the petitions presented to the house in respect to the bill of 1698, they are briefly noticed below.

In the Leeds petition it is stated "that Leeds and Wakefeild are the principal trading towns in the north for cloth; that they are situated on the Rivers Ayre and Calder, which have been viewed, and are found capable to be made navigable, which, if effected, will very much redound to the preservation of the highways, and a great improvement of trade; the petitioners having no conveniency of water carriage within sixteen miles of them, which not only occasions a great expense, but many times great damage to their goods, and sometimes the roads are unpassable, &c. &c.

The clothiers of Ratchdale state that they are "forty miles "from any water carriage." The clothiers of Hallifax, in their petition, state "that they have no water carriage within thirty miles, and much damage happens through the badness of the roads by the overturning of carriages."

The clothiers of Wakefield state "that the towns of Leeds and " Wakefeild are the principal markets in the north for woollen cloth, &c. &c.; that it will be a great improvement of trade to all the trading towns of the north by reason of the conveniency of water carriage, for want of which the petitioners send their

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"goods twenty-two miles by land carriage, (to Rawcliffe), the expense whereof is not only very chargeable, but they are forced to stay two months sometimes while the roads are passable to market, and many times the goods receive considerable damage, through the badness of the roads by overturning."

The petition of the lord mayor and commonalty of the ancient city of York, in opposition to the bill, sets forth, "that the said city has chiefly its support and advantage by the River Ouze and water of Humber, which is a passage for ships and boats from York to Hull, and divers parts of this realm; and that by letters patent, 10th Edward IV. (1471) the said petitioners were appointed conservators of the River Ayre from the River Ouze to Knottingley Mill Dam; and have all along exercised their power accordingly; that if the bill pending in the house, for making the Rivers Ayre and Calder navigable, should pass, the River Ouze will be so drained by such navigation, that no boat or vessels will be able to pass thereon, whereby the trade of the city of York, carried on by the said River Ouze, will be quite carried into other remote parts, and the petitioners' said power of conservatorship destroyed, to the impoverishing the said city and countries adjacent, and praying that the said bill may not pass; the petitioners being ready to offer other reasons against the same." The petition of Francis Nevill, of Chevet, Esq. against the bill, states, that "the petitioner is proprietor of several corn, fulling, and rape mills, and dams, upon the River Calder, and that by back water his mills will be inevitably stopped from going at all, to his great prejudice."

The tolls granted by this act were, from the 1st of May to the 1st of October, any sum not exceeding ten shillings per ton; and from the 1st of October to the 1st of May, any sum not exceeding sixteen shillings per ton, for the entire distance between Leeds or Wakefield, and Weeland, or vice versa, and proportionably for any greater or less weight, or for any less distance than the whole.

In order to carry into execution the powers granted by this act for making the rivers of Aire and Calder navigable, the undertakers immediately advanced about £12,000, to which, in the course of a few years, other sums, to the amount of about £16,000 were lent and advanced; these sums, with all the money

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which the tolls produced for the first twenty-four years, were laid out in completing the works of navigation. So small was the trade of the country, that in the year 1730, the whole navigation, together with all the property attached thereto, was rented at £2,000 per annum, upon condition that the Undertakers them selves should be at the risk of keeping all dams, on the said rivers, good against any accidents.

As the trade of the country increased, it was found expedient to avoid many impediments that took place on several parts of the navigation, some by improperly drawing off the water at the mills; but the most serious inconvenience arose on that part of the river between Weeland and Haddlesey Lock; the course of the navigation to the Ouse, at Armin, was also found very inconvenient for the trade of York, Malton, Boroughbridge, Ripon, and other places in the same direction: a project was therefore commenced in the year 1771, for making an entire new canal from Leeds to Selby, which was surveyed by Mr. Whitworth, at the request of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company, and a few gentlemen in Leeds; and an application was made to parliament, to carry the same into execution, by a new set of subscribers; it was, however, successfully opposed by the undertakers of the Aire and Calder Navigation.

In consequence of this application, and "of several memorials signed by the principal merchants and traders of Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, Rochdale, York, Boroughbridge, Lincoln, Gainsborough, and other places in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Lincoinshire, and Nottinghamshire, and by many owners and masters of vessels navigating the Rivers Aire and Calder, complaining of the frequent and long stoppages in those rivers, addressed to Sir William Milner and the rest of the undertakers," the undertakers of the Aire and Calder Navigation applied for and obtained a second act, to enable them to make a canal from Haddlesey to Selby, bearing date the 14th of June, 1774, entitled, 'An Act to amend an Act passed in the Tenth and Eleventh Years of the Reign of William III. entitled, An Act for the making and keeping navigable the rivers of Aire and Calder, in the county of York; and for improving the Navigation of the said River Aire, from Weeland, to the River Ouze; and for making a

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'navigable Canal from the said River Aire, at or near Haddlesey, to the River Ouze at the old Brick Garth at Ouzegate End, within the township of Selby, in the said county, and for other Purposes.' The canal from Haddlesey to Selby, which was shortly afterwards executed, has been highly advantageous, from the great additional facilities afforded to the general trade of the country, as well as by the shortening of the distance to York, Malton, Boroughbridge, Ripon, and other places. In a short time after the passing, and by authority of the above-mentioned act, the following improvements took place upon the Aire, viz, a cut near Castleford, to avoid the shoals there, near the mills; a cut, called the Methley Cut; another cut, near Thwaite Mill; a cut, called Knostrop Cut; and a cut, called Leeds Cut. The canal from Haddlesey to Selby was opened for vessels to pass, on the 29th of April, 1778; and all the cuts mentioned above, together with a new set of locks throughout the navigation, (except Haddlesey Old Lock), were completed by the year 1785. This work, and other improvements, entailed a debt upon the concern of above £70,000.

Since the year 1800, very considerable sums of money have been expended in building additional locks, of larger dimensions than the former ones, so as to admit vessels carrying eighty tons to navigate these rivers; and within the last ten years, a serious expenditure has been incurred by the undertakers, in the purchase of premises at Leeds, in forming a new dock, extending the wharfage room, and in erecting most spacious warehouses, highly advantageous to the trade of Leeds. On the Calder, in the same time, Kirkthorpe-Dam has been rebuilt in the most complete and substantial manner.

The tolls on this navigation were very, materially reduced by the second act, viz, from ten shillings per ton in summer, and sixteen shillings per ton in winter, on all articles, for the whole line, to the following rates:-

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Scale of Tolls authorized to be taken under the Act of 1774.

Dung or Stable Manure, Coals, Cinders, Slack, Culm, and Charcoal, any sum not exceeding. 0½ per Ton, per Mile.
Pigeon Dung and Rape Dust 01 ditto. . . ditto.
Lime, if carried up the Rivers or Cuts 0¾ ditto. . . ditto.
Ditto if carried down the same 0½ ditto. . . ditto.
Pack, Sheet, or Bag of Wool, Pelts or Spetches, not exceeding 3121bs. including Sheet 010½ From Leeds or Wakefield to Selby or Weeland, or vice versa - and so in proportion for any greater or less quantity than a pack, Quarter, Thirty-two Pecks,or a Ton, or for any less Distance than the whole.
For every Quarter of Wheat, Rye, Beans, Oats, Barley and other Grain
Malt, Rape, Mustard and Linseed.
{Of Eight Bushels Winchester Measure.}06
Apples, Pears, Onions and Potatoes, for every Thirty two Pecks 09
Chalk, Fuller's-Earth, Pig-iron, Kelp, Flints, Pipe-Clay, Calais-Sand, and other Sands, (except got in the River) Stone, Bricks, Whiting, Rags and Old Ropes, Lead, Plaister, Alum, Slate, Old Iron.Tiles, Straw, Hay, and British Timber, perTon. 30
Fir, Timber, Deals, Battens, Pipe Staves, Foreign Oak, Mahogany and Beech Logs, per Ton 36
Flour, Copperas, Wood, Tallow and Ashes, per Ton. 40
Bad Butter or Grease, per Ton. 43
Soap, per Ton 54
Bar Iron, per Ton 56
Cheese, per Ton 60
Powder Sugar, Currants, Prunes, Brass and Copper, Argol or Tartar, per Ton 48
Treacle, per Ton 59
Madder, per Ton 60
Cloth Bales, and all other Goods, Wares and Merchandize, per Ton 70

The length of the canal, from Haddlesey to Selby, is about five miles, and is level, there being one lock only, at the extremity, into the tideway of the River Ouse, at Selby. The distance from Leeds, by this line of canal, to the Ouse, at Selby, is about thirty miles and a half, on which there are ten locks, and from Wakefield to SÚlby, the distance is thirty-one miles and a half, on which there are eight locks. The length of an old lock is from 58 to 60 feet, and the width from 14 feet 6 inches to 15 feet, but adjoining to these, are new locks 18 feet wide. The depth of water admits of vessels drawing 5 feet 6 inches: and the improvements, now in execution, will enable vessels of one hundred tons burthen to navigate these rivers.

In the year 1817, and again in 1818, a project was brought forward by a few landholders in that distrkt, for making a canal from Knottingley, down the valley of the Went, to fall into the

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River Don, a little above New Bridge; and for extending a branch from the same at Norton, to Doncaster, which threatened serious injury to the trade upon the lower part of the Aire and Calder Navigation: but the hopes of the projectors were totally annihilated, by the undertakers of the Aire and Calder Navigation applying, in the year 1819, to parliament, for an act, to enable them to cut a canal from Knottingley to Goole, (now called the Goole Canal), but in consequence of the king's death, it was not obtained till the middle of June, 1820, as appears from its title, 'An Act to enable the Undertakers of the Navigation of the Rivers Aire and Calder in the West Riding of the county of York, to make a navigable Cut or Canal from and out of the said Navigation at Knottingley, to communicate with the River Ouze, near Goole, with two collateral Branches, all in the said Riding, and to amend the Acts relating to the said Navigation.' This canal, projected by that eminent engineer, the late Mr. Rennie, and surveyed, laid down, and executed, by Mr. G. Leather, was opened in July, 1826. At first it commenced at the Knottingley Cut, but was subsequently extended to Ferrybridge, from which town it passes through Knottingley, crossing the high road to Snaith, no less than three times in the short distance of three quarters of a mile. It is carried across the road in a very oblique direction, and some of the bridges exhibit that novel style of architecture (designed by Mr. G. Leather, the undertakers' engineer), popularly termed a skew-bridge. From the canal, at the end of the village of Knottingley, there is a short branch-cut to Bank Dole, with a lock of 64 feet fall into the river. The canal here takes a south easterly direction, passing Egborough and Heck, (at which place, the Heck and Wentbridge Railway communicates with it), and runs to the south of Snaith, near a place called New Bridge; thence running parallel to the River Dun, or Dutch River, until it reaches its termination at Goole, where it falls into the tideway of the River Ouse.

All the works of this canal (the principal part of which have been executed by Jolliffe and Banks, under the direction of the company's engineer, Mr. G. Leather), are admirably executed; equalled by few and excelled by none in the kingdom.

The original estimate made by Mr. Rennie, for this line of

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navigation, amounted to £137,000, but a far greater sum has already been expended; yet the works are not fully completed. The length of the canal from Ferrybridge to Goole is about eighteen miles and a half; the fall to low-water-mark at Goole is 28¾ feet; its width is 60 feet at top, and 40 feet at bottom; the depth is 7 feet, and the locks 70 feet long by 19 feet wide. Goole was, when this work commenced, an obscure hamlet, containing only a few houses; but in the short period of four years, by the erection of extensive buildings, and the nature of the works, connected with the circumstance of its being admitted to all the privileges of a port of the united kingdom, it has grown into a town: it possesses a ship dock 600 feet by 200, and a barge dock of 900 feet by 150. There is also a harbour 250 feet by 200, communicating with the above-mentioned docks, and by two locks with the tideway. These docks are constructed for ships drawing 15 feet water.

The rates of tonnage on the Goole Canal are the same per ton per mile as on the old river navigation; and the accommodations of the port being so little known, from the rapidity with which it has arisen, will be best explained by the following letter: -

CUSTOM HOUSE, LONDON, August 22nd, 1828.

WHEREAS by an act of parliament made and passed in the sixth year of the reign of his present Majesty King George the Fourth, entitled, "An Act for the Warehousing of Goods," it is, amongst other things, enacted, that it shall be lawful for the Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs, subject to the authority and directions of the Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, by their order, from time to time, to appoint in what warehouses or places of special security, or of ordinary security, as the case may require, in certain ports in the United Kingdom, and in what different parts or divisions of such warehouses or places, and in what manner any goods, and what sort of goods, may be warehoused and kept and secured without payment of any duty upon the first entry thereof, or for exportation only, in cases wherein the same may be prohibited to be imported for home use; and it is by the same act further enacted, that every order made by the said Commissioners of the Customs, in respect of warehouses of special security, as well those of original appointment, as those of revocation, alteration or addition, shall be published in the London Gazette, for such as shall be appointed in Great Britain; We, the undersigned Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs, in pursuance of the powers so vested in us, have appointed at the PORT OF GOOLE, a warehouse and vaults, on the east side of the Ship Dock belonging to the AIRE AND CALDER NAVIGATION COMPANY, situate in a yard, inclosed on the north, south, and east sides, by a wall of fifteen feet high, and on the west side (being that next to the lock at the said port) by a fence, consisting of a similar wall, for about fifty-seven feet from each side towards the centre, as warehouses of special security, for the deposit of all articles except tobacco and snuff, under the provisions of the said act.

By order of the Commissioners,
PORT OF GOOLE, 1st September, 1828.

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"The undertakers of the Aire and Calder Navigation avail themselves of the promulgation of the above notice, in the London Gazette, to apprize the public, that the port of Goole is thereby placed on a footing of equality with those of London, Dublin, and Liverpool, and of superiority to all others in the United Kingdom, warehouses of special security being to be found in none other: the advantages derivable from bonding merchandize in warehouses of special security, will be best understood by reference to the 6th of George IV. cap. 112, entitled, 'An Act for the Warehousing of Goods,' the 37th section of " which is hereto subjoined."

Act 6. George IV. Sec. 37, Cap. 112.-"And whereas some sorts of Goods are liable in Time to decrease-and some to increase-and some to fluctuation of Quantity -by the effect of the Atmosphere or other natural Causes, and it may be necessary in some cases, that the Duties should not be charged upon the Deficiency arising from such Causes; be it therefore enacted,

"That it shall be lawful for the said Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury to make Regulations for ascertaining the Amount of such Decrease or Increase of the Quantity of any particular sort of Goods - and to direct in what Proportion any Abatement of Duty payable under this Act for Deficiencies shall, upon the Exportation of any such Goods, be made, on account of any such Decrease, - Provided always, that if such Goods be lodged in WAREHOUSES declared in the Order of Appointment to be of SPECIAL SECURITY, no Duty ohall be charged for any Amount whatever of Deficiency of any such Goods, on the Exportation thereof - Except in Cases where Suspicion shall arise that part of such Goods has been clandestinely conveyed away, nor shall any such Goods (unless they be Wine or Spirits) be measured, counted, weighed or gauged for Exportation, except in such Cases of Suspicion."

"The undertakers have the satisfaction to announce, that their establishments at Goole are now completed: they consist of the warehouse above alluded to, which comprises upwards of seven thousand superficial yards of vaults and floors, for the bonding of every description of goods and merchandize; of another warehouse for the bonding of foreign grain, which comprises upwards of five thousand superficial yards of flooring; of a pond for the reception of timber under bond, capable of receiving upwards of three thousand loads; of a range of deal yards, fourteen in number; together with spacious sheds, and every other accommodation that modern ingenuity could devise, to promote, as has been officially reported by the highest authorities in the kingdom, 'the despatch of business, combined with the most ample security to the revenue and the merchant also.'"

page 17

"For the warehouses and timber pond, general bonds have been given, whereby a considerable saving of expense, as well as trouble, will accrue to the merchant."

"The undertakers will not now give themselves, or the public, the trouble of entering upon a formal answer to the numerous misstatements that have been made by interested parties."

"It is sufficient to state, that two years have now elapsed since the opening of Goole, and five months since it was declared a port for foreign trade, and during that time no accident has happened to any of the numerous ships or vessels which have been there: every shipowner has manifested the most perfect readiness to repeat his engagement with Goole, and the trade there is daily increasing."

"The approbation of the public is the best test of the security and advantages of the port."

"A steam towing boat, called the "Britannia," of fifty horse power, is provided to facilitate the navigation of the Rivers Humber and Ouse: her usual station is off the port of Hull, where vessels bound for the port of Goole are boarded by the boats belonging to the officers of the revenue. The master of the "Britannia" is at all times ready to take charge of any vessel bound to Goole."

In consequence of an application to parliament, by the projectors of another line of communication from Wakefield to Ferrybridge, the undertakers of the Aire and Calder called in Mr. Telford, who surveyed the country and made an estimate for shortening and improving the navigation between those two places, and also between Leeds and Castleford; and on the 19th of June, 1828, their projected improvements were sanctioned by an act, entitled, 'An Act to enable the Undertakers of the Navigation of 'the Rivers Aire and Calder, in the West Riding of the county of York, to make certain Cuts and Canals, and to improve the said 'Navigation' The estimate for this work, including £135,350, for extending the docks at the port of Goole, exclusive of land there, amounted to £462,420, and parliament granted a power to the undertakers to borrow at interest the sum of £750,000. This work is already in execution, and when completed, the navigation will be some miles shorter, and the depth of water will be sufficient

page 18

to admit vessels of one hundred tons burthen up to the towns of Leeds and Wakefield; and will enable vessels from Leeds and Wakefield to reach Goole in eight hours, and from Manchester within forty-five hours; these vessels are expedited by a steam tug. An elegant steam packet runs daily from Castleford to Goole for the conveyance of passengers.


7 George IV. Cap. 44, Royal Assent 5th May, 1826.

ALFORD, whence this canal takes its name, is a market town on the Lincoinshire coast, five miles in a direct line from the German Ocean, and about equi-distant from Louth and Wainfleet. The canal was designed by Mr. William Tierney Clarke, civil engineer, and the estimated cost of completing it was £36,924, 15s. The act, which received the royal assent on the day quoted above, is entitled, 'An Act for making and constructing a Canal, 'from the town of Alford, in the county of Lincoln, to the Sea, at 'or near the village of Anderby, in the said county, with a Basin, 'Harbour, and Pier.'

The canal is 8 feet deep, and is supplied with water from Holywell Spring, and from a drain, or stream, called Boy Grift, from which are feeders communicating with the canal. It enters the sea near the village of Anderby, about a quarter of a mile from low-water-mark; it has a sea-lock, which keeps the surface of the water, in the pool next the sea, 14 2/3 feet above low-water at spring tides, which is equal to high-water-mark, neap tides, - the average spring tide being 18½ feet. From the sea-lock, to another rising 7¾ feet, it is level for three miles and a half; thence it is level to the basin of the canal, which terminates half a mile south of Alford, and is rather more than a mile and a half long, making the total length of the canal to low-water-mark six miles and a half.

The subscribers to this canal were incorporated under the name and style of "The Alford Canal Company," and were empowered to raise among themselves a sum, not exceeding £38,000, of which, more than £30,000 was raised before the application to parliament. This sum was divided into seven hundred and sixty shares of £50

page 19

each. The proprietors are further empowered to raise a further sum of £15,000, on mortgage of the canal and tolls, or they may borrow the above sum, or any part of it, on promissory notes, under the common seal; or they may borrow exchequer bills of the commissioners for carrying into execution an act of George III. for authorizing the issue of exchequer bills for carrying on of public works, &c.

The management of this concern is in the hands of twelve of the company, who are chosen annually, five of whom are em powered to act.


Payable for, or in respect of, Boats, Craft, Barges, Ships, and Vessels, passing into, or out of, or in, or along, the Harbour, Canal, or Basin.
For every Boat, Craft, Barge, Ship, or Vessel, to load or unload. 0s 2d per Ton, as registered.
For every Foreign Boat entering the Harbour, or Basin, for shelter, waiting for Wind, or Repairs. 1s 0d ditto. ditto.
For every Boat, Craft, Barge, Ship, or Vessel, belonging to the United Kingdom, entering the Harbour, for shelter, waiting for Wind, or Repairs. 0s 4d ditto. ditto.
For every Fishing Boat, ditto, ditto, 0s 3d ditto, ditto.
For every Boat, Craft, Barge, Ship, or Vessel, remaining in the Harbour, or Basin, more than Twelve Days, unless for Repairs. 0s 4d per Ton, per Diem.


Payable for, or in respect of, any Goods, Wares, Merchandize, and Passengers, imported or exported by Boats, Craft, Barges, Ships, or Vessels, passing into, or out of, or in, or along, the Harbour, Canal, or Basin.
For Coal, Coke, or Cinders. 4s 0d per Chaidron, of 32 bushels, imp. meas.
Common or Undressed Bricks. 4s 0d per Thousand.
Stone, Slate, Lime, Unwrought or Cast Iron, Manure, Bones, Dressed Bricks, Pan, Ridge and Draining Tiles, Tallow, Oil Cakes, Potatoes, Sandand Gravel. 4s 0d per Ton.
Oak, Elm, Pine, Beech, Fir Timber, Deals, Battens, and Lath Wood.. 4s 0d per Load.
Sugar, Salt, Soap, Candles, Clover Seed, Trefoil Seed, Raw Hides, Spirituous Liquors, Wines, Ale, Porter,Glass and Earthenware 4s 6d per Ton.
Wheat, Beans and Peas. 1s 0d per Quarter.
Barley, Rape or Lineseed. 0s 10d ditto.
Malt or Oats. 0s 8d ditto.
Hay, Clover, Straw, Hops, Wool, Feathers, Hair, Tanned Hides, Rags, Oak Bark and Household Goods. 8s 0d per Ton.
For all other Goods, Wares or Merchandize. 6s 0d ditto.
For every Passenger. 1s 0d.

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