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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 Link to Previous Page 341

page 342

any loss in the annual income of his canal, in consequence of this company's building of warehouses, wharfs, &c. such loss is to be made good by the Huddersfield Canal Company.

As many mills are upon the streams and brooks from which the reservoirs of the company are to be supplied, it is provided that all persons concerned shall have access to the company's works, and that damages done shall he immediately repaired; and as it is also proposed that a tunnel should be made on the summit level, under Pule Moss and Brunn Top, in the townships of Marsden and Saddleworth, whereby the waters in Brunn Clough and Red Brook Vallies may be diminished, such diminution shall be, from time to time, made up by water supplied to the streams running thereto, from the company's reservoirs on or above the summit level aforesaid. A lock not more than 8 feet wide, with a fall of not less than 6 feet, shall be made at the communication with Sir John Ramsden's Canal; and that part of his canal between his navigation warehouses and the Huddersfield Canal, shall be cleansed and kept navigable by the said company at their will and pleasure, should the said Sir John Ramsden, his heirs or assigns, fail or refuse so to do; and the said Sir John Ramsden is not to receive any tolls or rates for goods navigated from this canal to his warehouses. The provision respecting the supply of water to the streams in Brunn Clough and Pule Moss is necessary on account of the mills thereon.

If the interests of Sir John Ramsden, the Aire and Calder Proprietors, or the Calder and Hebble Navigation, should be injured by making, at any future time, a canal to the eastward, communicating with this or Sir John Ramsden's, full recompense is to be made to the injured parties by the Huddersfleld Company, by authorizing them to receive all rates and tolls, in proportion to the length of such navigation and the tonnage thereon collected. In 1798 the part of this canal which lies between Huddersfield and Marsden was completed and opened; and also the part between Ashton-under-Lyne and Stayley Bridge; besides these, another part from Stayley Bridge towards the west end of the tunnel was navigable; but, owing to the very heavy expense incurred in the works of the tunnel, and the deficiency arising from many of the subscribers not being able to pay up their calls, the canal was

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greatly retarded. Besides this deficiency, the company were only able to borrow £14,182 on mortgage, which sum, with the amount actually paid by the subscribers, had all been expended on the works, they therefore obtained, in 1800, a second act, entitled, 'An Act for enabling the Huddersfield Canal Company to finish and complete the Huddersfield Canal; and for amending the Act, passed in the Thirty-fourth Year of the Reign of his present Majesty,for making and maintaining the said Huddersfield Canal.' By this second act the committee are empowered to make calls, from time to time, not exceeding £20 per share in the whole, and they may raise, by new shares, or on promissory notes payable at distant times, and bearing lawful interest, any sum or sums necessary for completing the said canal, not exceeding in the whole, the sum of £274,000, mentioned in the first recited act.

The work being thus supplied with funds, proceeded towards completion; but the cost and difficulties attendant on its execution were so much beyond calculation, that the proprietors were, six years afterwards, compelled to apply a third time to parliament, and obtained, in 1806, another act, bearing as title, 'An Act to enable the Huddersfield Canal Company to raise a further Sum of Money for the Discharge of their Debts, and to finish and complete the Huddersfield Canal, and for amending the several Acts passed for making and maintaining the said Canal.'

This canal, which is fitted for small craft of 7 feet wide, and such as navigate upon the Staffordshire and southern canals, and what Dupin calls of the narrow section, is capable of passing boats with twenty-four tons burthen; and, by a reference to the map, it will be seen that it commences on the south of the town of Huddersfield, and pursues a south-west direction, winding its course past Slaithwaite, nearly parallel with one of the branches of the River Colne, for the distance of seven miles and a half which river it crosses in three places by appropriate aqueducts, and, by an ascent of 436 feet, distributed among forty-two locks, it arrives, near Marsden, at the summit level, which is higher than that of any other canal in the kingdom, being at an elevation of 656 feet above the level of the sea; the summit level is thence continued for nearly half a mile, when the canal enters that extensive chain of mountains well known to travellers going from Manchester to

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Huddersfield, (through which it passes under the part designated Pule Hill and Brunn Top, generally called Standedge,) for the distance of five thousand four hundred and fifty-one yards, and emerges therefrom into the vale of Diggle in Saddleworth, continuing to near Wrigley Mill, making the whole summit level four miles; it then glides along the valley, alternately on the north and south sides of the River Tame, past Dobcross, Scout, and Stayley Bridge, to its junction with the Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham Canal, near Duckinfield Bridge, having passed a further distance of eight miles and a quarter, and through a descent of 334½ feet, which is equally divided among thirty-three locks; crossing the River Tame in four different places, and making the whole length of canal nineteen miles and three quarters.

In passing from the summit level to Ashton-under-Lyne, there are two other tunnels; one at Scout, two hundred and four yards long, excavated through a strong sand rock, and the other near its extremity at Ashton, one hundred and ninety-eight yards long, cut through a complete body of fine sand.

The principal tunnel at Standedge, or, as it is generally called, the Marsden Tunnel, is 9 feet wide and 17 feet high; the depth of water through it is 8 feet, leaving 9 feet from the surface of the water to the spring of the arch; there is no towing-path in the tunnel; the boats are therefore haled through by manual labour, which is effected in about one hour and twenty minutes; those at Scout and Ashton have each a towing-path.

There are now four lines of communication between the east and west coasts; first by way of time River Trent, and the Trent and Mersey; second, by way of the Aire and Calder, and the Leeds and Liverpool; third, by the Aire and Calder, Calder and Hebble, the Rochdale, and the Duke of Bridgewater's; and fourth, by the Aire and Calder, Calder and Hebble, that of Sir John Ramsden, the Huddersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, and the Duke of Bridgewater's; which last line is the shortest by nine miles and three quarters. This canal passes through a very populous and manufacturing district, full of valuable stone, but nearly void of every article for manufacturing purposes; its beneficial effects are therefore very obvious, not only as being the shortest line of communication from Manchester to Hull; but, at the same

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time, affording the greatest facility to the manufacturers in procuring coal, lime, timber, cotton, wool, dye-wares, iron, &c. and that of exporting their goods in a manufactured state.

Mr. Outram was the engineer who made the original estimate, which amounted to £184,000; but it appears that upwards of £300,000 has been expended. Mr. Clowes, Mr. Nicholas Brown, and other engineers, have also been engaged in prosecuting the works; and although the proprietors have not reaped the fruits of their patriotic undertaking, there is a prospect it will eventually be productive, as the revenue has of late years greatly increased.






23 Henry VIII. Cap. 18, Royal Assent - - - - 1531-2.

THIS article is merely introduced for the purpose of shewing that an act for keeping clear the navigation of these rivers, was passed as above in the reign of Henry VIII. bearing for title, 'An Act for pulling down and avoiding of Fish-garths, Piles, Stakes, Hecks, and other Engines, set in the River and Water of Ouze and Humber.'






6 George I Cap. 30, Royal Assent 7th April, 1720.

THAT part of the Idle River which we have to notice, and for rendering which navigable, an act was passed as above, entitled, 'An Act for making the River Idle navigable from East Retford;

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'in the county of Nottingham, to Bawtry Wharf, in the county of York,' commences in the River Trent at West Stockwith, at a very short distance from the junction of the Chesterfield Canal with that river, and, pursuing a westerly direction for about ten miles, reaches the wharf in Bawtry by a circuitous course. There is nothing in this navigation worthy of much remark, save the sluice and locks at Misterton, half a mile from the Trent, which were constructed for the purpose of keeping the water of the Trent, in time of floods, out of the low lands through which the Idle passes. As an easy communication between the towns of East Retford and Bawtry, it may be considered an useful undertaking.




47 George III. Cap. 31, Royal Assent 1st August, 1807.

THIS canal was made by government, the funds being raised under the authority of an act, entitled, 'An Act to authorize the Advancement of further Sums of Money out of the Consolidated Fund, to be applied in completing the Canal across the Isle of Dogs, &c. &c.' It was then called the City Canal, and, in 1829, was purchased by the West India Dock Company for £120,000. It crosses the Isle of Dogs, entering from Blackwall Reach, just below the communication of the Thames with the West India Docks, and again unites with the Thames at the upper part of Limehouse Reach, being three quarters of a mile long, and having a tide-lock at each end.

The original object in making this canal was to facilitate the passage of vessels round the Isle of Dogs; however, after it was completed, government found that mariners would rarely pass through it, on account of having a small sum to pay for dues. The project therefore failed to answer the original intention.

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16 & 17 Char. II. C. - R. A. - - - 1662.

7 Geo. III. C. 87, R. A. 15th Apr. 1767.

35 Geo. III. C. 86, R. A. 2nd June, 1795.

42 Geo. III. C. 111, R. A. 26th June, 1802.

51 Geo. III. C. 202, R. A. 26th June, 1811.

1 Geo. IV. C. 75, R. A. 15th July, 1820.

THE first attempt towards the formation of this navigation was a clause in the general act of the 16th and 17th of King Charles II. wherein Sir Humphrey Bennet, Knight, and others, were authorized to make the Itchin navigable for boats and barges; the goods conveyed by which were declared to be liable to carriage rates not exceeding one half of the expense of conveying the same by land, and they executed the powers entrusted to them; but in lapse of time, by purchase, transfer and other means, the whole property of the navigation became vested in one individual, who of course demanded the rates he thought fit; in consequence of this, the inhabitants of Winchester applied to parliament for an act, whereby, in pursuance of the provisions of the first act, commissioners might be appointed to determine the rates he should in future charge for carriage on this navigation. The Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen of the city of Winchester, the Dean of the same, the Warden of Winchester College, together with the Justices of the Peace for the county of Southampton, all for the time being, were accordingly appointed commissioners for regulating the rates, under an act bearing for its title, 'An Act to explain, amend, and render more effectual an Act made in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Years of King Charles the Second, entitled, An Act for making divers Rivers navigable, or otherwise passable for Boats, Barges, and other Vessels, so far as the same relates to the River Itchin, running from Alresford through Winchester to the Sea, near Southampton, and for better regulating the said Navigation.' By this act the extent of the navigation is declared to be from Black Bridge, near the city of Winchester, to Northam, in the parish of St. Mary's, near the town of Southampton; and the commissioners apportioned the rates of carriage on the canal so much to the satisfaction of the parties concerned, that when, on account of making further improvements, and concluding certain agreements with Mr. James D'Arcy and his tenant, Mr.

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Edward Knapp, a third act, which is entitled, 'An Act to explain, amend, and render more effectual the several Acts of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth of King Charles the Second, and of the Seventh of his present Majesty, relating to the Navigation of the River Itchin, in the county of Southampton, and for improving the Navigation thereof, and for ascertaining the Rates of Carriage, Riverage, and Wharfage payable thereon,' was obtained in 1795, these rates were adopted as approved of by the proprietor and the inhabitants of Winchester. By this act also, Mr. D'Arcy engaged to make the river navigable from Woodmill to the Roman Ditch, by widening the same, and also to render the same ditch navigable by diverting the river from its old bed into the Roman Ditch aforesaid; the navigation was also vested in Mr. D'Arcy, and he was authorized to demand the following


For all Coals brought from Northam to the Wharf near Winchester, or from thence to Northam, and in Proportion for intermediate Distances 3s 0d per Chaldron.
For all Culm, Stone, Coal, Scotch Coal, and all other Weighable Goods and Corn, except Oats, and so on, rateably 3s 9d per Ton.
For Oats brought the same Distance, and so on, rateably 0s 6d per Quarter.

By this act also the navigation is declared to consist of one hundred and sixty equal shares or parts, any or all of which the said Mr. D'Arcy, his heirs or assigns, may dispose of. Persons purchasing the same are entitled to proportional shares of the rents and profits, deducting annuities and various other incumbrances on the same, which Mr. D'Arcy undertakes to liquidate. By this and the former acts, the proprietors of the river were also appointed sole carriers thereon; but, in the year 1801, when the property fell into the hands of Mr. George Hollis of Winchester, and Mr. Harry Baker of Westminster, these gentlemen consented to relinquish the power thus vested in them; and accordingly a fourth act was obtained in 1802, which is styled, 'An Act for explaining, amending, and rendering more effectual several Acts of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth of Charles the Second, and of the Seventh and Thirty-fifth of his present Majesty, relating to the Navigation of the River Itchin, in the county of Southampton.' By this act the river is declared navigable by all persons; and the wharf at Northam is free to the public for taking in lading or to land the same,

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and the commissioners therein named, are empowered to direct new wharfs and storehouses, if necessary, to be made at Northam by the said Messrs. Hollis and Baker, their heirs and assigns. For the surrender of their privileges, these gentlemen are empowered to collect the following


For all Culm, Coals, Corn, Iron, Stone, Timber, and all other Goods, Wares, Merchandize, or Things whatsoever, except Chalk carried down the River, in Boats or Vessels going for Freight to be carried on the said River, and which shall be free of Tonnage ½d per Ton, per Mile.

And so on in Proportion for a greater or less Quantity than a Ton, and a greater or less Distance than a Mile.


For Coals at the Wharf near Winchester 2d per Chaldron.
For all other Goods, Wares and Merchandize 2d per Ton.

Additional Charges, after the Space of Ten Days, to be made, with the Consent of the Commissioners, by the said Proprietors.

The owners of boats and vessels navigating on this river are authorized, by this act, to take, in addition to the before-mentioned rates payable to the proprietors, the following


For Coal, carried or conveyed from Northam to Mansbridge or West End MiIls 1s 3d per Chaldron.
For ditto ditto from Northam to Bishops Stoke 2s 0d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Northam to Shawford 2s 9d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Northam to Winchester 3s 0d ditto.
For Corn or other Goods carried or conveyed from Northam to Mansbridge or West End Mills 1s 3d per Ton.
For ditto ditto from Northam to Bishops Stoke 1s 9d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Northam to Winchester 2s 3d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Bishops Stoke to Winchester 1s 6d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Mansbridge or West End Mills to Winchester 2s 0d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Winchester to Shawford 1s 3d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Winchester to Bishops Stoke 1s 6d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Winchester to Mansbridge or West End Mills 2s 0d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Winchester to Northam 2s 3d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Mansbridge or West End Mills to Northam 1s 0d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Bishops Stoke to Northam 1s 6d ditto.
For ditto ditto from Shawford to Northam 2s 0d ditto.

Exclusive of Tonnage, Wharfage, Porterage, Cranage, Weighing, and such like Extra Charges.

And all Packages or Light Articles shall be estimated and paid for, at and after the Rate of Thirty Tons for each Barge Load of Thirty Tons Burthen, and so in Proportion for the Space that such Light Goods shall occupy in the Stowage Room thereof.

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The river being made navigable, and the rates settled as above, the undertaking went forward with considerable success till the year 1810, when the two proprietors, in whom the work was now vested, petitioned parliament for an additional rate on coals; an act was accordingly passed in the following year, entitled, 'An Act for increasing the Rates on Coals conveyed on the River Itchin, in the county of Southampton, and for amending and rendering more effectual the several Acts relating thereto.'

By this act the proprietors were empowered to take an additional toll of one halfpenny per chaldron per mile on all coal navigated on the river, over and above their former rates.

In 1820 Mr. Hollis, who had now becosne sole proprietor of the work, obtained a further advance by an act, entitled, 'An Act for increasing the Rates on Goods and Commodities conveyed on the River Itchin, in the county of Southampton.' Under which act the following, over and above all former tolls, are directed to be paid as


For all Coals navigated on the said River ½d per Chaldron, per Mile.
For all Corn, Salt Iron, Timber, and all other Commodities or Things whatsoever ½d per Ton, ditto.

And so on in Proportion for a greater or less Quantity than a Chaldron or a Ton, and for a longer or shorter Distance than a Mile.

The advantages attendant upon this navigation, which is fourteen miles long, in a northerly direction from the tideway in Southampton Water to Winchester, at a small elevation above the sea, are the facility wherewith Winchester is supplied with deals, coal, timber, &c. and the furnishing Southampton in return with flour, corn, and agricultural produce.


30 George II. Cap. 62, Royal Assent 17th May, l757.

THE Ivel River, which commences in the River Ouse, or Ouze, at Tempsford, in the county of Bedford, and proceeds for about eleven miles in a southerly direction, to the town of Shefford, in the same county, was made navigable under the powers of an act of the

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30th George II. entitled, 'An Act for making the River Ivel, and the Branches thereof, navigable from the River Ouze at Tempsford, in the county of Bedford, to Shottling Mill, otherwise called Burnt Mill, in the parish of Hitchen, in the county of Hertford, and to Black Horse Mill, in the parish of Bygrave, in the said county of Hertford, and to the South and North Bridges in the town of Shefford, in the said county of Bedford.' By this act, which is of considerable length, on account of the many clauses respecting privileges of proprietors of estates in the course of the river, a number of commissioners are appointed to execute the work, to make reservoirs, collateral cuts, and other requisite additions which maybe deemed necessary. They have also power to raise money for defraying the expenses incurred, by mortgage of the tolls on all goods navigated on this river; such tolls to be determined by the commissioners according to the money wanted or already disbursed. The powers of this act were put in force soon after it received the royal assent, and the navigation was completed as far as Biggleswade; the money raised being then expended, no further progress was made for some time. In the year 1805, Mr. B. Bevan surveyed the part unexecuted, between Biggleswade and Shefford, and estimated the cost for that part, with five locks, at £5,900. The distance of these two towns from each other is five miles and a quarter, in which there is a rise of 26 feet; and on this part of the line the commissioners charge for all goods a tonnage rate of 1s. 6d. per ton. The surplus of tolls remaining after all costs of repairs, &c. are discharged, is reserved as a sinking fund for the reduction of the debt; and the Biggleswade Branch alone netted, for many years, £400 per annum towards this reduction. The sluices at the lower part of this navigation are furnished with separate upright planks, instead of lock gates usually employed for such purposes.

The purposes for which this river was made navigable, viz, for supplying coals, timber, &c. to the towns of Biggleswade and Shefford, and the various hamlets on the line, and for the exporting of produce, have been fully answered; and, as far as this, the work is of considerable utility.

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35 George III. Cap. 105, Royal Assent 22nd June, 1795.

THE act for commencing this canal is entitled, 'An Act for improving and supporting the Navigation of the River Ivel, otherwise Yeo, from the town of Ivelchester to Bicknell Bridge, in the parish of Huish Episcopi, in the county of Somerset; and for making a navigable Cut from thence into a certain Drain called Portlake Rhine, in the parish of Langport, in the same county; and for making the said Drain navigable from thence to the River Parrett, below Great Bow Bridge, in the town of Langport.'

The length of this navigation is nearly seven miles from its commencement in the River Parrett, below the town of Langport, to Ivelchester or Ilchester, both in Somersetshire; its direction is nearly due east for the whole distance, with very little elevation throughout. By the act the proprietors are authorized to raise £6,000 in shares of £50 each; and, in case this should not prove sufficient, a further sum of £2,000.


For all Coal, Culm, Coke, Cinders, Charcoal, Timber, Iron, and Iron-stone 2d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Lime, Dung, Manure, Stone, and Lime-stone when used for Manure 1d ditto. ditto.
For all other Goods, Wares, Merchandize and Things 3d ditto. ditto.
For all Goods, Wares or Merchandize, deposited on the Proprietors' Wharfs, for the first Twenty-four Hours 2d per Ton.
For every Week beyond that Time 6d ditto.

And so on in Proportion for a greater or less Distance than a Mile, and for a greater or less Quantity than a Ton.

Fifty Cubic Feet of Round, and Forty Cubic Feet of Square Oak, Ash, Elm, or Beech Timber, and Fifty Cubic Feet of Fir, Deal, Balk, Poplar, or Birch not cut into Scantlings, and Sixty Cubic Feet of Light Goods, to be deemed and rated as One Ton Weight.

The principal object for which this canal was undertaken, was the introducing into the different places on its line, coal and other articles of home consumption, and the return of corn and other agricultural produce.

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34 Geo. III. C. 90, R. A. 17th Apr. 1794.

36 Geo. III. C. 44, R. A. 24th Mar. 1796.

38 Geo. III. C. 18. R. A. 7th May, 1798.

41 Geo. III. C. 23, R. A. 21st May, 1801.

45 Geo. III. C. 70, R. A. 27th June, 1805.

49 Geo. III. C. 64, R. A. 3rd, June, 1809.

53 Geo. III. C. 119. R. A. 3rd June, 1813.

THE truly useful and highly important work which we have now to describe, had its first commencement in an act which received the royal assent on the 17th April, 1794, and is entitled, 'An Act for making a navigable Canal from the River Kennet, at or near the town of Newbury, in the county of Berkshire, to the River Avon, at or near the city of Bath; and also certain navigable Cuts therein described.' By this act the proprietors are incorporated under the title of "The Company of Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation," and have the usual powers granted on such occasions. In consequence of an agreement with the proprietors of the Wilts and Berks Canal, conformably to a clause in this act, the line first laid down was proposed to be altered, and the sanction of parliament to this alteration was obtained in the year 1796, in an act under the title of 'An Act to vary and alter the Line of the Canal authorized to be made by an Act passed in the Thirty-fourth of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act for making a navigable Canal from the River Kennet, at or near the town of Newbury, in the county of Berkshire, to the River Avon, at or near the city of Bath, and also certain navigable Cuts therein described, and to amend the said Act, and also to make a certain navigable Cut therein described.'

By the first act the company were authorized to raise £420,000, in three thousand five hundred shares of £120 each, part of which might be divided into half shares of £60 each, two of these to have one vote; and should the above sum prove insufficient, they were empowered to raise £150,000 in addition. By the second act no further sums of money were required to be raised. In the year 1798 the company found it necessary to make further alterations in the line of canal; and they, in consequence, obtained the requisite authority by a third act, entitled, 'An Act to vary the Line of the Kennet and Avon Canal, authorized to be made by Two Acts passed in the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-sixth of his present Majesty, and also to extend the Powers of, and to amend the said Act.'

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Various circumstances, which it is not necessary here to enumerate, having rendered an additional sum of money requisite for the completion of the work, by an act called 'An Act for enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation to complete the same; and for amending the several Acts passed for making the said Canal,' the company were empowered to raise £240,000 by creating new shares and half shares, making in the whole four thousand new shares; three thousand to be taken by the original subscribers or their friends, and the remaining thousand to be sold by auction; but no interest was to be paid on the new shares, the tolls being directed to be applied towards completing the canal.

In 1805, a further sum being still wanting to complete the works, an act was obtained for that purpose, under the title of 'An Act for enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Kennet and Avon Canal Navigation to complete the same, and for altering and enlarging the Powers of the several Acts passed for making the said Canal.' By this act £200,000 more was directed to be raised for completing the canal, and for paying off the debts already incurred. A deficiency, however, still existed; and application was again made to parliament; and by an act, entitled, 'An Act for enabling the Kennet and Avon Canal Company to raise a sufficient Sum of Money to complete the said Canal, and for amending the several Acts for making the same,' an additional sum of £80,000 was directed to be raised, and to authorize the borrowing of £50,000 as granted by the act previously obtained in 1805. But, to render the undertaking complete, the various sums already recited did not prove adequate; the company also determined that it would be advisable to purchase the River Kennet Navigation; they, therefore, again obtained the sanction of parliament to their proceedings in 1813, in an act entitled, 'An Act for enabling the Kennet and Avon Canal Company to raise a further Sum of Money to purchase the Shares of the River Kennet Navigation, and to amend the several Acts passed for making the said Canal.' By this last enactment, £132,000 were to be raised by creating five thousand five hundred new shares of £24 each. Power was also given to create a sinking fund; and those proprietors of shares, resident within the bills of mortality, were

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directed to be called " The Proprietors of the London District," and to elect from amongst themselves three members of the committee of management. The following are the


For all Hay, Straw, Dung, Peat, and Peat-ashes, and all other Ashes used for Manure, Chalk Marl, Clay, and Sand, and all other Articles used for Manure and for the repair of Roads 0s 1d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Coals, Culm, Coke, Cinders, Charcoal, Iron-stone, Pig-iron, Iron-ore, Copper-ore, Lead-ore, Lime, (except used for Manure,) Lime-stone, and other Stone, Bricks and Tiles 0s 1½d ditto. ditto.
For all Corn and other Grain, Flour, Malt, Meal, Timber, Bar-iron, and Lead, (except such Corn, and other Grain, Flour, Malt, and Meal, as shall be carried Westwards, on such part of the Canal as shall be situate between the Town of Devizes and the City of Bath) 0s 2d ditto. ditto.
For all Corn, and other Grain. Flour, Malt, and Meal, which shall be carried from the Town of Devizes to the City of Bath 3s 0d per Ton.
For all Corn and other Grain, Flour, Malt, and Meal, which shall be carried Westwards on any part of the said Canal between the Town of Devizes and the City of Bath, and shall not pass the whole way between Devizes and Bath 0s 1½d ditto, per Mile.
For all other Goods, Wares, Merchandize, and Commodities whatsoever, in respect of which no Toll, Rate, or Duty is hereinbefore made payable 0s 2½d ditto. ditto.

And so on in Proportion for any Quantity greater or less than a Ton, and for any Distance more or less than a Mile.

Having thus presented our readers with the leading features of the various acts, obtained for completing this stupendous work, it may be useful to add the following scale of particulars respecting the money subscribed, before we proceed to describe the work itself. By the different acts obtained for this canal, the following sums have been raised, viz.

By 34 Geo. III. c. 90.

Shares designed to be in Number3500
Of this Number there were lost by Failures, &c.514
And by Consolidation with other Classes 32 Half Shares16
.Remaining Shares2970
These were first created at£1200s0dper Share,at
£137. 4s. 7½d
per Share.
407,576 163
And subjected to a further Call of£174s.7½d.
.Carried over£407,576163

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Brought over£407,576163

By 41 GEO. III. c. 43.

Shares created; intended to be3000
Lost of these42
And by Consolidation with other Classes, 4 Half Shares 2
____ 44
.Remaining Shares2956
At £60 per share

By 45 GEO; III. c. 70.

Shares were created8458
at £20 per Share,
And Optional Notes99
at £33 6s. 8d.
at £20 per Share,

By 49 GEO. III. c. 138.

Shares were created400096,43200
Gained by Consolidation from the Two first Acts, 36 Half Shares 18
at £24 per Share,

The Kennet and Avon completes a circuit of navigable canals, which traversing the northern, midland, and south-western counties of England, connect together its four largest rivers, viz, the Trent, the Mersey, the Severn, and the Thames. Viewed in this light, it forms an important link in that great chain of inland navigation, which has been rapidly increasing in this kingdom for the last fifty years, and which seems to know no other boundary than what the rugged and mountainous parts of the country naturally present. This canal, by uniting the Rivers Kennet and Avon, the former of which runs into the River Thames at Reading, and the latter into the Severn a few miles below Bristol, becomes, in conjunction with the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the Thames, the central line of communication between the Irish Sea and German Ocean. The line of navigation, which thus joins these two seas, passes through a very fertile and populous district. Upon the banks of it lie not only the metropolis, but a great many large towns and cities, the ordinary intercourse between which must necessarily produce a very extensive traffic; and if we take into consideration

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the numerous collateral branches from this grand line, the whole together forms a comprehensive system of water communication, which pervades the southern division of England, and connects the remotest parts of South Wales and Cornwall, with the counties of Essex and Kent. Thus favourably circumstanced, the Kennet and Avon Canal is highly beneficial to the commerce, manufactures, and agriculture of the south-western counties of this kingdom; in the same manner as the Trent and Mersey and Grand Junction Canals have contributed to the improvement and prosperity of the northern and midland counties.

The Kennet and Avon Canal commences at the head of the Kennet Navigation, at Newbury in Berkshire, and passes up the vale of the River Kennet, by Hungerford and Great Bedwin, to Crofton. The distance between Newbury and Crofton is sixteen miles and a half; and the difference of level between these two places is 210 feet, which is effected by means of thirty-one locks. The summit level begins near Crofton, and extends for two miles and a half to the village of Brimslade, passing, in its way, through a tunnel five hundred and ten yards in length, which is cut through the highest part of the intervening hill.

From the western extremity of the summit level, the canal begins to descend to Wootten Rivers, a distance of only one mile, in which there is a fall of 33 feet, which is divided into four locks. From Wootten Rivers it is carried along the vale of Pewsey to Devizes, a distance of fifteen miles, upon one level. From Devizes to a place called Foxhanger, there is a fall of 239 feet, within the short distance of two miles and a half; along this abrupt descent it is carried by a flight of locks, twenty-nine in number. From Foxhanger the canal proceeds to the village of Semington, where it is joined by the Wilts and Berks Canal; the distance is four miles and a half; the fall 56 feet, comprehended in seven locks. From Semington it runs along a rich vale for five miles, upon one level, to Bradford; and at the latter place it descends into the vale of Avon by a lock of 10 feet. After this, it proceeds upon one level for nine miles, along the vale, to Sidney Gardens, Bath. About a mile beyond these gardens, it descends into the Avon, near the Old Bridge, sustaining, in this short distance, a fall of 66½ feet, by means of seven locks. From this

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point that river is navigable to Bristol, as already described under the River Avon. Its whole length is fifty-seven miles; its total rise 210 feet, effected by thirty-one locks; and its whole fall 404½ feet, effected by forty-eight locks. Its breadth at bottom is 24 feet; at the surface, 44 feet; and the least depth of water is 5 feet, but through a considerable length, 6 feet. The locks are 80 feet long, and 14 feet wide; and the barges which navigate it carry from fifty to seventy tons.

Few canals afford more specimens of deep cutting, aqueducts and tunnels, than the Kennet and Avon, and we shall proceed to enumerate them, according to the order in which they arise from Newbury to Bath. Much labour has been expended upon this part of the canal, to prevent its interference with the channels, which have been made for the purpose of conveying water to the meadows, (usually called Water Meadows,) between Newbury and Hungerford; and the River Kennet has within the same distance been three times crossed by means of weirs; once to avoid Hampstead Park, and twice to prevent its passing through the village of Kentbury. At a little distance above Hungerford the level of the canal has acquired a sufficient elevation to be carried over the Kennet by means of an aqueduct, consisting of three arches. Ascending from this aqueduct to the eastern extremity of the summit level, it is carried in its passage from thence to the western extremity through the hill at Burbage, by a great deal of deep cutting, and a tunnel of five hundred yards long and 16½ feet wide. From the extremity of this tunnel to the town of Devizes, no work of consequence occurs. From Devizes to Bath the country assusnes a more hilly and rugged character. At the former place there has been an extensive piece of deep cutting. Between the locks near Foxhanger, it has been found necessary to make very large side ponds, in which the water is permitted to expand itself after it is let out of the locks, and is thus prevented from running to waste. From Foxhanger, the line of the canal is continued through the long vale of Somerham Brook, by an expensive embankment. On leaving this vale, it proceeds along the valley of the Semington River, and at Semington is conveyed across the river by a stone aqueduct, having an arch of 30 feet span, with a long embankment at each end of it. From hence there is

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a considerable piece of cutting, as far as the River Biss, below Trowbridge; it then crosses that river over an aqueduct of the same dimensions as that at Semington, with a large embankment, 30 feet high, on each side of it.

From the aqueduct over the River Biss, the canal passes by Bradford, through a tract of country abounding with hills and rocks, to Sidney Gardens, Bath: and in its course is twice conveyed across the River Avon by handsome stone aqueducts, the Centre arches of which are about 60 feet span each. It enters and departs from Sidney Gardens through tunnels, which pass under the houses and rides. The walks of the gardens are carried over it by two iron bridges. The seven locks upon the remainder of the canal, between these gardens and its entrance into the Avon, have been made at considerable expense; several of them being so near to each other, that large side ponds have been required.

This canal, at its highest elevation at the Crofton Tunnel, is 474 feet above the level of the sea. In its course it passes within a short distance of Hungerford House, Tottenham Park, Wilcot Park, East Stowel, Hewish, New Park, Mount Pleasant, and a number of other seats of the nobility and gentry. The direction it takes, from its junction with the River Kennet Navigation, is nearly west. It has communication with the Wilts and Berks Canal at Semington; with the Frome Canal at Widbrook; and with the Somerset Coal Canal near Bradford, all upon its line. From these and many other advantages, the traffic on it in coal, corn, stone, copper and iron, is of very considerable extent, and, from the almost daily addition to its communication with different parts of the kingdom, by connecting canals and railroads, must continue to increase as long as Great Britain maintains its character as a commercial nation.

Mr. Rennie was engineer for the canal, by whose abilities the most formidable obstacles were overcome. The aqueduct over the River Avon, about a mile from Limpley Stoke, and six miles from Bath, is greatly admired for its architectural beauty; and, indeed, wherever there is an aqueduct or a bridge upon the line, they are invariably distinguished by the excellent workmanship employed in their construction. The execution of the locks and tunnels is deserving of similar commendation.

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Of the good effects arising from a well-regulated system of inland navigation there can be no doubt; but at the same time it should be recollected, that in most instances these effects must be produced by slow and gradual means. There is probably no canal in Great Britain to which this observation may be applied with greater propriety than the Kennet and Avon. The difficulties to be encountered have sometimes been so great, as to present a very unpromising appearance as to its ultimate execution; but they have all been surmounted by the skill, perseverance and good management of the persons to whom its affairs have been entrusted. It was opened on the 28th of December, 1810, for public accommodation; and, when considered in connection with the other works which are now carrying on in the western counties, it promises to continue one of the most profitable concerns of the kind in this part of the united kingdom.


2 George I. Cap. 24, Royal Assent 21st September, 1715.

7 George I. Cap. 8, Royal Assent 23rd March, 1720.

3 George II. Cap. 13, Royal Assent 15th May, 1730.

As the interests of this navigation are merged in those of the Kennet and Avon Canal, in consequence of the provisions of an act obtained by that company, it will not be necessary to do more than recite the three acts obtained as above; the first is entitled, 'An Act to make time River Kennet navigable from Reading to Newbury, in the county of Berks.' The second, 'An Act for enlarging the Time for making time River Kennet navigable from Reading to Newbury, in the county of Berks.' A third act was obtained in the 3rd of George II. entitled, 'An Act for making the Acts of the Second and Seventh of his late Majesty's Reign, for making the River Kennet navigable from Reading to Newbury, in the county of Berks, more effectual.' By these acts, the proprietors of the Kennet River were empowered to demand a rate of 4s. per ton on goods of every description conveyed thereon, but the Kennet and Avon Canal Proprietors, since they purchased this work, have only charged a rate of l½d. per ton per mile.

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The Kennet River Navigation, commencing from its junction with the Kennet and Avon Canal at Newbury, to its fall into the Thames a mile and a half below Reading, is twenty miles in length. Its elevation at the highest point is 264¼ feet above the level of the sea. From Newbury to the High Bridge at Reading, in a distance of eighteen miles and a half, there are twenty locks, with a fall of 126 feet; this constitutes the River Kennet Navigation. These eighteen miles and a half may now be reckoned as a continuation of the Kennet and Avon Canal,

From Reading to the Thames, about a mile and a half, the river is under the control of the Thames Commissioners, who have made a cut and lock on this part. The breadth of the water in the river is between 60 and 70 feet; on the cuts, 54 feet; the average depth about 5 feet. The locks are 120 feet long, by 19 feet broad, thus allowing the passage of vessels 109 feet long and 17 wide, drawing 4 feet water. In its course it passes Sandleford Priory, Padworth House and White Knights.

Its utility for the transit of corn and other agricultural produce, coals and various articles of home consumption is very great, particularly when considered in conjunction with the various canals of which it forms a part. The turf and peat pits between Reading and Newbury afford the opportunity of producing an abundance of peat ashes, which, by means of this navigation, is distributed over a large district of country, and found highly beneficial for manure.


5 George IV. Cap. 65, Royal Assent 28th May, 1824.

7 George IV. Cap. 96, Royal Assent 26th May, 1826.

THE first act granted for the purposes of this work was obtained in 1824, and bears for title, 'An Act for widening, deepening, enlarging and making navigable a certain Creek called Counter's Creek, from or near Counter's Bridge, on the Road from London to Hammersmith, to the River Thames in the county of Middlesex, and for maintaining the same.' By the preamble of this act it is stated, that the town and parish of St. Mary Abbot's Kensington,

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