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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 541

page 542

Lancaster Canal. Its execution was designed to facilitate the transit of goods to and from Preston, and the exportation of such coals as were brought down the Douglas River, which communicates with it near Hesketh.


34 Geo. III. C. 78, R. A. 4th April, 1794.

40 Geo. III. C. 36, R. A. 30th May, 1800.

44 Geo. III. C. 9, R. A. 23rd Mar. 1804.

46 Geo. III. C. 20, R. A. 21st April, 1806.

47 Geo. III. Cap. 81, R. A. 8th Aug. 1807.

THIS canal commences in the Calder Navigation at Sowerby Bridge Wharf, and runs westward up the vale of Calder, close to that river and the turnpike-road, passing in its course Longbottom, Brearley Mill, Mytholm Royd, May Royd, Hebden Bridge, Mytholm, Underbank, Stoodley and Mill Wood, to the town of Todmorden; passing Todmorden, and bending southwards, it leaves Scatecliffe Hall on the east; thence it proceeds past Gauxholme and Travis Mill to Warland, at which place tile summit level now commences; it then proceeds to Littleborough, Clegg Hall, Belfield and Lower Place, whence a branch goes off to School Lane near Rochdale; the main line next pursuing a southerly direction, passes Castleton Hall, Royal Barn, Mount Pleasant, Stake Hill, Walk Mill and Slacks, to near Failsworth; from the last place it bends a little westward of south, passing Newton, Ancoates and Hardwick Green, to the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, into which it locks at Castlefield, Manchester; previous to its arrival at which place it is joined by the Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Oldham Canal at Piccadilly Wharf, being rather more than a mile distant from its junction with the Bridgewater Canal, at Castlefield.

According to the levels exhibited in the original design by Rennie, the rise from the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge, to the proposed summit near Travis Mill, is 275 feet, in a distance of about eleven miles and a quarter; and the fall from that point to the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, at Manchester, is 438 feet 6 inches. It appears, however, from levels recently taken, that it has not been so executed. The rise

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from Knott Mill, Manchester, to the summit, being now stated to be 533 feet 8 inches, and the fall from thence to Sowerby Bridge 353 feet 7 inches.

This canal is one of the main links in the chain of inland navigation between the east and west seas, being made for vessels of such a size as enables them to navigate in the tideway, and to pass between Liverpool and Hull without the expense of re-shipping their cargoes, thus affording great advantages to the populous towns of Manchester, Rochdale, Halifax, Wakefield, and others on the banks of the intermediate rivers. The Baltic produce can be thus readily conveyed into Lancashire, and the manufactures of Lancashire in return exported through the ports of Goole and Hull, to Hamhurgh, Petersburgh, Lubeck, and other continental markets. The stone from Cromwell Bottom and its neighbourhood is hereby also conveyed to Rochdale and Manchester. These connections are likely to make it ultimately an undertaking of considerable profit to the proprietors.

The first act for this undertaking was passed in 1794, under the title of 'An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal, from the Calder Navigation at or near Sowerby Bridge Wharf, in the parish of Halifax, in the West Riding of the county of York, to join the Canal of his Grace the Duke of Bridgewater, in the parish of Manchester, in the county palatine of Lancaster; and also certain Cuts from the said intended Canal;' whereby certain persons were incorporated as "The Company of Proprietors of the Rochdale Canal," with the usual powers.

This canal being intended to form a junction with the Duke of Bridgewater's at Manchester, power is granted to him and his heirs to construct on this canal a lock at Castlefield, and to receive for their own exclusive benefit the following


For all Coal, Stone, Timber and other Goods, Wares, Merehandize and Commodities, except Flags, conveyed from this Canal into the Duke's, and vice versa 1s 2d per Ton.
For all Flags conveyed in the same Manner 0s 2d ditto.

Smaller Quantities to be charged in Proportion.

These Rates are to free the Goods for which they are paid from any further Payment at the Duke's Wharfs, in the Parish of Manchester,

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Gauges for regulating the quantity of water taken from the streams and rivulets near to the work, are to be fixed under the inspection of certain commissioners. No water, however, is to be taken from Hebden River or Cowder Beck. Owners of mines and coal works near the line may make collateral cuts or railways thereto, with the consent of the company. The Ashton Canal Company may make a communication between this canal and their own in Piccadilly, Manchester, so that they may at their junction be on the same level, and that no water be taken from the Rochdale to supply the Ashton Canal, but the waste water of both shall be conveyed by a tunnel into the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal.

At the junction between this canal and the Calder and Hebble Navigation, at Sowerby Bridge Wharf; the water of both must be on the same level for two hundred yards from the basin at that place. The Calder and Hebble Company are to build warehouses and wharfs for the Rochdale Company, for depositing goods on which, the latter company shall pay one half-penny per ton per day, except when frost or accidents prevent their removal. On neglect of the Calder and Hebble Company, the Rochdale or lords of manors and owners of land, may build wharfs and warehouses.

For making the canal, feeders, reservoirs and all other works connected with the same, the company may contribute amongst themselves £291,900, in shares of £100 each, interest on which at £5 per cent, is to be paid till the works are finished. And if the above suns should prove insufficient, they may raise £100,000 more by mortgage, or the admission of new subscribers. In consideration of the capital laid out, and providing for interest and other contingencies, they are empowered to demand the following tonnage and wharfage rates.


For all Lime, Lime.stone, Dung, Manure, Clay, Sand and Gravel, not passing any Lock ½d per Ton, per Mile.
For ditto, passing a Lock 1d ditto. ditto.
For all Coal, Cannel, Stone, except Lime-stone, and other Minerals, not passing a Lock 1d ditto. ditto.
For ditto, passing a Lock 1½d ditto. ditto.
For all Timber, Goods, Wares and other Merchandize, not passing any Lock 1½d ditto. ditto.
For ditto, passing a Lock 2d ditto. ditto.

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Of Coal, Lime, Lime-stone, Clay, Iron, lron.ore, Timber, Stone, Brick, Tile, Slate and Gravel 1d per Ton.
For all other Goods 3d ditto.

Coal, Iron and Lime-stone may remain Six Weeks; Timber, Clay, Iron-stone, Lime, Brick, Tile, Stone, Slate or Gravel, Three Weeks; all other Goods, Six Days. One Penny per Ton per Day to be paid in addition for every Day after the respective Times above quoted have expired.

Stone for Roads and Manure, Dung, Soil, Marl, Ashes of Coal and Turf for improving Lands in any Parish on the Line, are free from Tonnage Rates.

Fractions of a Ton and of a Mile to be paid for as the Quarters therein, and of a Quarter as a Quarter.

A second act was applied for and obtained in 1800, under the title of 'An Act for better enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Rochdale Canal to raise Money for completing the said Canal, and to vary the Line of the said Canal, and to alter, explain and amend the Act passed in the Thirty-fourth of his present Majesty, for making the said Canal;' which, having stated that the company, under the sanction of the former act, had expended the £291,900 they were thereby empowered to raise, and had also incurred considerable debts in the prosecution of the works, goes on to empower the proprietors to increase the rates of tonnage and to raise the sum of £100,000, which the former act empowered them to borrow, in the following manner, viz, to such of the present proprietors as are willing to advance £30 per cent, on their respective shares, promissory notes may be issued payable at the end of eight years, and bearing interest at £5 per cent. per annum, such interest to be paid half yearly; if not paid at the end of eight years, the sums advanced may, if the owners wish, be made capital stock in the undertaking; or the company may borrow money on annuities to be secured on the rates. For meeting the increased expenditure, this act authorizes the demand of the following


For all Stone, Lime, Lime-stone, Dung, Manure, Clay, Sand and Gravel, whether passing or not passing through any Locks ½d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Timber, Goods, Wares and Merchaodize, not passing any Lock ½d ditto. ditto.
For ditto, passing a Lock 1d ditto. ditto.

The Company may fix the Rates for Parcels under One Ton, which Ton is to contain Twenty Hundred of One Hundred and Twelve Pounds each.

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The debts of the company continuing to increase on the further progress of the work, and by unforeseen high prices, they applied for a third act in 1804, entitled, 'An Act for enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Rochdale Canal, more effectually to provide for the Discharge of their Debts, and to complete the whole of the Works to be executed by them, in Pursuance of the several Acts passed for making and maintaining the said Canal.' By this act the company had the power of raising £70,000, in addition to the sums before granted, by creating new shares and parts of shares, or by any other means most convenient. This, however, did not answer the end proposed, for in 1806 we have a further act, entitled, 'An Act for enabling the Company of Proprietors of the Rochdale Canal, more effectually to provide for the Discharge of their Debts, and to amend the several Acts passed for making and maintaining the said Canal.' From this act it appears that the works had already cost £328,900, but were still unfinished, though the canal was partially opened. For the completion of the whole, £143,050 was still required, which sum the present act orders to be raised amongst the shareholders, by calls of not more than £25 on each share of £100; or if this mode should not be approved, the company may issue promissory notes of £25 each, bearing interest at £5 per cent, and when the dividends or clear profits of the company shall amount to £5 per cent. the, holders of these notes shall be entitled to an equal division of all the surplus profit. Additional demands for tonnage and wharfage may be made according to the following


For all Coal, Lime, Dung, Manure, Marl, Clay, Sand, Gravel and other Minerals, except Stone and Lime-stone, passing or not passing any Lock ½d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Timber, Goods, Wares and Merchandize, passing any Lock 1d ditto. ditto.
And in addition to the former Wharfage Rates for all Goods, &c. except Lime-stone 1d ditto. ditto.

None of the Articles to remain longer than Ten Days.

The last act obtained by this company bears date in 1807, under the title of 'An Act to alter, amend, explain and enlarge the Powers of the several Acts passed for making and maintaining the Rochdale Canal Navigation.' It refers to the mode of

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rating the company's wharfs, &c. and by which their rates are exempted from parochial rates, and to the amending various clauses in the former acts, which it would not be interesting to our readers to notice. The company, in the year 1818, published an abstract of the bye-laws and penalties, &c. for damaging the works on the line, which particulars are intended for the government of the company's servants and the persons using this navigation.

After the long account we have given of this work, it would be almost superfluous to add that it is of first rate importance. The chief articles of transit are corn, timber, woollen cloth, coals and raw materials for the manufacturing districts and populous neighbourhoods through which it passes; it connects these districts with Hull, Liverpool, London and Bristol, thus opening a communication, if we may so term it, with all parts of the kingdom.


10 George II. Cap. 33, Royal Assent 21st June, 1737.

THE act for making navigable the above river was obtained so long ago as 1737, under the title of 'An Act for making navigable the River Rodon,from a little below a Mill, called Barking Mill, in the county of Essex, to Ilford Bridge, in the said county.' It is unnecessary to say more on the subject of this article, than that the act was intended to improve the navigation of this tide river, and to enable vessels to pass the bad part of the river and the mill for the length of about two miles. Its use is to convey coals, &c. to Ilford Bridge for the supply of Romford and the neighbourhood.


31 George III. Cap. 66, Royal Assent 11th April, 1791.

THIS navigation, which belongs to the Earl of Egremont, commences at the Lower Platt, near the town of Midhurst, Sussex, occupying the course of the River Rother in a great measure the whole length of the navigation. From Midhurst its course is by

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Cowley Park, to the village of Ambersham, where it crosses a narrow stripe of Hampshire, a quarter of a mile in breadth; from thence, following the line of the river, it passes within a mile and a half of the town of Petworth; thence by Burton to a little beyond Lower Fittleworth, where there is a cut to the River Arun, near Stopham Bridge, where the navigation terminates. Its entire length is eleven miles.

The act for executing this work was obtained in 1791, under the title of 'An Act to enable the Earl of Egremont to make and maintain the River Rother navigable,from the town of Midhurst, to a certain Meadow called the Railed Pieces, or Stopham Meadow, in the parish of Stopham, and a navigable Cut from the said River to the River Arun, at or near Stopham Bridge, in the county of Sussex; and for other Purposes.' By this act the Earl of Egremont had authority to make the river navigable, and to make, if necessary, a cut or navigable canal from the Rother to Haslingbourn Bridge, as well as to make a navigable communication between the Rother and the Arun Rivers, with all works necessary for the completion of the same. For repaying the money laid out, the Earl is empowered to demand the following


For all Chalk, Soil or Dung for Manure 1d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Timber, Plank, Coal, Lime, Corn, Grain, Fire-wood and all other Goods and Wares 3d ditto. ditto.

Fractions of a Mile and of a Ton to be charged as the Quarters therein, and of a Quarter as a Quarter.

Owners of lands and lords of manors may erect wharfs, quays and warehouses, and if they refuse so to do, the Earl of Egremont may himself erect the same and charge the following


For all Goods, Wares and Merchandize remaining on the Wharfs, &c. Three Months 6d per Ton.
For ditto every Week after the said Three Months are expired 3d ditto, each Week.

The principal object is for supplying the interior with coal, and for the export of lead, corn, and that beautiful variegated fossil limestone, well known in London by the name of Petworth Marble.

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47 George III. Cap. 70, Royal Assent 13th August, 1807.

THE Royal Military Canal and other works therewith connected, were constructed as calculated to stop the progress of the enemy, should the descent threatened by Napoleon ever have been put into execution. Commencing in the tideway at Shorncliff, in the county of Kent, not far from Sandgate Castle, it proceeds from east to west, as far as Hythe, where it makes a very short detour; it then proceeds past the batteries, in a continued westerly direction, leaving Lympne, Bonnington, Ruckinge and Appledore, on its north bank, to the junction with the intended Weald of Kent Canal; it then proceeds to the south, till it unites with the River Rother on the borders of Sussex; in the bed of which river it is continued past Rye, as far as Winchelsea; at this place the river verges to the south-east to its opening into the sea, whilst the canal is continued in a direction due south, from Winchelsea to Cliff End, where it terminates.

The purposes for which it was originally constructed having become no longer necessary, it was deemed expedient by government, that the canal and towing-paths should be turned to some account in a commercial point of view, whilst they were likewise kept in repair, in case they should be wanted as a means of repelling an invading force. An act was accordingly passed in 1807, entitled, 'An Act for maintaining and preserving a Military Canal and Road, made from Shorncliff in the county of Kent, to Cliff End in the county of Sussex; and for regulating the taking of Rates and Tolls thereon.' By this act the Speaker of the House of Commons and other principal officers of the State are appointed commissioners for carrying on and maintaining the said canal and road, and to make the necessary orders for regulating the same. They are also empowered to order toll-gates to be erected and rates to be demanded for goods, &c. passing on the canal and towing-path, such rates to be raised or lowered as shall to them appear necessary; tables of these rates to be put up in conspicuous places on the line, and returns of them or any altera-

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tion therein to be made to parliament, but no toll-gate is to be erected between the two bridges at Hythe, nor on that part of the road opposite to Appledore, on the towing-path side lying between the River Wall and Appledore Bridge, being the road from Romney to Tenterden. No tolls are to be paid by the owners or occupiers of lands, if they use them only for carrying manure or produce.

The line of this canal is but little elevated above the sea, running near the boundary of Romney Marsh for a considerable distance; the length, from commencement near Hythe to termination near Cliff End, is near thirty miles; it was executed under the direction of government, and is well calculated for the warlike no less than for the commercial purposes of the country.


6 George IV. Cap. 62. Royal Assent 20th May. 1825.

THIS railway commences at the Sirhowey Railroad, Pye Corner, in the parish of Bassaleg, and about two miles and a half west from the market town of Newport. It takes a westerly course, running nearly a mile on the western bank of the River Ebbw, thence by the village of Machin to the northern bank of the River Rumney, along which it runs by Bedwas to Trehir, where the river changes for a course directly north, and along the eastern bank of which the railroad runs to Gellyhave Colliery, from whence is a branch railroad communicating with the Sirhowey Railroad to the east, and at the distance only of a mile and a half. From the last-mentioned place it continues to follow the course of the Rumney River by Pont Aberbangoed, near Bedwelty, to Rumney Iron Forges, where it terminates.

The railroad is divided into three planes; the first of which, commencing at Pye Corner, is two miles and three furlongs in length, and rises 114 feet, being but one-third of an inch in the yard; the next plane is ten miles, six furlongs and eight chains in length to Gellyhave Colliery, and rises 209 feet or one eighth of an inch per yard; the remainder of the railway is eight miles, four furlongs and two chains in length, and rises 433

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feet or one-third of an inch per yard. The total length of the railway is twenty-one miles and six furlongs, and the whole rise from Pye Corner is 756 feet. The original estimate was made by Mr. George Overton and Mr. David Davies, and amounted to £47,850, and the whole sum was subscribed for by four individuals, viz.
Sir Charles Morgan, Bart . . .£15,950
Joseph Bailey, Esq . . . . . .15,950
William Thompson, Esq . . . .7,975
Crawshay Bailey, Esq . . . . .__7,975

The act for the completion of this work was obtained in 1825, and is entitled, 'An Act for making and maintaining a Railway or Tramroad from the Northern Extremity of a certain Estate called Abertyswg, in the parish of Bedwelty, in the county of Monmouth, to join the Sirhowey Railway, at or near Pye corner, in the parish of Bassaleg, in the same county.' By this act the proprietors are incorporated as "The Rumney Railway Company," with power to execute the railway and all other necessary works, for accomplishing which they are authorized to contribute £47,100, in shares of £100 each; and in case this shall prove insufficient, they may borrow £20,000 in addition, on mortgage of the works. For paying interest, &c. they are to demand as


For all Lime-stone, Lime, Materials for Roads, Dung, Compost and all Sorts of Manure 1d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Coal, coke, Culm, Cinders, Stone, Marl, Sand, Clay, Iron,Iron-stone, Iron-ore and other Minerals; Building-stone, Pitching and Paving-stone, Bricks, Tiles, Slates, and all Gross and Unmanufactured Articles and Building Materials 1½d ditto. ditto.
For all Manufactured and Unmanufactured Iron 2d ditto. ditto.
For all Lead, Timber, Staves and Deals, and all other Goods, Wares and Merchandize 3d ditto. ditto.

Fractions of a Mile and of a Ton as the Quarters therein, and of a Quarter as a Quarter.

The Proprietors to direct what Rates shall be paid for Parcels not exceeding Five Hundred Pounds.

Wharfs may be erected and the following demanded as wharfage rates.

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For all Coals, Culm, Lime, Lime-stone, Clay, Iron, Iron-stone, Lead-ore or any other Ores, Timber, Stone, Brick, Tiles, Slates, Gravel or other Things 1d per Ton.
For Parcels not exceeding Fifty-six Pounds 2d each.
For ditto above Three Hundred Pounds and not exceeding Six Hundred Pounds 4d ditto.
For ditto above One Thousand Pounds 6d per Ton.

If the above remain on Wharfs or in Warehouses above Forty-eight Hours, then there shall be paid in addition for the first Seven Days, One Penny per Ton for Wharfage and Two-pence for Warehousing, and the like Sums respectively for every further Seven Days.

Abounding as this country does with such abundance of mineral, the traffic upon this railway will amply repay the spirited proprietors who have embarked so large a capital in the construction of the work.


13 George III. Cap. 93, Royal Assent 1st April, 1773.

THIS canal was executed under the authority of the above act of parliament, which is entitled, 'An Act for making or continuing a navigable Cut or Canal from Maugan Porth, through the several parishes of Maugan, Saint Columb Major, Little Colan and Saint Columb Minor, to Lower Saint Columb Porth, in the county of Cornwall,' and which authorizes John Edyvean, of Saint Austell, in the county of Cornwall, gentleman, and his executors, administrators and assigns to make and complete this canal, and to levy thereon the following


For all Sand, Dung or other Manure 1s 0d per Ton.
For all Coals, Culm or Cinders 3s 0d per Chaldron.
For all other Goods, Wares and Merchandize 2s 6d per Ton.

It is stated that this canal will afford the means of improving many thousand acres of barren and unprofitable ground within and near the several parishes through which it passes; and it is enacted that it shall be exempted from the payment of any taxes, rates or assessments whatsoever.

For supplying this canal with water, power is given, by the act of parliament, to take all streams within three miles of the same; and also to make reservoirs within the same distance.

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The length of this canal is about six miles, and although of short extent is found very beneficial for the exporting minerals and of conveying sand and other manure to the adjoining lands.


11 George IV. Cap. 61, Royal Assent 29th May, 1830.

THE main line of railway commences from Cowley Hill Colliery, about two miles north of the town of St. Helen's, from whence its course is southwardly by Gerrard's Bridge Colliery, crossing the Sankey Brook Navigation near St. Helen's; thence by Peaseley Cross, Barton Bank Colliery to Toad Leach, where it crosses the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Its course hence is by Tibbs Cross, Plumpton Mill, to the River Mersey at Widness Wharf, directly opposite the Old Quay Docks of the Mersey and Irwell Canal; crossing in its course the line of the Sankey Brook Extension near its western termination. Adjoining and communicating with the Mersey, a capacious wet dock, two hundred yards in length with two openings with tide locks, is to be constructed, where ships and other vessels may securely lie while waiting for cargoes.

The length of this railway, embracing the amended line from Runcott Lane towards Cowley Hill Colliery, is eight miles and seven furlongs; and there are thirteen branches which are together in length six miles, five furlongs and eight chains, viz. the branch from near Tibbs Cross, in a north-westwardly direction to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, at Elton Head Colliery, is one mile, five furlongs and four chains in length; another in a north-westwardly direction, to join and communicate with the Liverpool and Manchester Bailway with greater facility, one furlong and five chains in length; and another branch from the same point, communicating with the above railway to the eastward, two furlongs and five chains in length; one from the north side of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, to communicate with it in a south-westwardly direction, two furlongs and three chains in length, and another branch to the eastward, with the same object, one furlong and five chains in length; from near

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Barton Bank Colliery, there is a branch to Broad Oak Colliery, in length seven furlongs and two chains; and from the last-mentioned branch there proceeds two collateral branches, one proceeding northwards to the Sankey Brook Colliery, one furlong and five chains in length, and another from the same point, in an eastwardly direction, to Ashton's Green Colliery, being in length two furlongs and six chains. The branch to Ravenhead Plate Glass Works quits the main line a short distance north of Peaseley Cross, and proceeds in a straight line westwards, across a branch of the Sankey Brook Navigation to the works above-mentioned, and is in length one mile and six chains; from this last-mentioned branch there proceeds three collateral branches, viz, one by Sutton and Burton Head Collieries to Dobson's Wood, which is in length six furlongs; another to the St. Helen's Plate Glass Works, in length one furlong; and another to Messrs. Clare and Haddock's Colliery, in length one furlong and one chain. From near the termination of the main line near Cowley Hill, a branch proceeds in a north-eastwardly direction to Rushy Park Colliery, in length four furlongs and six chains.

The main line, as we have already stated, is eight miles and seven furlongs in length, viz. from the Wet Dock to the Elton Head Colliery Branch, three miles, five furlongs and five chains; thence to the two branches, communicating north-eastwardly and north-westwardly with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, one mile, five furlongs and four chains; thence to where it crosses the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, one furlong and four chains; from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway to the two branches which communicate with it south-westwardly and south-eastwardly, one furlong and one chain; thence to the Ravenhead Plate Glass Works Branch, one mile and six furlongs; from the last-mentioned branch to where the Rushy Park Colliery Branch leaves the main line, one mile, one furlong and three chains; thence to its termination at Cowley Hill Colliery, two furlongs and three chains, making the total length eight miles and seven furlongs.

From the wet dock the railway is designed to rise gradually 142 feet in nearly one equal plane of four miles in length; and the next four furlongs and a half, terminating at the place called the

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Clock Face, is level; from this place there is a descent of 70 feet in one mile and five furlongs by a gradual inclination; and from thence to its termination there is a rise of 18 feet.

The Elton Head Branch rises 44 feet in one inclined plane to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The branch to Dobson's Wood has three different inclinations, but altogether the rise from the Ravenhead Branch is 34 feet, and the last-mentioned branch rises 50 feet.

The Broad Oak Colliery Branch is nearly level; and the other remaining branches are of so little moment as scarcely to call for further description.

This work was designed by C. B. Vignoles, Esq. civil engineer, who estimated the cost at £119,980, which includes the sum of £31,620 for the wet dock, and £10,900 for contingencies.

The act authorizing the execution of the above works received the King's assent on the 29th May, 1830, and is entitled, 'An Act for making a Railway from the Cowley Hill Colliery, in the parish of Prescot, to Runcorn Gap, in the same parish, with several Branches therefrom, all in the county palatine of Lancaster, and for constructing a Wet Dock at the termination of the said Railway at Runcorn Gap aforesaid.'

The subscribers, at the time the bill was in parliament, consisted of forty-one persons, who were incorporated as "The Saint Helen's and Runcorn Gap Railway Company," with power to raise amongst themselves, the sum of £120,000, (of which, £100,200 was subscribed before the act was obtained) in twelve hundred shares of £100 each; and the whole is directed to he subscribed before the work is commenced. If the above be insufficient, they may raise by mortgage of the undertaking the further sum of £30,000.

The act further directs that the inside edges of the rails shall be 4 feet 8 inches apart, and the outside edges 5 feet 1 inch; and that the railway shall not cross the Liverpool and Manchester Railway on the same level, but either by a tunnel or by a bridge to be constructed under the superintendence of the engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and that there shall be not less than three passing places in every mile.

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For Coal, Cannel, Slack and Culm 2½d per Ton, per Mile.
For Coke, Charcoal and Cinders 2d ditto. ditto.
For Lime, Lime-stone, Dung, Compost or other Manure and Materials for the Repair of Public Roads 2d ditto. ditto.
For Stone, Sand, Clay, Building, Pitching and Paving-stones, Flags, Bricks, Tiles and Slates 2d ditto. ditto.
For Sugar, Corn, Grain, Flour, Dye-woods, Timber, Staves, Deals, Lead, Iron or other Metals and Minerals 3½d ditto. ditto.
For Cotton and other Wool, Hides, Drugs, Manufactured Goods, and all other Wares and Merchandize 4d ditto. ditto.

When any Goods are conveyed on this Railway so short a Distance that the Rates do not amount to One Shilling per Ton, the Company are nevertheless empowered to demand that Amount.


For every Person passing in or upon any such Carriage any Distance not exceeding Six Miles 1s 0d.
And any Distance exceeding Six Miles 2s 0d.
For every Horse, Mule, Ass, or other Beast of Draught or Burthen, and for every Ox, Cow, Bull or Neat Cattle, carried in or upon any such Carriage for any Distance not exceeding Six Miles 1s 6d.
And any Distance exceeding Six Miles 3s 0d.
For every Calf, Sheep, Lamb or Pig, for any Distance 0s 6d.

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

When the company carry goods they are allowed the following


For Coal, Cannel, Culm, Slack, Coke, Charcoal and Cinders (of Sixty-three Cubic Feet) 0s 3d per Ton, per Mile.
For Lime, Lime-stone and all Sorts of Dung, Compost and Manure, Materials for Roads, Stone, Sand, Clay, Building, Pitching and Paving-stones, Tiles and Slates, Timber, Staves and Deals 0s 3½d ditto. ditto.
For Sugar, Corn, Grain and Flour, Dye-woods, Lead, Iron, and other Metals and Minerals 0s 5d ditto. ditto.
For Cotton and other Wool, Hides, Drugs, Groceries and Manufactured Goods 1s 6d ditto. ditto.
For Wines, Spirits, Vitriols, Glass and other hazardous Goods 1s 8d ditto. ditto.

And for Persons, Cattle and other Animals, such reasonable Charge as shall from Time to Time be determined by the Company.

The Company may charge One Shilling and Nine-pence per Ton for short Distances where the Tonnage does not amount to such a Sum.


For every Ship, Hoy, Bark, Flat or other Vessel, coming into the Dock for the purpose of loading or unloading Goods, and which shall not continue more than Thirty-six Hours, (for Merchandizc, &c. which shall be loaded or unloaded) 3d per Ton.
And for every Twelve Hours beyond this period, in addition 3d ditto.
Vessels coming in Ballast and so leaving the same, and which shall not continue in the Dock more than Twenty-four Hours 3d ditto burthen.
And for every Twelve Hours beyond such period, in addition 2d ditto.

No Vessel to remain in the Dock more than Seven Days, unless by Permission.

His Majesty's Vessels are exempt from these Tolls.

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No Waggon or other Carrisge shall be permitted to carry at one Time, including the weight of such Carriage, more than Four Tons Weight, except in any one Piece of Timber, Block or Stone, Boiler, Cylinder, Bob or single Piece of Machinery, or other single Article which nevertheless shall not exceed Eight Tons, and for which the Company may claim Sixpence per Ton per Mile. And no Piece of Timber. &c. weighing Eight Tons, including the Carriage, shall pass without the special Licence of the Company.

If the works are not completed in seven years, the powers of the act are to cease, except as to such parts as may have been executed.

In this act there is a clause for preserving the rights of his Majesty, of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company, of the Liverpool Corporation and Dock Trustees, and of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company.

By the execution of this railway, an expeditious mode will be afforded of conveying coals from the extensive coal field of St. Helen's, Wirdle, Parr and Sutton, to the port of Liverpool, and the Cheshire Salt Works; and aided by the dock, quays and other works near Runcorn Gap, will give great facility to the re-shipping of merchandize.


35 George III. Cap. 51, Royal Assent 30th April, 1795.

40 George III. Cap. 108, Royal Assent 9th July, 1800.

THE first act of parliament respecting this undertaking was passed in 1795, and is entitled, 'An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the town and county of Southampton, to the city of New Sarum, in the county of Wilts, with a collateral Branch to Northam, within the Liberties of the town of Southampton.' This was followed in 1800 by a second act, entitled, 'An Act for altering and amending an Act made in the Thirty-fifth Year of the Reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from the town and county of Southampton, to the city of New Sarum, in the county of Wilts, with a collateral Branch to Northam, within the liberties of the town of Southampton.'

The canal contemplated by these acts of parliament has been in part only made, that portion of it only between Southampton

page 558

and Redbridge, where it joins the Andover Canal, being completed. It was to branch from the Andover Canal at Mitchelmersh, and passing through the parishes of Mattisfont, Lockerley, West Dean, East Dean, East Grinstead, West Grinstead, Alderbury, Peter's Finger, Laverstock and Milford, to proceed to the Avon River at Salisbury.

That part of the canal between Salisbury and the Andover Canal was excavated, but in consequence of meeting with an extensive quick-sand, it would not hold water, and was therefore abandoned. The projectors of this work contemplated supplying the interior with fuel at a cheaper rate, and of transmitting, in return, the agricultural produce of that part of Wiltshire to the sea coast.


28 George II. Cap. 8, Royal Assent 20th March, 1755.

2 George III. Cap. 56, Royal Assent 8th April, 1762

11 George IV. Cap. 50, Royal Assent 29th May, 1830.

THIS canal, which was the first executed in the country, commenced in the River Mersey, at the mouth of Sankey Brook, from which it derives its name as well as its supply of water; the brook serving as a feeder to the canal. Running northerly in a circuitous route and alongside the Sankey Brook, it passes Sankey Bridge; then bending to the north-west, it passes Winwick Hail, and leaving Newton Park on the north, proceeds to Gerrard's Bridge and St. Helen's, where it terminates.

The first act of parliament respecting this navigation was obtained in 1755, and is entitled, 'An Act for making navigable the River or Brook called Sankey Brook, and Three several Branches thereof from the River Mersey below Sankey Bridges, up to Boardman's Stone Bridge on the South Branch, to Gerrard's Bridge on the Middle Branch, and to Penny Bridge on the North Branch, all in the county palatine of Lancaster.' By this act was authorized the collecting of the following


For all Coal, Stone, Slate, Timber and all other Goods and Merchandize 10d per Ton.

Sixty-three Cubic Feet of Coal, Cannel Coal, Charcoal, Coke and Cinders; Fifty Cubic Feet of Fir, Poplar, Alder Wood. Withy or Willow; Forty Cubic Feet of Oak, Ash or any other Timber, to be rated as a Ton.

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A second act of parliament was obtained in 1762, for amending the former, entitled, 'An Act to amend and render more effectual, an Act made in the Twenty-eighth Year of the Reign of his late Majesty King George the Second, for making navigable Sankey Brook, in the county of Lancaster, and for the extending and improving the said Navigation;' which empowered the undertakers to continue the navigation to Fidler's Ferry on the River Mersey, and to take an additional toll of two-pence per ton, making the present


For all Goods, Merchandize and Commodities whatsoever 1s per Ton.

This act allowed the undertakers till the 29th September, 1768, to complete their works. The length of the canal is about twelve miles, and it has eight single locks of about 6 feet fall each, and two double locks of about 15 feet each, making together about 78 feet fall; the depth is 5 feet 7 inches, and the width sixteen yards, and there are eighteen swivel bridges over it.

An experiment of propelling vessels by steam was tried upon this canal as early as 1797, when a loaded barge was worked up and down by a steam engine on board for a distance of twenty miles; but, singular as it may appear, to this time vessels have continued to be towed upon it by manual labour.

The principal articles carried on this canal are copper-ore, corn and coals; of the latter, one hundred thousand tons annually are conveyed to Liverpool; large quantities to the salt works in Cheshire; to the Anglesea Copper Works, and to the Plate Glass Manufactory near Warrington.

This navigation has three branches running to collieries in its neighbourhood; viz, the South Branch to Boardman's Stone Bridge, near St. Helen's; the Middle Branch to Gerrard's Bridge; and the North Branch to Penny Bridge.

The last act relating to this navigation was obtained chiefly for the purpose of enabling the proprietors to extend their navigation, from above the basin and lock at Fidler's Ferry, where it now enters the tideway of the River Mersey, across Cuerdley and Widness Salt Marshes to Widness Wharf, West Bank, near

page 560

Runcorn Gap, and there to terminate at the above-mentioned river. The length of the extension, including the new proposed basin at its termination, is three miles, two furlongs and eight chains, and on one level to the entrance of the basin, where there is to be a double lock, with a fall of 5 feet 6 inches to the level of average spring tide water at Runcorn Gap, which is 19 feet 6 inches above the sill of the Old Dock at Liverpool. The level of average neap tides at Runcorn, above Liverpool Old Dock Sill, is 11 feet 6 inches, and the level of the bottom of the basin and sill of entrance gates is 5 feet above it. The canal is to be 7 feet deep, and a branch is to be made to the west side of the basin terminating near the banks of the Mersey.

Its length is one furlong and seven chains, and level with the basin which is to be two hundred yards in length and fifty in breadth.

This act which received his Majesty's assent on the 29th May, 1830, and is entitled, 'An Act to consolidate and amend the Acts relating to the Sankey Brook Navigation, in the county of Lancaster; and to make a New Canal from the said Navigation at Fidler's Ferry, to communicate with the River Mersey at Widness Wharf, near West Bank, in the township of Widness, in the said county,' repeals the former acts of the 28th George II. and 2nd George III. and incorporates the proprietors under the title of "The Company of Proprietors of the Sankey Brook Navigation."

Previous to the passing of this act the navigation was divided into one hundred and twenty shares; it is now, however, to consist of four hundred and eighty of £200 each, the capital being £96,000; the proprietor, therefore, of one share previous to this enactment, is now entitled to four.

For the purpose of carrying into execution the intent of the act, the company are empowered to borrow, on assignment of the navigation as a security, the sum of £30,000; and for the purpose of creating a sinking fund for repayment of the sum borrowed, the company are required to set apart one-tenth part of the clear profits of the navigation.

As the previous acts are repealed, the following are the tonnage rates.

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For Coal, Cannel Coal, Stone, Slate, Flags, Timber or other Goods Wares or Merchandize, carried upon the Canal or Branches above Sankey Bridges 10d per Ton.
For every Description of Goods conveyed upon the Navigation below Sankey Bridges (except such Goods, Wares, &c. as shall be carried upon the said Navigation, and be laden or unladen from or upon any Quay or Wharf in the Rivers Mersey and lrwell above Sankey Brook Mouth, without entering into the said Canal now made or intended to be made) an additional Sum of 2d ditto.


Lime-stone, Paving-stones, Gravel, Sand and all other Materials for making or repairing of Roads, Quays and Wharfs, to or upon the Sankey Brook Navigation, and for the private use of the Persons whose Lands shall be cut or made use of for the same; Soapers' Waste, Dung and all Sorts of Manure is also exempted.

As the Land through which the proposed Extension is to be made is the Property of Sir Richard Brooke, Bart. he or his Heirs are permitted to convey any Description of Goods, being his or their own Property or that of his Tenants in Cuerdley, and being bona fide the produce of his or their Lands, free of Tolls; and also any Timber, Stone, Bricks or Slates, or other Materials intended to be used for any Building upon any Part of the above Estate in Cuerdley, or for draining the same.

For the better ascertaining the Tonnage of Coal, &c. Sixty-three Feet of Coal, Cannel Coal, Charcoal, Coke and Cinders; Fifty Cubical Feet of Fir, Poplar, Alder Wood, Withy or Willow; and Forty Cubical Feet of Oak, Ash, or other Timber shall be deemed a Ton.

Fractions to be taken as for a Quarter of a Ton.

No Vessels of less Burthen than Thirty-live Tons (except Pleasure Boats) to be permitted to pass a Lock without leave, unless a Tonnage to that Amount is paid.

Lords of manors or owners of land may erect wharfs; but if they refuse, the company may do it, and charge the following


For Coal, Stone, Lime, Sand or Brick, which shall be loaded from or landed upon any of the Wharfs, Quays or Warehouses, which shall lie more than Six Hours ½d per Ton.
For other Goods, Wares or Merchandize 3d ditto.

For the use of Sir Richard Brooke, Bart. or his tenants in Cuerdley, the company are required to construct three wharfs or landing places, together with a small basin capable of receiving a vessel of eighteen tons burthen.

This act restrains the company from any interference with the rights of the King's Most Excellent Majesty, as regards his Crown or his Duchy of Lancaster; the Mersey and Irwell Company; the Corporation of Liverpool and Trustees of Liverpool Docks; the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company; and the Owners, Proprietors or Farmers of Sankey Quays.

Mr. John Eyes, of Liverpool, was the original engineer to the undertaking. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway crosses this canal by a stupendous viaduct about a mile from Newton, at the height of 70 feet above the surface water.

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