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The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
is a canal in Northern England, linking the cities of Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool. Over a distance of 127 miles (204 km), it crosses the Pennines, and includes 91 locks on the main line. It has several small branches, and in the early 21st century a new link was constructed into the Liverpool
Liverpool
docks system.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Background 1.2 Construction

1.2.1 First phase 1.2.2 Second phase 1.2.3 Third phase

1.3 Operation 1.4 20th century

2 Route 3 Liverpool
Liverpool
link 4 Places en route 5 See also 6 Notes 7 Citations 8 External links

History[edit] Background[edit] In the mid-18th century the growing towns of Yorkshire, including Leeds, Wakefield
Wakefield
and Bradford, were trading increasingly. While the Aire and Calder Navigation
Aire and Calder Navigation
improved links to the east for Leeds, links to the west were limited. Bradford
Bradford
merchants wanted to increase the supply of limestone to make lime for mortar and agriculture using coal from Bradford's collieries and to transport textiles to the Port of Liverpool.[1] On the west coast, traders in the busy port of Liverpool wanted a cheap supply of coal for their shipping and manufacturing businesses and to tap the output from the industrial regions of Lancashire. Inspired by the effectiveness of the wholly artificial navigation, the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
opened in 1759–60. A canal across the Pennines
Pennines
linking Liverpool
Liverpool
and Hull (by means of the Aire and Calder Navigation) would have obvious trade benefits. A public meeting took place at the Sun Inn in Bradford
Bradford
on 2 July 1766 to promote the building of such a canal.[2] John Longbotham was engaged to survey a route. Two groups were set up to promote the scheme, one in Liverpool
Liverpool
and one in Bradford. The Liverpool
Liverpool
committee was unhappy with the route originally proposed, following the Ribble valley through Preston, considering that it ran too far to the north, missing key towns and the Wigan
Wigan
coalfield. A counter-proposal was produced by John Eyes and Richard Melling, improved by P.P. Burdett, which was rejected by the Bradford
Bradford
committee as too expensive, mainly because of the valley crossing at Burnley. James Brindley
James Brindley
was called in to arbitrate, and ruled in favour of Longbotham's more northerly route, though with a branch towards Wigan, a decision which caused some of the Lancashire
Lancashire
backers to withdraw their support, and which was subsequently amended over the course of development. In 1768 Brindley gave a detailed estimate of a distance just less than 109 miles (175 km) built at a cost of £259,777 (equivalent to about £32.67 million as of 2014[a]).[4] An Act was passed in May 1770 authorising construction, and Brindley was appointed chief engineer and John Longbotham clerk of works; following Brindley's death in 1772, Longbotham carried out both roles. Construction[edit] First phase[edit]

Bingley
Bingley
Five Rise Locks

A commencement ceremony was held at Halsall, north of Liverpool
Liverpool
on 5 November 1770, with the first sod being dug by the Hon. Charles Mordaunt of Halsall
Halsall
Hall. The first section of the canal opened from Bingley
Bingley
to Skipton
Skipton
in 1773.[5] By 1774 the canal had been completed from Skipton
Skipton
to Shipley, including significant engineering features such as the Bingley
Bingley
Five Rise Locks, Bingley Three Rise Locks
Bingley Three Rise Locks
and the seven-arch aqueduct over the River Aire, at Dowley Gap. Also completed was the branch to Bradford. On the western side, the section from Liverpool
Liverpool
to Newburgh was dug. By the following year the Yorkshire
Yorkshire
end had been extended to Gargrave, and by 1777 the canal had joined the Aire and Calder Navigation
Aire and Calder Navigation
in Leeds.[5] On the western side it reached Wigan
Wigan
by 1781, replacing the earlier and unsatisfactory Douglas Navigation. By now, the subscribed funds and further borrowing had all been spent, and work stopped in 1781 with the completion of the Rufford Branch from Burscough
Burscough
to the River Douglas at Tarleton. The war in the American colonies and its aftermath made it impossible to continue for more than a decade.[6] Second phase[edit] In 1789 Robert Whitworth developed fresh proposals to vary the line of the remaining part of the canal, including a tunnel at Foulridge, lowering the proposed summit level by 40 feet (12 m), using a more southerly route in Lancashire. These proposals were authorised by a fresh Act in 1790, together with further fund-raising, and in 1791, construction of the canal finally recommenced south-westward from Gargrave,[5] heading toward Barrowford
Barrowford
in Lancashire. By this time planning for the competing Rochdale Canal
Canal
was under way and it was likely to offer a more direct journey to Liverpool
Liverpool
via Manchester
Manchester
and the Bridgewater Canal. The same year John Rennie surveyed a branch of the Rochdale between Todmorden
Todmorden
and Burnley.[7] In 1794 an agreement was reached with the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal
Canal
company to create a link near Red Moss near Horwich.[8] The company's experiences running the two sections of the canal had shown that coal not limestone would be its main cargo,[1] and that there was plenty of income available from local trade between the settlements along the route. With this in mind in the same year, the route was changed again with a further Act,[5] moving closer to that proposed by Burdett. The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal
Canal
company proposed another link from Bury to Accrington. This new link would have been known as the Haslingden Canal. The Peel family asked the canal company not to construct the crossing over the River Hyndburn
River Hyndburn
above their textile printworks; such a crossing would have required the construction of embankments, and reduced the water supply to their factories.[6] Consequently, Accrington
Accrington
was bypassed and the Haslingden Canal
Canal
was never built. Yet more fund-raising took place, as the Foulridge
Foulridge
Tunnel was proving difficult and expensive to dig. The new route took the canal south via the expanding coal mines at Burnley,[9] Accrington
Accrington
and Blackburn, but would require some sizable earthworks to pass the former. The completion in 1796 of the 1,640 yards (1,500 m) long Foulridge Tunnel and the flight of seven locks at Barrowford
Barrowford
enabled the canal to open to eastern Burnley.[5] At a cost of £40,000 (about £3.65 million in 2014[b]) the tunnel became the most expensive single item in the whole project.[10][11] At Burnley, rather than using two sets of locks to cross the shallow Calder valley, Whitworth designed a 1,350 yards (1,234 m) long and up to 60 feet (18 m) high, embankment. It would also require another 559 yards (511 m) tunnel nearby at Gannow and a sizeable cutting to allow the canal to traverse the hillside between the two. It took 5 years to complete this work, with the embankment alone costing £22,000 (about £1.55 million in 2014[c]).[12] Whitworth died aged 64, on 30 March 1799 and Samuel Fletcher, previously the inspector of works took over as engineer.[13] Once the Burnley
Burnley
work was completed, the canal opened to Enfield near Accrington
Accrington
in 1801.[5] It would be another 9 years until it reached Blackburn
Blackburn
only 4 miles away. Following the French Revolution, Britain had been at war with France from 1793 to 1802. The peace proved temporary, with the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
beginning the following year. High taxes and interest rates during this period made it difficult for the company to borrow money, and the pace of construction inevitably slowed. Third phase[edit] In 1804 Samuel Fletcher also died and his brother Joseph and son James were jointly appointed to replace him and they were provided with Gannow House in Burnley.[14] In 1805 they estimated the cost of linking Enfield to Red Moss would be £245,275 and £101,725 for the shorter continuation to Wigan
Wigan
(totalling about £27.36 million in 2014[d]).[15] The planned link with the Manchester, Bolton and Bury did not materialize. The latest plan for the route had it running parallel to, and then crossing the southern section of the Lancaster Canal, but common sense prevailed and the Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
connected with the Lancaster Canal
Canal
between Aspull
Aspull
and Johnson's Hillock. The main line of the canal was thus completed in 1816. There had been various unsuccessful negotiations to connect the canal to the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
at Leigh but agreement was finally reached in 1818 and the connection was opened in 1820, thus giving access to Manchester
Manchester
and the rest of the canal network. The Bridgewater Canal, like most of Brindley's designs was for narrow boats of 72 feet (22 m) length, whereas the Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
had been designed for broad boats of 62 feet (19 m) length. There was naturally a desire by the narrow boats to reach Liverpool
Liverpool
and the locks of the westerly end of the canal were extended to 72 feet (22 m) in 1822. James Fletcher continued as engineer until his death in 1844.[15] Operation[edit] The canal took almost 50 years to complete; in crossing the Pennines the Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
had been beaten by the Huddersfield Narrow Canal
Canal
and the Rochdale Canal. The most important cargo was always coal, with over a million tons per year being delivered to Liverpool in the 1860s, with smaller amounts exported via the old Douglas Navigation. Even in Yorkshire, more coal was carried than limestone. Once the canal was fully open, receipts for carrying merchandise matched those of coal. The heavy industry along its route, together with the decision to build the canal with broad locks, ensured that (unlike the other two trans-Pennine canals) the Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool competed successfully with the railways throughout the 19th century and remained open through the 20th century. 20th century[edit]

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A concrete pillbox by the canal

1890s warehouse - Weavers' Triangle
Weavers' Triangle
- Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal

The canal suffered some damage during the Second World War. It was breached by a German mine in Bootle
Bootle
and the headquarters at Pall Mall were damaged. The canal in West Lancashire
Lancashire
was part of Britain's defensive plans against invasion. Along the canal there were tank traps, bunkers and blockhouses. Some buildings such as barns and pubs along the canal were fortified. There are still some remaining concrete pillboxes and brick built blockhouses. Trade continued on the canal until as late as the 1980s. Coal was shipped to the power station in Wigan
Wigan
until 1972 and corn to Ainscough's Mill in Burscough
Burscough
until 1960. The last horse drawn barge was 'Parbold' (1960). The especially cold winters in the early 1960s was thought to have finished off commercial use of the main line of the canal, however a load of timber passed over the full length in 1965, from Liverpool
Liverpool
to Leeds. Freight returned in 1973 (coal from Castleford
Castleford
to Skipton), plus various other odd cargoes, then grain was carried between Liverpool
Liverpool
and Manchester
Manchester
from 1974 for some years, plus a few loads across the summit - the last being 30 tonnes of herring meal on short boat 'Weaver', from Selby
Selby
to Manchester (September 1978). The last intensive use of the canal for freight was carriage of effluent from Esholt
Esholt
to Leeds
Leeds
(Knostrop) between May 1978 and December 1979, and aggregate from Trent wharves to Shipley - this ceased in 1982. The section of canal between Aintree
Aintree
and the Liverpool terminus was classed as Remainder in the review of the waterways and therefore only receives enough maintenance to keep it structurally sound. In the 1950s and 1960s the Mersey Motor Boat Club (MMBC) did a lot of work to keep the canal open and in use. With a variety of boats, converted lifeboats and wooden boats from the Lakes, they kept boats moving on the canal after commercial use stopped. The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
is one of the quietest canals for leisure boating on the network. In the 1960s, the Pall Mall terminus basin was filled in up to Chisenhale Street Bridge (Bridge A). In the 1980s the Eldonian Village housing estate was built for the community which was disrupted by the building of the Mersey Tunnel
Mersey Tunnel
and the demolition of the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery. This meant the canal was filled in between Chisenhale Street Bridge (Bridge A) and just north of Burlington Street Bridge (Bridge B). As part of the development a new bridge was built, Vauxhall Bridge (un-numbered) which was opened in 1994 by Cilla Black.[citation needed] In August 2010, a 60-mile stretch of the canal was closed due to the low reservoirs, following the driest start to the year since records began. It was reopened the following month, although some restrictions remained.[16] Route[edit]

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Tarleton
Tarleton
Lock, where the Rufford Branch links into the River Douglas.

The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
main line is 127 miles (204 km) long and crosses the country from Liverpool, Merseyside
Merseyside
to Leeds, West Yorkshire. It has two main side-branches, the Leigh Branch and the Rufford Branch. The summit level is at 487 feet (148 m). The canal was built with locks 60 ft (18 m) long and 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m) wide to accommodate the Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Keel barges already in use on the Rivers Aire and Humber. However, the locks on the Leigh Branch and the mainline between Wigan
Wigan
and Liverpool
Liverpool
(and Rufford Branch), were extended to a length of 72 feet (22 m) to accommodate the longer boats trading on the rest of the canal network following the building of the Leigh Branch.

The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
at Wigan
Wigan
Pier

Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
near Granary Wharf
Granary Wharf
in Leeds

Leeds
Leeds
to Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal, Saltaire. Mill buildings built by Sir Titus Salt.

Bingley
Bingley
Five Rise Locks

The Double Arched bridge (number 161) at East Marton

Canal
Canal
boats at Appley Bridge

Bell's Swing Bridge#16 in Lydiate

Original buildings from Clarkes Basin Liverpool

The original Liverpool
Liverpool
terminus was at Clarke's Basin in present-day Old Hall Street.[17] This later moved to Pall Mall when land was sold to a railway company. A direct connection to the docks via Stanley Dock was built in 1846. From Liverpool
Liverpool
to Appley Locks, the canal runs for 27 miles (43 km) without locks, across the West Lancashire
Lancashire
Coastal Plain. The two main side-branches both connect to other waterways. The Rufford Branch links into the River Douglas and, via the Ribble Link and the River Ribble
River Ribble
to the previously isolated Lancaster Canal. The Leigh Branch from Wigan
Wigan
leads to the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
and thus to Manchester
Manchester
and the Midlands. At 127 miles (204 km) long, The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
is the longest single canal in the UK constructed by one company, though it is shorter than the longest merged canal in the UK, the Grand Union Canal.[citation needed] The canal at Aintree
Aintree
passes close to the racecourse and gives the name to the course's Canal
Canal
Turn.[citation needed] Liverpool
Liverpool
link[edit] The new £20 million Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
Link was completed in 2009,[18] and opened on 25 March 2009.[19] It re-connects the Leeds and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
to Liverpool's South Docks via Stanley Dock,[20] allowing boats to travel past the world-famous Three Graces and into the Albert Dock. Places en route[edit] Direction: East (top) to west (bottom)

Leeds Granary Wharf, Leeds
Leeds
city centre Armley
Armley
Pool Kirkstall Bramley Rodley Calverley Apperley Bridge Shipley Saltaire Bingley Keighley Silsden Kildwick Skipton Gargrave East Marton Barnoldswick Salterforth Foulridge
Foulridge
Tunnel Barrowford Nelson Brierfield Reedley Burnley Ightenhill Gannow Tunnel Hapton Clayton-le-Moors Church -The Halfway Point Oswaldtwistle Rishton Blackburn Riley Green Wheelton Johnson's Hillock Chorley Adlington Leigh Wigan
Wigan
- Wigan
Wigan
Pier Appley Bridge Parbold Lathom

Rufford branch:

Rufford Sollom Tarleton

Burscough Scarisbrick Halsall Haskayne Downholland Cross Lydiate Maghull Melling Aintree Litherland Bootle Vauxhall

Stanley Dock
Stanley Dock
Branch:

Stanley Dock

Liverpool

See also[edit]

UK Waterways portal

Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
Society

Notes[edit]

^ Comparing the historic opportunity cost of £259,777 in 1768 with 2014.[3] ^ Comparing the historic opportunity cost of £40,000 in 1796 with 2014.[3] ^ Comparing the historic opportunity cost of £22,000 in 1801 with 2014.[3] ^ Comparing the historic opportunity cost of £347,000 in 1805 with 2014.[3]

Citations[edit]

^ a b "Origin & Historic Development" (PDF). Bradford
Bradford
Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2011.  ^ Clarke, Mike (1994). The Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal. Carnegie Publishing. ISBN 1-85936-013-0.  ^ a b c d Officer, Lawrence H. (2009), "Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present", MeasuringWorth, retrieved 29 August 2015  ^ Priestley 1831, p. 386 ^ a b c d e f "The Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
Society Chronology". Northern Heritage. 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2008.  ^ a b Clarke, Mike. "The Leeds- Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal". cottontown.org. Retrieved 18 August 2008.  ^ Boucher, Cyril (1963). John Rennie The life and Work of A Great Engineer 1761–1821. Manchester
Manchester
University Press. p. 124.  ^ Priestley 1831, p. 435 ^ " Lancashire
Lancashire
Historic Town Survey Programme Burnley" (PDF). Lancashire
Lancashire
County Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2011.  ^ UK Retail Price Index
Retail Price Index
inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017.  ^ Johnson, Gill (2014). "Canals came at high cost to human life". Lancashire
Lancashire
Telegraph (published 12 February 2014). Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.  ^ Brian Hall (1977). Burnley: A Short History. Burnley: Burnley Historical Society. p. 40. ISBN 0-9500695-3-1.  ^ Skempton 2002, pp. 230, 781 ^ Historic England. "Gannow House, Burnley
Burnley
(1244807)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 January 2015.  ^ a b Skempton 2002, p. 230 ^ British Waterways
British Waterways
announces phased reopening of Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
British Waterways
British Waterways
15 September 2010. ^ "Walking and Cycling guide to the Canal". Towpath
Towpath
Treks. 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2008.  ^ "Photographs of current work". Pennine Waterways. Retrieved 14 June 2008.  ^ "New canal link to boost tourism". BBC News. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2009.  ^ "New Lock Gates For Stanley Lock Flight On Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool Canal". British Waterways. 23 January 2007. Archived from the original on 25 April 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2016. 

Bibliography

Clarke, Mike (1990). The Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal. Preston: Carnegie Press. ISBN 0-948789-40-9.  Skempton, Sir Alec; et al. (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: Vol 1: 1500 to 1830. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-2939-X.  Priestley, Joseph (1831). Historical Account of the Navigable Rivers, Canals and Railways of Great Britain. Longman, Green. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal.

Google Map of Leeds
Leeds
Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
and Branches Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
- Walks, cycle routes, attractions and visits. Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal
Canal
- history, virtual tour Photographs and History of the Leeds
Leeds
& Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal Map of canal route "200-year-old 'canal cottages' at risk in Liverpool
Liverpool
city centre: Must we lose this historic link with Liverpool's commercial past?". The fight to save 91-93 Old Hall Street. 10 September 2001. Retrieved 3 May 2006. 

Coordinates: 53°47′N 1°31′W / 53.783°N 1.517°W / 53.783; -1.517

v t e

Navigable canals of the United Kingdom

England

Aire and Calder1 Ashby-de-la-Zouch2 Ashton Basingstoke Canal Beverley Beck Birmingham Canal
Canal
Navigations3 Bridgewater Bridgwater and Taunton Bude2 Calder and Hebble1 Cambridgeshire Lodes3 Chelmer and Blackwater1 Chesterfield2 Chichester2 Coventry Driffield Droitwich Erewash Foss Dyke Gloucester and Sharpness Grand Union3 Grand Western2 Grantham2 Herefordshire and Gloucestershire2 Hollinwood Branch2 Huddersfield Broad Huddersfield Narrow Ipswich and Stowmarket12 Kennet and Avon Lancaster2 Leeds
Leeds
and Liverpool3 Lee Navigation1 Limehouse Llangollen Lydney Macclesfield Manchester
Manchester
Bolton & Bury2 Manchester
Manchester
Ship Canal Market Weighton2 Middle Level Navigations3 Montgomery2 North Walsham & Dilham12 Nottingham2 Oxford1 Peak Forest Pocklington2 Regent's Canal Ribble Link1 Ripon Rochdale Royal Military Canal Sankey2 Selby Sheffield and South Yorkshire13 Shropshire Union3 Sleaford12 South Forty-Foot Drain Staffordshire and Worcestershire Stort1 Stourbridge Stratford-upon-Avon Stroudwater2 Thames and Medway2 Thames and Severn2 Trent and Mersey3 Weaver1 Wey and Arun2 Wey and Godalming1 Wilts & Berks2 Witham Navigable Drains3 Worcester and Birmingham

Northern Ireland

Broharris Canal Coalisland Canal Dukart's Canal Lagan Canal Newry Canal Shannon–Erne Waterway Strabane Canal Ulster Canal

Scotland

Caledonian Canal1 Crinan Canal Forth and Clyde Union Canal

Wales

Llangollen Canal Monmouthshire and Brecon2 Montgomery Canal2 Neath and Tennant2 Swansea Canal2

Features

Aqueducts (list) Basins Locks Rings Tunnels (list) Winding holes

Related topics

British Waterways Canal
Canal
& River Trust Scottish Canals History of the British canal system Narrowboats National Waterways Museum Navigable aqueduct Waterways Ireland

Notes: 1 Contains canalised river. 2 Partly or mostly navigable, and/or under restoration. 3 A system of canals. Canals which form part of this system are not listed

.