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the lowest lock. Loaded vessels are generally neaped about three days, but unloaded can pass to or from the river at every tide. The old lock by which at first it communicated with Sankey brook still remains, but is seldom used, unless when a number of vessels are about entering from the Mersey at once; in which case some of the hindmost often sail for Sankey brook, in order to get before the others. This Canal has proved very beneficial to the public and to the undertakers. Some of the first collieries upon its banks are worked out, and others have been opened. Its business has been increased by the large copper-works belonging to the Anglesea company, erected on one of its branches; and by the plate-glass manufactory, and other works founded near it, in the neighbourhood of the populous town of St. Helens.” Besides the above named Canal, this county is intersected by portions of nine others, four of which communicate with the populous town of Manchester. I shall proceed to detail a concise account and description of these, in the alphabetical order, and therefore commence with that of, The Ashton-under-Line Canal, which communicates between Manchester and the town of Ashton, was made in consequence of an act of parliament, passed in 1792. Commencing at the east side of Manchester, it crosses the river Medlock, passes Fairfield, and at Ashton passes through a long tunnel in front of Duckenfield Lodge. Near this place it is joined by the Peak-forest Canal, and at Fairfield a branch goes off to the New Mill, wear Oldham. The whole length of this canal is eleven miles, with a rise of 152 feet. Bridgewater's Canal. A portion of this has already been described under Cheshire; but there is a branch which exclusively belongs to this county, and communicates from Manchester, to Worsley, Leigh, &c. This immensely profitable navigation originated with the late excellent and patriotic Duke of Bridgewater, who individually and courageously undertook to expend an almost princely fortune in effecting this scheme; the object of which was to supply the manufactories, &c. of Manchester with coal from his * Aikin's Description, &c. of Manchester, p. 111.
his estates at Worsley. The branch of it which we have now to trace, commences at the Castle Field, in the suburbs of Manchester, and terminates at Pennington, near the town of Leigh. Contiguous to Manchester there is a communication with the Mersey and Irwell navigation, and Manchester, Bolton, and Bury Canal, by means of Medlock brook. Under the town of Manchester are arched tunnels for a portion of this canal, of considerable length, from one of which coals are hoisted up by a coal-gin, through a shaft out of the barges below, into a large coal-yard, or storehouse, in the main street; at which place the Duke and his successors are, by the first act, bound to supply the inhabitants of Manchester, at all times, with coals at only 4d. per hundred weight, of 140lb.; a circumstance which must have had a great effect on the growing population of this immense town. At Worsley is a short cut to Worsley Mills, and another to the entrance bason of the famous underground works, or tunnels. Here it buries itself in a hill, which it enters by an arched passage, partly bricked, and partly formed by the solid rock, wide enough for the admission of long flatbottomed boats, which are towed by means of rings, and handrails on each side. The Canal, or tunnel, penetrates above three quarters of a mile before it reaches the first coal-works; where it divides into two channels, branching to the right and left. In the passage, at certain distances, are funnels cut through the rock, and issuing perpendicularly at the top of the hill. The arch at the entrance is only about six feet wide, and five in height above the surface of the water. In some places within, it widens, to accommodate two boats to pass each other. To this subterraneous canal the coals are brought from the mines in low waggons, which hold about a ton each, and these are easily pulled down a gentle declivity, on an iron railway, by a man. One of the
tunnels is as much as six yards below the Canal, and another
353 yards above it, and 60 yards beneath the surface. These last, to which the boats ascend by means of an InclinedPlane, * extend to the veins of coal, that are worked to a great
"Mr. William Reynolds, of Ketley, in Shropshire, was the first person .
depth under Walkden Moor; most of the tunnels are hewn out of the solid rock: from the lower one the coals are hoisted up in boxes, out of the boats, as already mentioned, at Manchester; and the whole of the lower works are prevented from filling with water by large pumps worked by the hydraulic machine, and the water is thereby always kept at the proper height for navigation in the lower Canal. In making the tunnels at this place, the engineers encountered some serious difficulties: after the workmen had proceeded a considerable way into the hill, they came, at a great | “... f. depth, under a small stream of water, by the side of which a large
... ( - water shaft was sunk, and a drum and large brake-wheel were - erected over it. This was made of sufficient size that a man, who stands before a lever, attached to it, can, by means of valves, command the whole machinery, and direct its operations at pleasure. t By means of this machine, the mine water is drawn from the lower level, into the middle Canal, and the height and depth of the lower Canal are regulated. Coals are also easily and rapidly let
| down from the upper shafts into the boats, by this machine, which was one of the ingenious inventions and contrivances of Mr. James | Brindley, the eminent canal engineer. Near Worsley, a cut | branches off, and ends at Chat Moss, a distance of about a mile
and a half. By the first act, it was intended to carry this branch to Hollin Ferry, near Glazebrook, there to join the Mersey and Irwell navigation. This plan was never completed. The principal feeders for this Canal are the Worsley brook, with the mine water there collected, and the Medlock brook at Manchester. The tunnelling at Worsley, and the Canal thence to Manchester, were
begun who contrived and executed an inclined plane, which was completed in 1778. It was calculated to convey boats, and their cargoes, from different levels in the Canal, and was found fully to answer its intention. See an account of this, with prints, in Plymley's Agricultural Report of Shropshire. In 1797, the Duke of Bridgewater had a similar inclined plane, constructed in his tunnels at Worsley; and in 1800, his Grace caused an account of it to be presented to the Society of Arts in the Adelphi, London; for which the Society voted him the Gold Medal, and published Plans and Sections, with an aecount in the 18th Vol. of their “Transactions.”
begun immediately on passing the first act, 32d Geo. II. 1759.” The boats that navigate from Worsley to Manchester, are only 4} feet wide, and contain between seven and eight tons each. Several of them are usually linked together, and drawn by one or two mules. Some very large warehouses have been built for stowing goods, &c. belonging to this, and its connecting branches, at the Castlefield, Manchester. In the course of this Canal, near Worsley, and at some other places, small channels are opened from the bottom of the Canal for the purpose of letting water out to irrigate the land in its vicinity. To Mr. James Brindley, the inhabitants of Manchester, and the proprietors of this concern, are principally indebted for the original successful execution of this navigation; and since his death the works have been carried on and promoted by Mr. Gilbert, and Mr. Benjamin Sothem; whilst the mining department has been ably conducted by Mr. Thomas Bury. Since the late Duke's decease, the whole of his canal property has been vested by will in three trustees: the Bishop of Carlisle; the Chief Baron ; and R. H. Bradshaw, Esq. The latter gentleman resides at Worsley-Hall, and manages the whole for the present Marquis of Stafford, who is sole life proprietor. The boats of these canals are marked R. H. Bradshaw and Co.; whence it appears to the stranger that Mr. Bradshaw is the principal partner in the firm. Douglas River Navigation was effected under acts of parliament of the sixth of George the First, and tenth and twenty-third of George the Third. The course of this navigation is nearly north and south; and, for the first nine miles from the sea, it is but little elevated. Its principal articles of conveyance are common and cannel coals, agricultural produce, and lime-stone. It commences in the Tide-way, in the estuary of the Ribble river, near Hesketh, and terminates in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Canal at Briers Mill. From the mouth to Solom, about five miles, the original river Douglas, (or Asland,) is navigable; and thence to Briers Mill is a cut of four miles, with a rise of eight locks, the whole rise from the Ribble being forty-nine feet. The width of the Canal is from twenty-four to thirty feet, and its depth generally five feet. The locks are 70 feet long, by 15% feet wide. By the first act, Messrs. William Squires and Thomas Steers were to make the Douglas navigable from the Ribble to Miry-Laneend, near Wigan. This was effected about the year 1727, and the proprietors were allowed 2s. 6d. per ton for goods, whatever distance they might be navigated thereon. By the first act for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, (tenth of George the Third,) the successors of the first proprietors of the Douglas navigation, were authorised to make a junction with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Newborough, by a cut of 3% miles long, parallel to this river, with a fall of 12 feet, which they completed in 1774; and the same now forms part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, southeast of Newborough Aqueduct Bridge, in consequence of the purchase which that company made of the whole of this concern, in pursuance of their act of the twenty-third of George the Third ; since which the Canal from Brier's Mill to Solom above described, as part of the lower navigation, was cut, and completed in 1781; and the river navigation between Solom and Wigan, twelve or thirteen miles, we are informed, has been disused. Haslington Canal, according to an act of Parliament obtained in the thirty-third of George the Third, is intended to communicate in a distance of about thirteen miles between Bury, where it joins the Bolton and Bury Canal, to Church, where it joins the Leeds and Liverpool. No locks are to be made on this line except by consent of three fourths of all the millers who occupy the streams of water; but in their place it is intended to erect inclined pillars. This Canal is not yet completed. Lancaster Canal takes a long course of 75; miles, through nearly the whole county of Lancaster, and part of Westmoreland; and is authorised by acts of Parliament in the thirty-second, thirty
* Other Acts were obtained for this, and the other line of the Bridgewater's Canal, the thirty-third of George the Second, and second, sixth, and thirtyfifth of George the Third, - *