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Ulverston Canal

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Summer 2020

Joseph Boughey

Using the British Newspaper Archive, Joseph Boughey provides insights into this Cumbrian ship canal

The Ulverston is an early ‘ship’ canal on the Cumbrian coast that is just under 1½ miles long and opens out onto the Leven Estuary. Its history has been covered in four accounts, beginning with Gordon Biddle’s coverage in The Canals of North-West England (1972) and an article by the late Edward Paget-Tomlinson in Waterways World in 1976. Much more recently, a local historian, the late Alan Pearson, produced The History of Ulverston Canal (2019), while Gordon Biddle has returned to the canal in Railways, Ports and Resorts of Morecambe Bay (2020). One might think there was nothing more to find out about the waterway, but newspaper sources still serve to supplement these accounts.Shipbuilders The canal was home to several shipbuilders that produced seagoing craft that would rarely return to the port. Indeed, Ulverston was one of the more prominent shipbuilding centres in a declining industry in the 1860s: the Ulverston Advertiser of 21st January 1869 stated that…

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