The Stanley Ferry Aqueduct

Canal Postcards: NarrowBoat, Winter 2020

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis explores postcard perspectives of this pioneering Aire & Calder structure

The original line of the Aire & Calder Navigation between Castleford and Wakefield was no less than 12½ miles long, following the winding course of the Calder. By the 1820s, the navigation company was looking to shorten its various lines and engaged Thomas Telford, along with its own engineer, George Leather Senior, to put forward proposals. In 1825, the two proposed a route for the Calder line that shortened the distance by as much as 5 miles, with an aqueduct of six piers planned to cross the river at Stanley Ferry. An Act was passed in 1828, but it became apparent that the site was unsuitable for the piers of the planned aqueduct and a single-arched structure was designed, probably by Leather (Telford died in 1834). Building commenced in 1837, the contractor being Hugh McIntosh, with the ironwork supplied by William Graham & Co of Elsecar, near Barnsley. The aqueduct opened in 1839. It is probably the longest ever suchiron construction, having a span of 165ft. It re…

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