Traffic on the Louth Canal

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2021

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones explores the cargo-carrying boats that once plied this little-known Lincolnshire waterway

The Louth Canal was opened in May 1770, stretching 11¾ miles from Tetney Haven to its terminus at River Head, Louth. Eight locks lifted vessels up from the River Humber with dimensions no larger than 72ft long and 15ft 1in wide. The sea lock allowing entrance into the canal is at Tetney, which had two pairs of outer sea gates and two pairs of inner navigation gates. Access to the canal by laden craft was dependent on the tides, so a loaded vessel drawing the maximum draught of 5ft 6in could only enter Tetney Lock during a weeklong window around twice a month, when the spring tides were at high water. Craft intending to navigate the canal usually waited at Hull until the tides were high enough for the passage. The intention was to reach Tetney Lock at high water when the tide gave a depth of 23ft 6in above the cill of Albert Dock, Hull. When leaving Tetney Lock and heading out into the Humber Estuary, vessels had to navigate a tidal channel little more than the width of the main…

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Traffic on the Louth Canal featured image