The Halifax Arm

Canal Postcards: NarrowBoat, Winter 2021

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis looks at postcard publishers’ images of a now largely lost branch of the Calder & Hebble Navigation

When the Calder & Hebble Navigation was first opened in 1770, it ran from Wakefield to wharves at Salterhebble and Sowerby Bridge. The former was as close as it could then reach to Halifax, while the latter was on the trans-Pennine Halifax-to-Rochdale turnpike road, enabling it to also serve Rochdale. Both wharves required goods to be hauled from the canal up significant gradients to reach Halifax, well over 100ft in the case of Salterhebble, and rather more in the case of Sowerby Bridge, where the road first climbed above and then descended into the town. Consequently, in 1828 the company opened a branch to Halifax, which extended the Salterhebble Arm and climbed through 14 locks in a little over a mile to a basin at the bottom of the town. The branch had water supply problems, due to the Hebble Brook being a fairly small stream, which also had several watermills. These difficulties had to be overcome by providing a pumping station at Siddal, situated on the hillside about halfw…

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The Halifax Arm featured image