Route to Halifax

Historical Canal Maps: NarrowBoat, Winter 2021

Richard Dean

Richard Dean explores details of a branch of the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

The growing importance of Halifax and its wool trade in the early 19th century prompted the Calder & Hebble Navigation to ask its engineer Thomas Bradley to extend its short Salterhebble Branch up the valley nearly to the centre of the town. His 1824 plan (below) involved 12 broad locks rising 100ft supplied by a pumping engine, and was authorised by Parliament in 1825. Completed in 1828 the route closely followed his earlier survey, but with an increase to 14 slightly shallower locks to save water, as shown on the 1893 Ordnance Survey map (bottom). The canal facilitated much new development in Halifax, but the pumping made it expensive to maintain as trade was lost to rail and road in the 1930s, leading to formal abandonment in 1941.…

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