A Lost Wonder of the Waterways?

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Winter 2021

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis explores the history of a unique but short-lived lift-bridge on the Barnsley Canal

Information on the Barnsley Canal in the 21st century is not easy to come by; even waterways historian Charles Hadfield manages little more than a page in his comprehensive Canals of the British Isles. Thus, it is no surprise that there are few details available on the unique electric lift-bridge at Royston, including the need for such an elaborate structure at this location. All sources agree that it was built in 1934 by the former West Riding County Council, which implies that it was primarily a highway concern. A visit to the site today only serves to increase the mystery as Midland Road, which passes through it, is classified as the B6428, running from Royston towards Pontefract, some 10 miles away, and only passing through the former pit village of Ryhill along the way. In former times the road gave access to Monckton Colliery and its associated brick and chemical works, plus, as the name suggests, the local station, though the colliery was linked to both railway and canal. Toda…

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