Water Wars

Historical Canal Maps: NarrowBoat, Summer 2023

Richard Dean

Richard Dean examines how a water supply dispute is illustrated in a Victorian-era map

Water is the life blood of a canal, and canal companies invested much money and effort to secure, maintain and protect their supplies, often leading to extended arguments with existing private users, particularly millers, and with neighbouring waterways. A good example is the dispute between the Manchester Ship Canal as owners of the Bridgewater Canal, and the Rochdale Canal Co, well-illustrated by the map below, one of the exhibits prepared during their court battles between 1898 and 1901. Although the Manchester terminus of the Duke of Bridgewater’s Canal (blue on the map) was officially at Castlefield, where it joined and was supplied by the River Medlock, the duke arranged that his coal-boats could proceed 1,500 yards upstream from where he drove a 600-yard navigable tunnel (broken black line) to an unloading shaft at Bank Top, Piccadilly. When the Ashton Canal (green) was authorised in 1792 down to a basin at Piccadilly, it sought a water supply from higher up the Medlock, …

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at subscriptions@wwonline.co.uk.

 Water Wars  featured image