Lincolnshire Link

Canals That Never Were: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2023

Richard Dean

Richard Dean examines waterway schemes to connect the Midlands with Lincolnshire

Based on Ordnance Survey mapping. © Crown copyright 61/23 The Fenland waterways served a rich agricultural district but their isolation meant sending produce to the Midlands or south England, or receiving coal, involved inconvenient and expensive passages by road or sea. A tenuous link was made by the Grand Junction Canal in 1805 with a tramroad down to the head of the difficult Nene Navigation at Northampton, but a proper waterway connection was needed. Schemes at various locations were discussed and surveyed, with several focussing on the town of Stamford at the head of the ancient Welland Navigation. In 1786 the intended canalisation of the River Soar from Loughborough to Leicester, and the Wreak to Melton Mowbray, prompted a contemporary proposal surveyed by Robert Whitworth to extend with a canal from Melton, via Oakham and Empingham, to the Welland Navigation below Stamford. This collapsed with the initial failure of the Soar scheme, but the rivers were opened up o…

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