The Ellesmere Canal to Shrewsbury

Canals That Never Were: NarrowBoat, Winter 2006

Richard Dean

Richard Dean on the never-built canal from Ellesmere to Shrewsbury

The Ellesmere Canal obtained its Act in the ‘Canal Mania’ year of 1793 as a major link between the rivers Severn, Dee and Mersey, but as the euphoria and the funds evaporated it settled down to a lowlier existence serving the mineral and agricultural districts along the Welsh Border (see Narrowboat Summer 2006 for further details). The ‘main line’ was opened southwards to Weston Lullingfields in 1797, petering out in a remote field beyond Weston Wharf. Various proposals were made to bring it further towards Shrewsbury, but once the Shrewsbury Canal had started to deliver coal and lime there, the economic case for extension had vanished. First surveyed in 1792 by John Duncombe, the details were endorsed by William Jessop, with the Weston to Shrewsbury section of nearly 11 miles estimated at £28,000. The plans show the 266ft level from the bottom of Frankton Locks to Weston continued through the broken country northwest of the Severn, to lock down 89ft at…

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