Leeds and Liverpool Canal

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Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Ainscoughs mill in Burscough
Maximum boat length62 ft 0 in (18.90 m)
(A 62' boat can go along the whole canal; boats up to 72' used to go between Liverpool and Leigh.)
Maximum boat beam14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
(Boats 14' 4" wide can go along the whole canal; Boats up to 14' 6" used to go between Liverpool and Leigh.)
Maximum height above sea level487 ft (148 m)
Navigation authorityCanal & River Trust
Principal engineerJohn Longbotham
Other engineer(s)James Brindley
Robert Whitworth
Date of act1770
Construction began1770
Date of first use1774
Date completed1816
Date extended1822
Start point53°47′34″N 1°32′53″W / 53.7928°N 1.5480°W / 53.7928; -1.5480
End point53°24′11″N 2°59′34″W / 53.4030°N 2.9929°W / 53.4030; -2.9929

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs from Leeds to Liverpool. It is 127 miles (204 km) long. It goes over the Pennines. There are 91 locks on the main line and several small branches. It is the longest continuous canal in the United Kingdom.[1]

It was started when people saw the success of the Bridgewater Canal which opened in 1759–60. It joins the Bridgewater Canal at Leigh, by a branch from Wigan.

James Brindley made the plan, but he died in 1772. Work was started on both sides of the Pennines. This included some impressive engineering like the Bingley Five Rise Locks, Bingley Three Rise Locks and the seven-arch aqueduct over the River Aire. Work stopped in 1781 because the money ran out. It started again in in 1791, on a different route from the earlier plan, and the main line of the canal was finished in 1816. This included the Foulridge Tunnel, which was 1,640 yards (1,500 m) long and was very expensive, and the Burnley Embankment, which is 1,350 yards (1,234 m) long and up to 60 feet (18 m) high.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Rochdale Canal crossed the Pennines before it was finished.

The most important cargo was always coal, with over a million tons per year being delivered to Liverpool in the 1860s. Because it could have wide boats it competed successfully with the railways throughout the 19th century and stayed open through the 20th century.

In the Second World War a German bomb fell on it in Bootle.

In 2009 a new section was built, connecting it to the docks in the centre of Liverpool, which had become a centre of tourism.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Canal". Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society. Retrieved 2023-04-09.