ANDERTON BOAT LIFT

 

Grid Ref: SJ 648 752
Date 5 June 2014

 

Anderton Boat Lift
General view of the side of the boat lift and the river beyond
Anderton Boat Lift
Entrance at river level
Anderton Boat Lift
Barge emerges from the lift
Anderton Boat Lift
View from the canal entrance

 

 

The Anderton Boat Lift lies just north of Northwich in Cheshire. It is a two caisson lift lock and allows barges to pass from the River Weaver to the Trent and Mersey Canal, a vertical lift of 50 feet. The barges are sailed into one of two tanks or caissons which can then be sealed with watertight doors. When first built in 1875 by Edwin Clark, the mechanism was operated by gravity in which excess water in the upper tank caused it to drop and lift the lower tank. In 1908 this mechanism was replaced with an electric motor but it is once more hydraulically operated. The original lift operated until 1983 by which time it was in poor condition. It was restored and re-opened in 2002 at a cost of £7 million. There are now education facilities and a coffee shop for visitors. This is a fine piece of Victorian engineering and is now operated by the Canal and River Trust.

The Weaver Navigation system, brought about by an Act of Parliament in 1734 made the river navigable from Winsford via Northwich to Frodsham where it joins the Mersey. This was before the Bridgewater Canal which started from Worsley to Manchester in 1761 but did not reach the Mersey until January 1773. The Trent and Mersey Canal joined the Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook in Cheshire and was completed in 1777. For many years goods from the Trent and Mersey were moved at Anderton to boats on the Weaver using cranes, shutes and an inclined plane to carry barges on trolleys down the slope to the river. The construction of the boat lift made a big saving in time and effort.

 

Sources:

Anderton Boat Lift official site
Wikipedia Articles on the Trent and Mersey Canal, The Anderton Boat Lift and the Bridgewater Canal.

 

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Cheshire Antiquities
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