The Rochdale Canal


Brief History

Proposals for the Rochdale Canal began in 1794.

The waterway was built between 1794-1798 and opened on 21st December 1804, and – in conjunction with the Calder & Hebble Navigation – linked the Bridgewater Canal, Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool with the east.

The section from Sowerby Bridge to Gauxholme was the first to be constructed.

It joins the Calder & Hebble Canal at Sowerby Bridge Basin.

This was the first water route across the Pennines, and was 15 feet wide, 33 miles in length with a total of 92 locks. There were 36 locks and a rise of 316 ft in Yorkshire, and 56 locks and a rise of 514 ft – up 600 ft to the Summit and a drop of 86 ft – in Lancashire.

There was an outcry from mill-owners – whose mills were all water-powered – when the builders wanted to use all adjacent streams to feed the canal; reservoirs – including Hollingworth Lake – and a small number of streams were finally used.

There was a proposal – the Bury proposal – to build a waterway from Sowerby Bridge directly to Littleborough, Rochdale and on to Bury.

The major events in the history of the waterway are listed in the Foldout on Local Transport

See Blackstone Edge reservoir, Luddendenfoot aqueduct, Manchester & Leeds Railway and White Holme Reservoir

© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 08:34 /5th March 2018 / mmr551 / 5678

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