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Audlem Boat Lift!

31st August 2011 @ 7:07am – by Audlem Webteam
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Yesterday, in Audlem Online's report on the Short-ARS (Audlem Ramblers Society) visit to the Anderton Boat Lift, we asked for any information about a suggested extension of the Weaver Navigation southwards from Northwich and a proposed Audlem Boat Lift in the 1940s.

We are delighted to have received the following response sent by Peter Brown of Market Drayton based on an article titled 'Wide-beam to Wolverhampton' by Colin Edmondson in the December 2005 issue of 'Waterways World':-

"The proposal in December 1943 was for a barge canal from the Mersey to Wolverhampton for 100 ton boats, 93ft long, 14ft3in beam, with a loaded draught of 5ft3in. There would have been four boat lifts, two at Audlem, one at Adderley and the third just south of Market Drayton, as well as several new locks.  

"The lifts would have been similar in concept to that at Anderton as it was before restoration, with two caissons working independently.

"The new canal would have been an extension of the River Weaver (which is navigable to Winsford) to Audlem, from where south it would have been more or less on the line of the Shropshire Union Canal.

"That canal would have been widened and deepened, all the bridges being removed or replaced by a standard design giving two clear 21ft channels either side of a central pier, with an air draught of at least 12ft.

"Audlem Town Boat Lift would have been just to the east of Lock 13 of the Audlem flight, below the wharf where the 'Shroppie Fly' pub stands.  It would have had a rise of 58ft6in (slightly more than the Anderton Lift).

"Above the lift the old canal would have joined the new. The new course would then have swung away slightly to the west of the old flight (which from there south would have been closed, of course) to a second boat lift, the Audlem Hillside Boat Lift, roughly alongside the present Lock 10.  

"Above the 52ft lift, would have swung back to rejoin the original alignment just below Snow's Bridge, which would have been removed. 

"Locks 7 to 1 would have been eliminated, and the pound between the top of the Audlem locks and Adderley would have had its water level lowered by about 20ft. At Adderley the lift would have had a rise of 53ft.

"The estimated cost of the waterway was £2.5 million.  The idea never got as far as a Bill being presented to Parliament.

"The report by Christopher Marsh, Engineer of the Weaver Navigation, is in the waterways archives at Gloucester, and the book of plans in the waterways archives at Ellesmere Port."

Our thanks to Peter and Colin Edmondson for this fascinating report on how Audlem may have developed just after the War of 1939 – 45. Also to Chris Knibbs for his Anderton Boat Lift photos taken on Saturday.

This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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