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Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Hob Uid: 1340967
Location :
Oldham, Kirklees, Tameside
Saddleworth, Mossley
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SE0420207296
Summary : The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs across the Pennines from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire to Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester. Construction of the canal was proposed by a number of shareholders of the Ashton Canal to link the Ashton with the existing Broad Canal at Huddersfield. This would, in turn, provide a more direct route between Manchester and Leeds than the Rochdale Canal further north. The line of the canal takes advantage of the natural valleys of the River Tame and River Colne with a tunnel - the Standedge Canal Tunnel - under the Pennines. This tunnel, between Diggle and Marsden, at 3.25 miles long, is the longest canal tunnel in Britain (see record 47637) and its lengthy construction of 16 years delayed the canal's complete opening until 1811. The canal is also the highest navigable waterway in Britain. Once open the canal enjoyed a short period of relative prosperity until 1845 when it was bought by the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway Company, whose line was to follow a similar route. Once the railway was open, the railway company had no reason to promote the canal, which fell into slow decline and was eventually closed in 1944. In 1974 the Huddersfield Canal Society was formed with the objective of restoring and re-opening the canal. The society brought together the local councils of Kirklees, Oldham and Tameside and British Waterways for a 30 million pound restoration programme supported by a 14.85 million pound grant from the Millennium Commission and a 12 million pound grant from English Partnerships. The canal was re-opened in May 2001 and the newly restored route is expected to create 400 jobs and generate investment along the canal corridor.
More information : The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs across the Pennines from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire to Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester. Construction of the canal was proposed by a number of shareholders of the Ashton Canal to link the Ashton with the existing Broad Canal at Huddersfield. This would, in turn, provide a more direct route between Manchester and Leeds than the Rochdale Canal further north. The line of the canal takes advantage of the natural valleys of the River Tame and River Colne with a tunnel - the Standedge Canal Tunnel - under the Pennines. This tunnel, between Diggle and Marsden, at 3.25 miles long, is the longest cannel tunnel in Britain (see uid 47637) and its lengthy construction of 16 years delayed the canal's complete opening until 1811. Once open the canal enjoyed a short period of relative prosperity until 1845 when it was bought by the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway Company, whose line was to follow a similar route. Once the railway was open, the railway company had no reason to promote the canal, which fell into slow decline and was eventually closed in 1944. In 1974 the Huddersfield Canal Society was formed with the objective of restoring and re-opening the canal. The society brought together the local councils of Kirklees, Oldham and Tameside and British Waterways for a 30 million pound restoration programme supported by a 14.85 million pound grant from the Millennium Commission and a 12 million pound grant from English Partnerships. The canal was re-opened in May 2001 and the newly restored route is expected to create 400 jobs and generate investment along the canal corridor. (1)

To build the Huddersfield Narrow Canal work camps were set up along the route. After the Act of Parliament on 4th April 1794, the Huddersfield Canal Company appointed Benjamin Outram as its engineer and Nicholas Brown as Superintendent for the construction work. By the end of 1798 the canal was opened from Huddersfield to Marsden and Ashton to Dobcross. A series of 74 locks along its 19.75 mile length raised the canal to a height of 645 feet making it Britain's highest canal. Thomas Telford was appointed in 1806 to finalise the work and the tunnel was officially opened in 1811.

The Huddersfield Narrow carried various commercial freight and cargo. It was supplied by ten reservoirs, however it suffered various periods of drought and was even closed one year for 39 days.
Increasing competition from the Rochdale Canal and railway companies led to a gradual reduction in freight transport and by 1844 the canal was uneconomical to run. It was incorporated into the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company in 1845 and then became part of the London and North Western Railway Company. Transport on the canal continued to decline and the last recorded cargo taken through Standedge Tunnel was in November 1921. In 1944 it was closed by Act of Parliament.

The last recorded passage of a boat along the entire length of the canal was in 1948. In the 1950's, lock gates were removed, bridges lowered and sections of the canal were sold off and the canal fell into dereliction.

In the early 1980's the Huddersfield Canal Society began to restore the canal and over three quarters of the canal was made navigable. The final phase of was undertaken by the Huddersfield Canal Company and the whole route including Standedge Tunnels has been opened. (2)

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs for 20 miles between Huddersfield and Ashton under Lyne. Its summit is the highest navigable waterway in Britain and Standedge Tunnel is Britain's longest canal tunnel.
The canal has a total of 74 locks and it connects end on with the Ashton Canal and the Huddersfield Broad Canal.
It was re-opened to navigation in May 2001. (3)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The Huddersfield canals: towpath guide
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Source Number : 2
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : The Huddersfield Canal Society. 2009. History of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, [Accessed 11-AUG-2009]
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Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Pennine Waterways. 2009. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal, [Accessed 11-AUG-2009]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Built 1795-1811
Monument End Date : 1811
Monument Start Date : 1795
Monument Type : Canal
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Closed in 1944
Monument End Date : 1944
Monument Start Date : 1944
Monument Type : Canal
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Re-opened in 2001
Monument End Date : 2001
Monument Start Date : 2001
Monument Type : Canal
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : LINEAR 743
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 47637
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Related Activities :