First I would like to apologize for not writing anything about Ezri in the last two weeks because a few things got in the way to stop me.

But now I back, so I’m so I will kick off with something simple.

As Ezri is now sat in the between Todmorden and Littleborough I thought I would give you a little history of the Rochdale Canal.


The Canal runs for 33 miles from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire into the heart of the city of Manchester, crossing the Lancashire and Yorkshire border, and having 92 locks (91 now after its reopening in 2002) locks 3 and 4 being replaced with the deep lock Tuel Lane

Conceived in 1776 by a group of 48 men who commissioned the engineer James Brindley to survey routes from Sowerby Bridge into Manchester, but it wasn’t until 1791 when Scottish civil engineer John Rennie was asked to make a new survey was the idea taken to the British Parliament but it was opposed by mill owners  who were concerned about water supply, a second bill was presented and again defeated but on the third time of asking and with help of William Jessop on 4th April 1794 an act was obtained and authorized construction and created the Rochdale Canal Company (RCC)

The first section to open in 1798 was the Rochdale Branch and over time other sections were completed until the official opening in 1804 but work didn’t stop for three more years until the Heywood and Castleton branches were finished

Having more locks means more water is needed so the creation of reservoirs was called for Blackstone Edge Reservoir, and Chelburn Reservoir, were the first two reservoirs built to supply the water and 1798 Hollingworth Lake.

Because of its width and size it became the main highway of commerce between Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1841 and the coming of the railways people though that would be the end of the canal but the RCC were able to stay in the black for many years.


It was only in 1923 and the end of first world war the Oldham and Rochdale Corporations Water Act paved the way for the transfer of its reservoir  to those corporations to supply drinking water. They could still draw water from some nearby streams, and could also draw some from the reservoirs under certain conditions, but for a a short profitable section in Manchester linking the Bridgewater and Ashton Canals, most of the length was closed in 1952, the full trip having been in 1937 and so when the M62 motorway was constructed in 1960 it was split into two parts and looked as if the whole canal was a thing of the history books.



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