21 Mar 2008

234 years ago today

The first stretch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (from Skipton to Thackley) was opened 234 years ago today, on the 21st March 1774, when five laden boats descended the Bingley Five Rise locks watched by thousands of people. The Leeds Intelligencer described the occasion thus: "From Bingley to about 3 miles downwards the noblest works of the kind are exhibited viz: A five fold, a three fold and a single lock, making together a fall of 120 feet; a large aqueduct bridge of seven arches over the River Aire and an aqueduct and banking over the Shipley valley. This joyful and much wished for event was welcomed with the ringing of Bingley bells, a band of music, the firing of guns by the neighbouring Militia, the shouts of spectators, and all the marks of satisfaction that so important an acquisition merits". Here are some photos, mostly taken today, of the "noblest works" mentioned above.

Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley Three Rise Locks

Dowley Gap locks - the 'Leeds Intelligencer' got this detail wrong, this is a two rise staircase

Seven Arches Aqueduct, Dowley Gap

The embankment at Shipley near its crossing of Bradford Beck

The bicentenary commemorative plaque at Bingley Five Rise Locks

(Lots more Leeds and Liverpool Canal photos in my Picasa album)