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Engineer's report July 1828

Macclesfield Canal - Engineer's report


The Engineer to the Macclesfield Canal, William Crosley, was required to make a report to the Chairman and committee each year on the progress and problems during construction. This page provides the report dated July 1828.



To The Chairman Of The Committee Of The Macclesfield Canal.




THE time is again arrived when it becomes my duty to report the progress which has been made in the works of the Canal.


It may tend to make this report more intelligible to the Proprietors, to state at the outset, that the whole length of the Canal, from the Peak Forest at Marple to the point near Hall Green, where it will connect with the part executed by the Trent & Mersey Company, 26¼ miles, and that it divides itself into two parts, called the Higher and Lower Level:- the length of the Higher Level (commencing at Marple and terminating at the head of the Locks in Bosley), being about 16½ miles, and the Lower Level, which includes the Locks, being about 10 miles. It will be recollected that the execution of the Higher Level was let in the month of November, 1826, in Five Lots.


As to the first Lot, executing by Messrs. Seed & Son:


This Lot commences at the Peak Forest Canal, and terminates in the Township of Lyme Hanley, being a distance of 3 miles. Of this length, the part between the Peak Forest Canal and High Lane (being 2¼ miles) is navigable, and the remainder is proceeding regularly towards its completion. In this Lot is the very heavy embankment at Middlewood, for the purpose of crossing that valley; to form which there will be required 220,000 cubic yards of earth, and of this quantity about 133,000 yards are now in.


As to the second Lot, which terminates in the Township of Adlington, and is 3¼ miles in length:


In this Lot there are various lengths of Canal, in the whole about 2¼ miles, ready to carry water, and the remaining part is in full progress. In this Lot are included two rather heavy embankments; one at Hag Brook, originally requiring 54,000 cubic yards (of which 35,000 are in), and the other at the division of Adlington and Pot Shrigley, requiring 141,000 yards to fill it, of which quantity about 93,000 have been put in.


As to the third Lot, which terminates in Tytherington, near Clarke Lane, and is 2¾ miles in length. This Lot is executing by Mr. Wm. Soars:


There are about 2 miles, in detached lengths, ready for water, leaving only ¾ of a mile with the banks incomplete. In this Lot is the large embankment at Bollington. It was originally intended that this embankment should contain about 220,000 cubic yards; but, in consequence of the rocky nature of the materials which are used in forming it, it has appeared to me that the base may be considerably reduced in width, by making the slopes more perpendicular. This will save a great expense, and the quantity of cubic yards to form the embankment will be reduced from 220,000 to 150,000 of which about 86,000 are now in.


As to the fourth Lot, which terminates in the Foden Bank Estate, in the Township of Sutton, being about 3 miles in length. -- This Lot is also executing by Messrs. Seed & Son:


About 2¾ miles are nearly ready for water: -- the remaining part consists of a piece of digging near Clarke Lane, which is in progress.


As to the fifth Lot, which terminates at the head of the Locks, (being about 4¼ miles). -- This is executing by Messrs. Jennings, Jenkinson & Otley:


Two miles are now full of water, 1½ mile more is in a fit state for filling, and the remaining ¾ of a mile (in which there is not any very heavy work) is proceeding.


From this Report, it will be seen that, of the Summit Level, 12¾ miles, out of 16¼, are nearly ready to contain the full depth of water. On this part of the line, forty arched Stone Bridges, six Swivel Bridges, five Aqueducts and large Culverts, and fifty-one smaller Culverts are now completed; and there remain to be built four arched Bridges, the arch of the road Aqueduct at Bollington, part of the Large Culvert at Middlewood, and eight Swivel Bridges, five of which are in progress.


I now proceed to report the state of the works with respect to the Locks, and the Lower Level of the Canal; the execution of which was let in three Lots, in the month of December last.


The first Lot, including the Locks, and extending into Mr. Pearson's land at Buglawton, being about 3 miles in length, was taken by Messrs. Nowell & Sons. In this Lot several Culverts have been completed. No part of the Locks has yet been commenced, as the Contractors have been much occupied in opening a quarry at Cloud End, and making a railway from it to the line of the Canal. But as these necessary preparations are now completed, the execution of this Lot [unreadable words] proceeded in with vigour.


The second Lot in the Lower Level, being about 2¾ miles in length, is contracted for by Mr. Wm. Soars, the Contractor for the Third Lot on the Higher Level. He has completed several Culverts, and the work is proceeding with great activity. In this Lot there are four great embankments to be formed; three of which will require 180,000 cubic yards, and the other (being the embankment at Dane Henshaw Valley) will require 240,000 yards to complete it.


Messrs. Pearce and Tredwell are the Contractors for the third Lot in the Lower Level (which completes the whole line to be executed by the Macclesfield Canal Company). The length of this Lot is nearly 4¼ miles. The Contractors have proceeded with extraordinary activity, as will be evident when I mention, that though the work was only commenced the beginning of March, one fourth is already done.


Twenty Culverts, varying in diameter from two to four feet, have been constructed upon the lower line.


From the progress which has been made in the works upon the Canal by the different Contractors, I have every reason to expect that the whole will be completed within the time fixed by the contracts.


(signed) WILLIAM Crosley

July 17th, 1828.