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Macclesfield Canal - Chairman'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 along the canal. This page provides the Chairman's report dated July 1833 which incorporates Crosley's last report prior to leaving the company.

Report to the Committee of Management.

July 18, 1833

AT the previous general meetings of the proprietors, which took place during the execution of the Canal, the Committee did not think it necessary to make any other written report than that of the Engineer, detailing the progress of the work. But as the Canal is now open to the public, the Committee have thought that it would be a satisfaction to the proprietors to receive from them a report of its present state, and of the extent of traffic upon it.

In regard to the state of the Canal, they are happy to have it in their power to report, that no accident has accurred [sic] since the opening, but that all the embankments and works have remained perfectly firm. As the period of Mr. Crosley's engagement as Engineer was to terminate on the 24th day of June last, the Committee thought it right that he should, immediately previous to that time, carefully inspect the whole of the line of the Canal, the reservoir, and other works; since which the following report has been received from him:

To the Chairman of the Committee of the Macclesfield Canal.


Having recently surveyed the whole of the line of the Macclesfield Canal, and the Reservoir at Bosley, and having very carefully examined every part of the works, I have great satisfaction in reporting to you, that the whole are in perfectly good order, and in a sound state. The various embankments which occasioned, during the construction of the Canal, so much delay and anxiety, have all stood perfectly firm, and there has been no settling whatever in any of them, except such as has been caused by the natural consolidation of the earth of which they are composed. The masonry of the locks, aqueducts, and bridges, has all stood very well; and a considerable time having now passed since the works were completed, there is no reason to apprehend the giving way of any part.

The Reservoir at Bosley has been frequently filled to the full height during the past two years, and it has generally during that period remained nearly full. I am therefore of opinion that this work is perfectly safe; as in the event of there being any fault in the puddles, it would have been observed from its effects before this time.

I can have no difficulty in reporting that all parts of the works are in very satisfactory state, and that the soundness of the execution of the whole may be relied upon.

WM. Crosley.

Since the opening of the Canal the Committee have been occupied in giving facilities to its trade, and in promoting the increase of its tonnage, and they have the gratification of informing the proprietors that the amount of carriage upon the Canal during the first year, ending on the 25th March last, has been 98,201½ tons, producing a clear receipt of GBP 6,116 19s. 4d. The proprietors are aware that some time must necessarily elapse before an extensive traffic can be permanently established upon a new Canal; and the Committee, therefore, feel that they may, in the instance of the Macclesfield Canal, congratulate the proprietors upon so large a receipt being obtained at so early a period, even under all the disadvantages of a reduced rate of tonnage; and that it affords ample grounds for encouragement, as to the future.

The Committee, from the outset, were of opinion that it would become necessary to make a reduction from the rate of tonnage authorised to be taken by the Act. At the general meeting in July last year, this subject was brought before the proprietors, when certain were then ordered to be made, and a resolution was passed

THAT if in the interval between the present and the next general meeting the Committee should be of opinion that it will be for the interest of the proprietors that any further reduction should take place in the tonnage of the above or any other articles they be authorised to make it, and submit the subject for consideration and final determination to the next meeting.

The Committee have, since that meeting, paid constant attention to the subject, being desirous of seeing their way clearly, before they proceeded to make any further reductions. After consideration of the question, they have found it necessary, in order to be upon equal terms with other navigations, to make still further reductions. The following rate of tonnages was accordingly fixed upon in the month of October last.






Limestone ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Lime, Lime Ashes, and Roadstone ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Coals for burning Lime   ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Coals (except for burning Lime) and Coke ... ... ... ...
Malt  ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

¼ per ton,
½ Ditto
½ Ditto
¾ Ditto
¾ Ditto

per mile.

All goods, wares, merchandize, and other articles, matters, or things not mentioned above ... ... ... ... ...

1 Ditto


The Committee have the satisfaction of acquainting the proprietors, that this reduction of tonnage has not produced a corresponding reduction in income; but that on the contrary, the increase of tonnage has been so considerable as to do more than meet the deficiency arising from the reduction of charge, as appears by the following statement of the amount of tonnages and receipts during the first and second six months of the year ending 25th March last. During the first six months the tonnages were 43,506½ tons, producing a receipt of GBP 2,912 11s. 9½d.; but during the second six months they amounted to 54,695 tons, producing a receipt of GBP 3,204 7s. 6½d. The Committee therefore recommend to the proprietors to confirm these reductions.

The account of receipts and payments in respect of tonnage from the opening of the Canal, after deducting the interest paid upon loans, repairs, salaries, wages, and other expences [sic], as will be seen on reference to the accounts produced to the proprietors, shews [sic] a balance on the 25th March last, of GBP 9,420 15s. 2d. in favour of the Company.

At the last and other preceding general meetings, the proprietors present impressed strongly upon the Committee the propriety of providing at once an ample accommodation in warehouses and wharfs, so that the trade upon the Canal might not be stopped until the additional buildings and wharfs which its increase required, were erected; it being considered much more advisable that all requisite accommodation should be provided before-hand than that any traffic which was ready to be brought upon the Canal should be withheld from the want of it. The recommendations so given being in accordance with the views of the Committee, the necessary measures were taken for providing both wharfs and warehouses, to such an extent as would insure every accommodation to the public carrier, and to all persons navigating on the Canal. The Company are now provided, therefore, with wharfs at Marple [CRT wharf], High Lane [the arm], Bollington [Adelphi wharf], Macclesfield [Peak Forest hire boat base], Congleton [adjacent Canal Road aqueduct], and Harding's Wood [?], and there is one at Bosley not completed [below lock 5]. There are also warehouses at High Lane, Bollington, Macclesfield, and Congleton, and ten houses on the banks of the Canal in different situations, for the accommodation of Toll Collectors, Lock Tenders, and Bank Rangers. Four weighing machines have also been set up in proper and convenient situations; and at Macclesfield commodious offices for the use of the Company, have also been erected. The Committee have the satisfaction of feeling that the accommodation thus provided is sufficiently large for a very extensive trade; and that a great return of profit may be made to the proprietors without incurring any additional expense.

The Committee have also thought it necessary, notwithstanding the very great supply of water afforded by the Bosley reservoir, to provide the means of constructing the Sutton reservoir, when an increased demand for water shall call for it. They have therefore purchased and paid for the additional land which will be required for the purpose; and have also had executed now the requisite guages, feeders, and other works, which it was desirable to have done whilst the compulsory powers given by the Act were in operation. This reservoir may therefore be completed at a comparatively small additional expense.

The execution of all these various works, it must be obvious, will have occasioned a considerable additional expenditure; and in order to discharge every claim upon the Company, it will be necessary that they should be authorised to borrow the further sum of GBP 20,000. With this sum the Committee are satisfied that they shall be able to discharge every debt owing by the Company. The sum of GBP 50,000 having been already borrowed, pursuant to the [unreadable word] given at the general meeting on the 29th August, 1831, the total debt owing by the Company will then be GBP 70,000. As a set-off, however, against this must be placed the value of 337 shares, which are at the disposal of the Company, and may be sold at any time, or retained in order to reduce the number of shares on which the dividends will be paid, as the proprietors may direct. The Canal having been so recently opened, and the trade upon it not being yet fully established, the present income will not afford much surplus after discharging the regular annual expenses, and the interest upon the money borrowed; but as all the works are completed, and as no additional expense will be incurred by the extended traffic upon the Canal, whatever is received from tonnages beyond the amount at present payable, will be clear profit, to be divided among the proprietors. The Committee feel assured, from various circumstances, that the trade upon the Canal will gradually and regularly increase; and that the proprietors may look forward with confidence to an early period when a return will be made to them for the expenditure which has been incurred. That the Committee are not too sanguine in their opinion that the traffic will steadily increase, they need only refer to the amount of tonnage in the quarter ending the 26th March, 1832, and in the corresponding quarter of this year, which shews [sic] an increase of 5,473 tons, being an addition of 25 per cent. upon the corresponding quarter.