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Ramsdell Hall railings
Railings from the dead
One of the features familiar to those who cruise the Macclesfield
Canal will be the ornamental railings by Ramsdell Hall about
a mile north of Hall Green Stop Lock and close to Scholar Green.
When William Crosley built the canal in the late 1820s he was
able to save about 1½ miles on Telford’s surveyed line of about 29 miles in total and this is one such example. The plan with the 1825 Act envisaged a line to the east of the Hall between bridges 86 and 87 and to include a short tunnel, apparently to keep the canal out of sight of the Hall. It must be an indication of Crosley’s skill as a negotiator, as well as an engineer, that he managed to keep to a more direct line to the west, in front of the Hall, although he obviously constructed ornamental railings beside the towing path to compensate the owners.
the opening of the canal in 1831, the 500+ yards of railings
have been a decided attraction on the canal, as the canal and
towing path appear to form a haha at the edge of the Hall’s
grounds. On one side of the canal are the lawns leading back
to the Hall and on the other, beyond the railings, stretches
the Cheshire Plain to Jodrell Bank and the Welsh Hills. Unfortunately
the condition of the railings deteriorated over the years due
to neglect. The neighbouring vegetation entwined itself
around them and lifted the supporting wall, both of which resulted
in damage and loss of posts and railings and a partial collapse
of the wall.
had long been an ambition of The Macclesfield Canal Society
to see the railings restored, and the whole of the canal is
now protected by conservation areas with the local councils.
In 2005 the Society joined with the boroughs of Congleton
and Macclesfield, British Waterways and English Heritage in
promoting a three-year Partnership Scheme for the Canal Conservation
Areas, in which the restoration of the railings was a key
project. Working parties organised by the Society cleared vegetation
around the railings and wall to enable a survey and estimate
to be made. The Society is extremely grateful for the support
provided by Congleton Borough Council and British Waterways.
Applications for grants to rebuild the stone wall and replace
the damaged railings were obtained and the work completed in
2010. There have been enthusiastic comments from local towpath-walkers
and passing cruisers.
Malcolm Bower, Secretary to the Macclesfield Canal Society