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Building The Canal

The Building of the Macclesfield Canal

Graham Cousins' paper, 'The Building of the Macclesfield Canal ' has been published by the Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, Vol. 33 Pt. 2 No. 173, July 1999, pp.63-76, and we are very grateful to be permitted to publish the full text in this section of the history pages.

© Copyright 2002 Graham Cousins and the Railway & Canal Historical Society.


Apart from the account of the Macclesfield Canal in Canals of the West Midlands by Charles Hadfield little has been written of the detailed history of the canal. The following description of the building of the canal is based in part on the flies of the Macclesfield Courier & Herald newspaper for the period, with a view to illustrating the strong support which the newspaper gave to its construction. The Courier was keen to promote the canal on the grounds that it would improve the economy of the district and benefit the lives of both rich and poor alike.

During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the town of Macclesfield in Cheshire was well known as a centre for silk manufacture. Other important industries in the area were coal mining and the quarrying of stone. As was usual at the time the transport of goods was a major problem. Macclesfield was not situated near any major river system and its location at the southern edge of the Pennines made communication with towns in Yorkshire and Derbyshire difficult.

Continue to the next section - Proposals.