The Restoration of James Brindley’s Last Canal and the Serious Threat from 21st Century Transport Infrastructure Developments

Alan P. Newman, W. F. Hunt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

1 Citation (Scopus)


James Brindley is widely recognised as a pioneer of the British canal system. His last project was the proposal to provide a waterway from Chesterfield to the River Trent from where the local iron, coal and lead could be transported to their principal markets in London. By 1769 a route had been surveyed charting a course which indicated a move away from the earlier “contour following canals” to the much more ambitious routes taken by later British canals. This included the longest canal tunnel in Britain and extensive use of multi-flight locks. In 1907 the tunnel collapsed due to mining subsidence, never to be reopened. The inland section fell into disrepair and was in-filled in places. This paper reports the efforts of volunteer bodies to reopen the canal, including a proposed ambitious engineering task to by-pass the collapsed tunnel. With funding streams identified, an announcement about a new high-speed rail line which will impact on the canal has brought funding streams to a halt. This paper will also highlight how the opportunity to restore to use, one of the most important heritage projects in the UK, may have been lost but will also show how history shows that rail developments need not bring us to the end of the line.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2016: Professional Development, Innovative Technology, International Perspectives, and History and Heritage
EditorsChandra S. Pathak, Debra Reinhart
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
ISBN (Print)978-0-7844-7984-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2016 World Environmental and Water Resources Conference - West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, United States
Duration: 22 May 201626 May 2016


Conference2016 World Environmental and Water Resources Conference
Abbreviated titleEWRI Conference 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWest Palm Beach

Bibliographical note

The full text is currently unavailable on the repository.


  • Canal
  • restoration
  • heritage
  • volunteer labour
  • James Brindley


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