The History of Lancaster Canal

A Very Brief History of the Lancaster Canal

The first section of the Lancaster Canal, Preston to Tewitfield, opened in 1797 and allowed 42 miles of uninterrupted travel before the first locks at Tewitfield.

One of the most spectacular features of the canal is the Lune Aqueduct, designed by John Rennie, which carries the canal over the River Lune. This lavish piece of stone architecture took 200 men 4 years to build, is 664ft long, has 5 magnificent arches and stands 51ft above the river.

Trading started with limestone coming down from Capenwray and coal coming up from Wigan, known as the "black and white trade".

Passenger carrying commenced in 1798. In 1833 the Swift Boats could carry 120 passengers at 10mph between Preston and Lancaster . The original boats were 'Waterwitch' , 'Swiftsure' & 'Swallow' (which our two original boats were named after).

The canal continues to develop in the present day. Preston's 'Millennium Link' opened in 2004, allowing boats to travel from the main canal system onto the Lancaster Canal. At present the navigable section ends at Tewitfield, but plans are in place to start reopening the 15 mile Tewitfield-Kendal section.

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