Posted 28th Feb 2018
In the first of our History of the Waterways features, courtesy of Insure4Boats and the Canal and River Trust, we find out about Shardlow Canal Port
Once a small river port, Shardlow's trade credentials really started to boom following the creation of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1770.
Suddenly, there were extensive routes in every direction where the goods arriving by river could go.
Wide boats brought huge cargos down the Humber Estuary to Shardlow, which would then be divided between narrowboats to ship down the canal routes or loaded onto carts to travel by road.
These goods were some of the most varied imaginable, from coal and iron to cheese and salt.
As the importance of the port grew, more and more warehouses were springing up for storage, leading to ever more inventive methods of construction. The Clock Warehouse, for example, was built between 1778 and 1780 across the canal, with a distinctive arch underneath meaning barges and narrowboats could pass through it and unload their wares directly into the warehouse.
In it's heyday around 1816, the population of Shardlow had grown from a few hundred people to over a thousand, with a dozen warehouses, offices and stores. Despite the industry shifting towards the railways rather than canals some time later - when you visit Shardlow and its canals - the preserved building and heritage centre make sure there's a real sense of history in the air.
Did you know...
- Shardlow has been a meeting point for trade since the middle Bronze Age.
- This was proved in 1999, when an ancient twelve-foot log boat was unearthed by spring floods at Shardlow Quarry.
- Just over the bridge on the Derbyshire side is a list of tolls that were once charged to cross from one county to the other.
- Shardlow is known as 'Britain's most complete surviving example of a canal village, with over 50 Grade II listed buildings'.