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The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal was a canal in the south of England that ran between Portsmouth and Arundel.
The plan for the canal was completed in 1815 and the Act of Parliament passed in 1817. At this stage costs were estimated at £119,000 rising to £125,452 in 1818.
Construction started in 1818 and the canal was finished in 1823, at a cost of £170,000.
The canal was made up of three sections: a pair of ship canals one on Portsea island and one to Chichester and a barge canal that ran from Ford on the Arun to Hunston where it joined the Chichester section of the canal.
The Portsea section was connected to the rest via a 13 mile channel dredged through Chichester harbour, across the bottom of Thorney Island (original plan was to go around the top) and the top of Hayling Island and finally across Langstone harbour.
In order to allow the passage of masted ships iron swing bridges were fitted to the Chichester and Portsea sections rather than the more typical hump back canal bridge.
In order to facilitate the passage between the Chichester section and the Portsea section a steam vessel called the Ergemont was constructed with the plan to tow 40 ton barges in trains of six.
From day one, the canal was plagued with various problems and in 1827 the Portsea section of the canal had to be drained, due to complaints about salt water contamination in some of Portsmouth's wells.
In 1845 parts of this section were sold off to the London and Brighton railway company with another section being sold to the company in 1851.
In 1830 tolls were reduced and for a while traffic picked up with cargos including 20 tons of marble from the Mediterranean for the King. The canal was also used to transport gold and silver for the Bank of England.
The canal was unable to compete with the sea routes and by 1832 the canal company was being forced to do the carrying itself.
By 1847 the canal, with the exception of the Chichester arm, had ceased to be navigable.
Of the remaining Portsea Section the issue of maintaining the various bridges became an issue of concern until the company managed to buy itself out of the requirement to maintain them.
The Chichester arm was transferred to the Chichester corporation in 1892, the same year in which the canal company was wound up (the winding up order having been applied for in 1888).