- Hits: 3348
The Weston Canal is a branch of the Weaver Navigation.
Below Frodsham, barges carrying salt on the Weaver had to negotiate a tidal section of the river to reach the Mersey, from where the cargo would be taken to Liverpool or Manchester for distribution worldwide.
Water levels were inadequate for the Mersey Flats at neap tides, resulting in them having to wait for days at Frodsham.
In 1796, users of the navigation suggested that it should be extended to Weston Point, where the water was deeper. The trustees wanted to pay for this extension by raising tolls, but the users objected, and it took several years to work out a deal which suited both parties.
Finally, the Trustees obtained an Act on 8 August 1807, which authorised the construction of a cut from Frodsham to Weston Point. The trustees insisted that their own engineer, John Johnson, should oversee the work, but the project was too large for him, and ran over time and budget. He was sacked in 1809, after serving the navigation for 29 years, and Thomas Telford was asked to complete the work. He managed the project with Samuel Fowls as engineer.
At Weston Point, a new lock connected the cut to a basin, and tide gates connect the basin to the Mersey. This cut was called the Weston Canal and was completed in 1810.
A further Act was obtained on 2 May 1825, which altered some of the details of the previous Act, and an Act of 22 May 1829 noted that the Weston Canal had been completed. It stated that the Trustees had built a basin, piers and a lighthouse at Weston Point, that the Weston Canal was officially a branch of the River Weaver, and that the Trustees would make no additional charges for using the section.
No tolls had been collected since 1816, once the construction costs had been repaid.