Page images

CHAP. 5. others were acknowledged to be COUNTY BRIDGES by the Clerk of the Peace, Joseph Haynes, esq. in the same year, as appears from a list in the possession of the Publisher with the signature of Mr. Haynes.

[blocks in formation]

* Burton bridge is repaired by the Marquess of Anglesea.

† Cavendish bridge and Harrington bridge are not repaired at the expense of the adjoining counties, as they are the property of private Companies.

[blocks in formation]

The principal ferries in Derbyshire are on the Trent and Derwent. Ferries. Those on the former, are at Walton, Stapenhill, Willington, Twyford, Weston Cliff, King's Mills, &c. On the Derwent there is a ferry-boat between Matlock Bath and the village. At the Trent ferries, a strong chain or rope is stretched across the river by a block of pulleys, which prevents the boat from being borne down the stream, and assists the ferryman in towing it over the water. The toll for foot passengers is 1d.; for a horse 2d.; for a gig 1s.; for a one-horse-cart 6d. ; for a cart and horses 1s.; and for a four-wheeled coach or wagon 2s. 6d.—There are fords across Fords. the Trent, at Walton, Barrow, Willington and Weston; across the Trent and Dove, at Newton Solney; across the Dove, at Marston, Sudbury, Doveridge and Rocester; across the Derwent, at Wilne Mills, Ambaston, Alvaston and Little Eaton. These fords are much neglected, and are considered to be very dangerous at times of high floods. They are seldom used except by persons in their immediate neighbourhood. About three years ago, a valuable team of horses, belonging to Mr. Fletcher of Cavendish bridge brewery, was lost in crossing Ambaston ford; and many lives have at different periods been sacrificed, through the want of gauges being fixed on each side the river to point out the depths of the stream.

and High Peak Rail


The Cromford and High Peak rail-way commences at the Cromford Cromford canal, about one mile below that place; the hill to the westward of the canal is ascended by two inclined planes, gaining together an elevation of four hundred and sixty-five feet; at each of which there will be two engines of twenty horses' power each, that will draw the wagons up at the rate of four miles per hour. From the head of the upper inclined plane, the rail

CHAP. 5. High Peak Rail-way.

way passes by the Steeple House, near Wirksworth, and from thence to Middleton Moor, by an inclined plane which rises two hundred and fiftythree feet; and on Hopton rabbit warren is another inclined plane, making together an elevation of eight hundred and ten feet above the canal. The deep cutting on Hopton Moor is scarcely equalled by any thing of the kind in the kingdom, being nearly seventy feet in depth, and principally through limestone. From the top of the Hopton inclined plane, the rail-way proceeds in a north-westwardly direction, leaving the village of Brassington three quarters of a mile to the south-west, passing by Mininglow to near Newhaven, and pursuing the same direction, crosses the Ashbourn and Buxton road near Haven Lodge. From the Hopton inclined plane, the rail-way is level to Hurdlow, a distance of about twelve miles: at which place there is an inclined plane, making the summit of the rail-way nearly one thousand feet above the level of the canal. From Hurdlow the course of the rail-way runs nearly parallel with the turnpike road to Brierlow; from thence skirting the hills past Harper Hill lime works, and along the foot of Axe-Edge to Burbage, leaving Buxton about one mile to the eastward; at Burbage Edge is a tunnel five hundred and eighty yards long, and about one mile and a half north of it, the rail-way descends into the valley of the river Goyte, by two inclined planes, falling four hundred and fifty-seven feet; and running level from thence, it crosses the Manchester road at Fernylee to the head of the next inclined plane (near Shallcross Hall) which falls two hundred and forty feet.

The line crosses the Sheffield road at Horridge End, and runs to the Peak Forest canal at Whaley, at which place there is an inclined plane falling forty feet. The distance between the two canals, by the line of rail-way, is nearly thirty-three miles. The Act was obtained about six years ago, and the estimated cost is £165,000. The advantages to the district through which it runs will be very great, as it will be supplied with coal at a much lower rate than it can now be procured; and lime, which is essentially useful to the agriculturist, will be rendered much cheaper.

A rail-way is projected to unite the Cromford and High Peak with the Manchester and Liverpool rail-way: and should it be carried into effect, it will produce a considerable traffic in different descriptions of merchandise, such as cotton, groceries, &c. which now go by a circuitous route from Liverpool into the counties of Derby, Nottingham, &c. will find a direct conveyance by the new junction rail-way and along the Cromford and High Peak.

With respect to the High Peak rail-way, which is also connected with this canal, it appeared from a report of the Committee, which was laid before the proprietors at their annual meeting, on June 11, 1829, at Buxton, that nearly the whole line of rail-way was then prepared for laying down the iron rails, and that several miles of the rail-way was actually completed. It was then expected that the great deep-cutting and tunnel through the rock at Hopton, and the large embankment, would be accomplished by the following September. Of the tunnel at Buxton, four hundred and sixty yards were then completed, and the report contemplated the opening of the whole line of rail-way for general traffic in the course of the ensuing spring.

Some of the first rail-ways laid in Derbyshire were of wood; and in the

CHAP. 5.

construction of these, the flanch or projecting rib for keeping the wagon on the rail-way, was on the wheel, but now, the flanches of iron rail-ways are Early Railgenerally cast on the bar. The earliest use of flanched iron rails above ways. ground (for they had been previously introduced in the underground gates of mines) is stated to have been at the Wingerworth ironstone pits, by Mr. Joseph Butler, about the year 1788. Inclined planes for rail-way wagons were probably first used on the east side of Chapel-en-le-Frith, in connexion with the Peak Forest canal.-In a great many of the coal pits, enumerated at page 53, iron rail-ways are laid along the counter-head or working-gate, for conveying the trams or corves of coal to the bottom of the drawing shaft. The Thatch-Marsh collieries, near Hartington, are worked by a rail-way tunnel, driven at the expense of the Duke of Devonshire, for the better supplying of Buxton with coals. There are several private rail-ways in the county, connected with the collieries, ironstone pits, &c.

"Your virgin trains on Brindley's cradle smiled,
And nurs'd with fairy-love the unletter'd child,
Spread round his pillow all your sacred spells,
Pierced all your springs, and open'd all your wells.—
As now on grass, with glossy folds reveal'd,
Glides the bright serpent, now in flowers conceal'd;
Far shine the scales, that gild his sinuous back,
And lucid undulations mark his track;

So with strong arm immortal Brindley leads
His long canals, and parts the velvet meads;
Winding in lucid lines the watery mass,
Mines the firm rock, or loads the deep morass,
With rising locks a thousand hills alarms,
Flings o'er a thousand streams its silver arms,
Feeds the long vale, the nodding woodland laves,
And plenty, arts, and commerce freight the waves.
-Nymphs! who erewhile round Brindley's earlier bier
On snow-white bosoms shower'd the incessant tear,
Adorn his tomb! oh, raise the marble bust,
Proclaim his honours, and protect his dust!
With urns inverted round the sacred shrine
Their osier wreaths let weeping naiads twine;
While on the top mechanic genius stands,
Counts the fleet waves, and balances the lands."



The commercial communications throughout the county have been greatly facilitated by the canals, which were commenced about the year 1770. The first of these was planned by the celebrated Brindley, in order to effect a union between the rivers Trent and Mersey, and thus to open a communication between the east and western coasts of England, and with London. This canal is frequently called the Grand-Trunk canal.* Its general line of direction is nearly south-east, with a bending course to the south, through Trunk the counties of Chester, Stafford and Derby. Its principal objects are the Canal. export of coals, limestone, freestone, gypsum, lead, pig and bar-iron, pottery wares and other manufactured articles, cheese, corn, and other agricultural products; and for the import of numerous foreign and other goods: thus, forming a grand inland communication (the first effected) between the ports of Liverpool, Hull, Bristol and London.-This canal commences in the Bridgewater canal at Preston-Brook in Lancashire, and terminates *Acts of Parliament, for the construction and regulation of this canal, were passed in the 6th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 23rd, 25th, two in 37th, 42nd and 48th of George III.


CHAP. 5. in the lower Trent navigation at Wilden Ferry in this county. Near Swarkstone, it connects with, and is crossed by, the Derby canal. For sixteen miles, at its south-eastern end, between Wilden ferry and Burton bridge, this canal runs parallel to what was formerly the upper Trent navigation, but in 1805, the interest in that navigation was purchased of the Earl of Uxbridge by the Grand-Trunk Canal Company. The width of this canal, from Preston Brook at its north-western extremity to Middlewich wharf, and from Wilden ferry, at its south-eastern extremity, to Horninglow wharf, is thirty-one feet at top, eighteen feet at bottom, and five feet and a half deep; the locks, there, being fourteen feet wide, and adapted for river-barges of forty tons burthen: but the middle parts of this canal, and its branches, are only twenty-nine feet wide at top, sixteen feet at bottom, and four feet and a half deep, and the locks are seventy-five feet long and seven feet wide, adapted for boats, carrying from twenty to twenty-five tons burthen. Boats are built at Derby and Shardlow. At Monk's bridge, between Derbyshire and Staffordshire, this canal is carried across the flat meadows of the Dove valley, on an embankment thirteen feet high, for a mile and two furlongs, with aqueduct bridges containing twenty-three arches, from fifteen feet to twelve feet span, twelve of which arches are over the main branch of the Dove. There are numerous smaller aqueducts and culverts along the main line of this canal and its branches. The whole length of the Grand-Trunk canal, reckoning through the Wolverhampton branch, is one hundred and thirty-nine miles and a half, with a fall of one thousand and sixty-eight feet; but the main branch, called the Trent and Mersey canal, is ninety-three miles, with a fall of six hundred and forty-two feet.*-Mr. James Brindley, Mr. Hugh Henshall, Mr. John Smeaton, Mr. John Rennie, Mr. Potter and other engineers, were employed or consulted on the works of this canal or its branches. These works were begun in July, 1766: in April, 1773, the line eastward of the Harecastle tunnel was completed; and in May, 1777, the whole line, and the branch to Caldon Low was completed and opened. The Leek and the Colridge branches were undertaken since 1797: the Lane End, Handley Green and Burslem rail-way branches, were projected in 1802. In 1807 the Uttoxeter branch was undertaken, and extended from Frog-hall to Oak-moor in August, 1808; to Alverton, in May, 1809; and to Uttoxeter, September 3, 1811.-The tonnage allowed to be taken is 1d. per ton, per mile, with reasonable wharfage after twenty-four hours, on all kinds of goods; but paving-stones, and road-materials (limestones excepted) and marl and other manures may pass toll-free on the pounds and through the locks, when water runs waste thereat.-The usual price of freight has been mentioned at 1d. per ton, per mile. Until about the year

* From the Bridgewater canal to Middlewich, eighteen miles is level; thence to Talk, eleven miles, there is a rise of three hundred and twenty-six feet, by thirty-five locks; thence along the summit pound of the line (said to be four hundred and twenty feet above the Thames at Brentford) through Harecastle tunnel (which is a mile in length) to the Caldon-branch at Etruria, six miles, is level; thence to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, seventeen miles, there is a fall of one hundred and fifty feet, by nineteen locks; thence to the Coventry canal, thirteen miles, is a fall of about thirty-two feet, by four locks; thence to Horninglow wharf, twelve miles, is about eighty-six feet fall, by eleven locks; thence to the Derby canal, ten miles, is about eight feet fall, by one lock at Stenson; and thence to the lower Trent navigation, six miles, is about forty feet fall, by five locks.

« PreviousContinue »