Leeds & Liverpool Canal




Leeds Intelligencer


Between the East and West Seas

AT a Meeting held this 2d day of July, 1766, at the House of Mr John Day in Bradford, pursuant to Notice given in the public News-Papers for that Purpose, to consider the proper Ways and Means to effect a Navigation that will connect the East and West Seas, and communicate with the great Ports and Trading-Towns of Hull, Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford, Kighley (sic), Skipton, Coln, Burnley, Clithero, Blackburn, Wigan, Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster, upon Consideration of several Plans for such a Navigation now produced and laid before us.

It is the Opinion of this Meeting that such a Navigation is practicable, and will be of great Utility to the Trade of the Kingdom in general, and particularly of the counties of York and Lancaster.

It is therefore resolved, That a Subscription be set on Foot for raising Money for defraying the Expenses of making and compleating proper Plans for effecting the said Navigation, and forming Estimates of the Expense attending the Execution of such Plans.



Manchester Mercury

WHEREAS at a General and very numerous Meeting of the Subscribers, Land Owners and others interested in the proposed Canal and Navigation from Leeds, in the county of York, to Liverpool in the county of Lancaster, held at the Black Bull in Burnley on the 11th Day of December Inst. to receive and consider Mr Brindley’s Report, on his re-survey of the same, and to enter into proper Resolutions for obtaining an Act for carrying into Execution the said Canal.



MR JOHN LONGBOTHAM ... said, That he had surveyed the Grounds over which the Navigation was proposed to be carried, and made that Plan; that he thinks the Scheme practicable, and that it will be of great Utility to the Country, as there are Coals in some Parts, which are much wanted in others; and as it will open a safe, easy ... Communication between several trading Towns... That the Price of Carriage, by the Canal, would be about Two Pence a Ton per Mile, which, he apprehends, will be much cheaper than Land Carriage.

MR HENRY ACROYD ... said, That the Price of Land Carriage from BLACKBURN to LIVERPOOL is ... 44s a Ton; and from BURNLEY to PRESTON 2s 6d. a Pack, and the distance 23 Miles: That he thinks Carriage ... will be reduced ... from One Shilling a Mile to Two Pence, for a Ton of Goods ... That the Distance from LEEDS to LIVERPOOL, by Land, is about 82 measured Miles, and the Price of Carriage about One Shilling a Mile for a Ton: that, by the Canal, it will be 108½ Miles, and the Price of Carriage Two Pence a Mile.

MR ABRAHAM BALME ... That the Course of the Canal, in YORKSHIRE, will be through a great manufacturing Country, till you come to SKIPTON, after which it fails off: That Limestone is very expensive by Land Carriage, and will be cheaper, by Water.

MR JAMES BRINDLEY... delivered in an Estimate of the Expence of making the proposed Navigation, including the Purchase of Lands, amounting to £269,502 ... that since the making of that Estimate, he had gone over Part of the Ground again, and found some Reasons for altering this Estimate to £300,000, in which, he thinks, he includes every possible Expence, and that there will be Money to spare.
Being asked, How far it would be necessary to go in order to supply the Reservoir with Water? he said, Two Miles and an Half.

MR ABRAHAM BALME being again examined, said, That upwards of £160,000 is already subscribed towards carrying on this Undertaking; and that, he is certain, there will not be any Want of Money ...

MR SPENCER...That the Foreign and Coasting Trade at LIVERPOOLE are so great, that it is absolutely necessary to have a new Dock...
ORDERED, That Leave be given. to bring in a Bill for making a navigable Cut, or Canal, from LEEDS...to...LIVERPOOL, and for enlarging the Term and Powers of several Acts...relating to the Harbour of LIVERPOOLE.


Georgii III Regis

Act of Parliament

An Act for making and maintaining a navigable Cut or Canal from Leeds Bridge, in the County of York, to the North Lady’s Walk in Liverpool, in the County Palatine of Lancaster, and from thence to the River Mersey.

The Act received the Royal Assent on 19 May 1770.


Derby Mercury


Bradford Canal

It was predominantly merchants from Liverpool and Bradford who were the driving force behind the project.  As the canal would run from Liverpool to Leeds, where it would link with the Aire & Calder Navigation and thus the port of Hull, the Bradford merchants insisted on the need for a spur to be made linking   Bradford to the canal at Windmill.



Proprietors Seal

Two committees were formed at the meeting on 2nd of July 1766 at the Sun Inn in Bradford, one based in Liverpool and one in Bradford. John Longbotham was employed to survey the route and James Brindley, who was amongst the foremost canal engineers in Britain, was appointed chief engineer on a salary of £400. However, Brindley died in 1772 and John Longbotham, his clerk of works took over filling both posts.