Leeds & Liverpool Canal


On Tuesday 22 October 1816 the final stretch of the canal from Blackburn to Wigan was completed and traffic could then travel the whole way from Liverpool to Leeds. As work progressed and specific sections were finished goods and people were able to use the waterway over the intervening forty years.

Leeds Intelligencer, 22 March 1774

We hear from Bingley that ten miles of the Grand Canal between Liverpool and Leeds, was opened yesterday for business, from Skipton to below the junction with the Bradford Canal, in the presence of several thousand spectators. From Bingley, to about three miles downwards, the noblest works of the kind that perhaps are to be found, in the same extent in the universe, are exhibited, viz. a five-fold, a three-fold, a two-fold, and a single lock, making together a fall of One Hundred and Twenty Feet.

Leeds Intelligencer 25 Oct 1774

Wigan Open



Leeds Mercury, 26 October 1816



This work, perhaps the most stupendous ever taken in this country, is now completed. This canal “Passes through the English Appenine, a stubborn and untractable region, and connects St George’s Channel with the German Ocean.” ...

On SATURDAY morning, several proprietors of the Canal, accompanied by a number of friends, proceeded in an elegant barge, from the basin of the Canal to the Bridge over the Aire, to commence at that point their voyage to Blackburn, to open that part of the Canal which was still wanting to complete the communication with Liverpool. This vessel was accompanied by a barge of the Union Company, splendidly decorated with flags and streamers. The sailing of the vessels was announced by a discharge of cannon, and the barges entered the canal amidst the discharge of artillery, the animating strains of a full military band, and the acclamations of an immense number of spectators which lined the banks of the canal for a great distance. ...

The barges reached Skipton on the Saturday evening, and on the following day arrived at Burnley. On Monday about three o’clock in the afternoon, they entered Blackburn, having in their train a number of other vessels. ...

On Tuesday morning at eight o’clock, the proprietors’ barge attended by the sloop of the Union Company, and a number of other vessels decorated with flags, streamers &c and crowded with persons of great respectability, entered the new part of the canal amidst the discharge of cannon and the heartfelt cheering of an immense number of spectators. In the evening the procession reached Wigan, and on Wednesday this interesting ceremony was completed by the arrival of the voyagers at the Basin of the Canal at Liverpool about five o’clock in the evening.