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Company of Proprietors of the Bradford Navigation


Records of the Company of Proprietors of the Bradford Navigation: draft agreement 1776, maps and plans 1854-1870.



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These records are available immediately for research

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

The Bradford Canal was authorised under the Bradford Canal Act of 1771. John Longbotham was engineer and the 3 3/8 mile long canal with 10 locks was opened in 1774 from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Shipley to Bradford. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was newly open between Skipton and Shipley so limestone was carried from the Craven quarries to the canalside kilns outside Bradford. Due to the rapid growth of Bradford's industry and housing, the canal became extremely polluted, with the 1849 cholera epidemic causing an outcry. Competition from the Leeds and Bradford Railway was also causing a problem. Attempts were made to force the cleaning of the canal, an impossible task due to the canal being fed by the heavily polluted Bradford Beck. A court order of 1866 forbade the canal to take water from the Beck, so the company had no feedwater and decided to close the last quarter of a mile. A further court order in 1867 ordered the Bradford Canal closed and drained. It was re-opened by the Bradford Canal Company Limited in 1873. For further information on the Bradford Canal, see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations' and Charles Hadfield's 'The Canals of Yorkshire and North East England'.

System of arrangement

It has not been possible to ascertain any original structure of record-keeping from the small number of records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged in chronological order. However where records may relate to each other they have been kept together which means the dates may fall slightly out of sequence.

Associated material

[See also: BW78 and BW79 for records of the Bradford Canal during other periods of ownership]