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Company of Proprietors of the Macclesfield Canal


Records of the Company of Proprietors of the Macclesfield Canal: plans of weirs 1828, sketch for towing path bridge 1835, plan of Todds Brook Reservoir 1837.



Reference code


Administrative /​ Biographical history

Benjamin Outram, engineer of the Peak Forest Canal, surveyed a line in 1796 from the Peak Forest Canal to the Trent and Mersey Canal but the scheme did not come into fruition. Other schemes along similar lines also failed until 1824, when the Cromford and High Peak Railway scheme was floated and made the Macclesfield Canal look preferable to the Trent and Mersey Canal company. In 1825, Thomas Telford produced two reports and an estimate in favour of the canal. In 1826 the Act was passed and the 26 1/8 mile long canal was opened for traffic in 1831 between the Peak Forest Canal at Marple and the Trent and Mersey Canal near Kidsgrove. The engineer was William Crosley, formerly a resident engineer on the Lancaster Canal. There are eight aqueducts and twelve locks in a flight at Bosley, and one ¼ mile branch at High Lane near Stockport. Competition came from the Trent and Mersey Canal, the Cromford and High Peak Railway, and from 1837 the Grand Junction Railway. In 1846 the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway (later renamed the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway) bought the canal (although the company remained to take rents until 1883) together with the Peak Forest Canal. For further information on the Macclesfield Canal see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations' and Charles Hadfield's 'The Canals of the West Midlands'.

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.