Stockport Branch Canal

Stockport Branch Canal

The Stockport Branch Canal was a 5 mile branch of the Ashton Canal from Clayton to Stockport


The canal left the main line of the Ashton Canal at Stockport Junction (otherwise Clayton Junction), between locks 10 and 11 at Clayton, and it terminated at Stockport Basin just beyond the top of Lancashire Hill. It was just less than five miles long (7.87km) and it was lock free.

It went through Gorton, Abbey Hey and Reddish and it opened for trade in 1797.cite book | last = Downham | first = W A | editor = Astle, William | title = Stockport Advertiser Centenary History of Stockport | origdate = 1922 | url ='s%0History%20of%20Stockport/default.asp | accessdate = 2006-10-12 | publisher = Swain and Co Ltd | location = Stockport | pages = 142-149 | chapter = Chapter XIII ]

At Reddish, it was intended that a further branch (the Beat Bank Branch Canal) would be built, and work actually began on construction of this branch. Only an isolated section of that branch was ever built, and it never connected with the Stockport Branch.


The canal was for the most part urban, being heavily industrialised along most of its length. Between Clayton and Gorton there was a heavy concentration of engineering factories and ironworks as well as the Canal Company’s Depot at Gorton. Beyond Gorton, all the way through Reddish, cotton mills predominated.

Working life

It was principally used to carry general cargo, such as supplying raw cotton to the mills and returning with manufactured goods. It also carried coal for the mills and the townsfolk who lived in the neighbourhood. Another important cargo was the supply of grain to W Nelstrop & Company’s Albion Corn Mill at Stockport Basin.

In its early days there was passenger carrying on the Ashton Canal and one of the routes was between Manchester and Stockport.

Decline and closure

The canal began to decline as a result of competition from railways and roads, and was described as derelict as early as 1922.

Commercial carrying ceased in the 1930s but it lingered on into the 1950s as a barely navigable waterway. At one stage in the 1950s it was dredged but this improvement did not attract any traffic. Stockport Basin was the first section to be filled in but it was not until 1962 that the canal was officially declared dead. It took many years to fill in and this was a disagreeable procedure for people living along its length.

Restoration movement

Fortunately, much of the line of the former canal remained intact and there are now plans to re-open it as an amenity canal; [cite web| url =| title = Canal Society| accessdate = 2006-10-12| author = Bates, W| date = 2002, 2005] [cite news |first = Robert |last = Bottomley |title = Return of the lost canal |url = |work = Manchester Evening News |publisher = GMG Regional Digital |date = 22 March 2004 ] these plans have the support of local authorities. Scott states that a British Waterways report indicates that reopening the canal is technically feasible. [cite web| url =| title = Peter Scott| accessdate = 2006-10-12| last = Scott| first = Peter| format = pdf| work = Stockport Council Councillors’ Annual Report]


ee also

*Canals of Great Britain
*History of the British canal system

External links

* [ Virtual Tour]
* [ Manchester Local Image Collection search page (search for Stockport Branch Canal for many images}]

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