About the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs from the River Aire in Leeds to the River Mersey in Liverpool via Stanley Dock and the Liverpool Link. It is 127 miles (204km) long with 91 locks on the main line. The canal was built for barges that were 62ft long and 14ft wide known as ‘Short Boats’. An agreement was reached in 1820 for a connection to the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal near Wigan, which connected the port of Liverpool to Manchester and the rest of the country. Subsequently, the locks into Liverpool were lengthened to take pairs of narrow boats. It was not until 1846, however, with the building of the Stanley Dock Branch that the canal was linked directly into the docks.
The link between the North and South docks was lost in the early 20th Century when the Liver Building, the Three Graces and the Cunard Building were built. In 2000, British Waterways approached Liverpool City Council with a proposal for a new waterway to link the canal to the South Docks by building a new waterway across Pier Head. Planning permission was granted in 2006 and the Liverpool Link was completed in 2009 adding 1.4miles to the canal network.
[Photo: Liverpool Docks – by Alison Smedley]