Anderton Boat Lift is an amazing piece of Victorian engineering. It was built in 1875 and it still does the job it was created to do: lifting narrowboats and barges straight up the 50 feet from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal. It’s an ingenious structure and unique too.
Edwin Clark (1814 – 1894) is the Designer of the Anderton Boat Lift. In 1870s the Weaver Navigation Trustees were concerned of the delays caused by moving cargoes between River Weaver and Trent&Mersey Canal. There were three options to solve the issues, a flight of locks, an inclined plane or a hydraulic lift. The last option was the best one as it involved limited loss of water and it could be built on a small site.
By the 1870s, Clark had a strong reputation as a designer of hydraulic machinery. He was asked to design and oversee the construction of the lift. Even though the costs were higher than anticipated, the lift was a wonder. Clark went to built other boat lifts in Europe.
In the visitor centre there are a few objects on display, looking really nice.
How it works.
In 1875 the lift would lift boats with cargoes sitting in a container of water known as a caisson. Two identical caissons would counter-balance each other like a set of scales. The water was corrosive and changes had to be made to the system.
In 1908 the hydraulic power was replaced with electric power. This means that now the caissons can work independently. Having a lot of parts also meant it needed a lot of maintenance.
It was fascinating to seeing it working. People can book tours, but it took a bit to watch it and we were short on time, so we’ve postponed a trip on it for next time.
In any caisson fit two boats. The doors are closed like you can see in the next picture and then the lift goes up. It is very interesting.
From the car park to the visitor centres we passed by the canal with gorgeous swans, funny ducks and beautiful narrowboats.
Have you been to Anderton Boat Lift?